Obesity and today’s lifestyle
Obesity is the condition of being extremely overweight. Body weight is measured in relation to height in order to get the Body Mass Index, or BMI as it is more commonly known. BMI rates refer to your body weight in kilograms divided by height in meters (kg/m2). If your BMI is 25 or above then you are considered to be overweight, and if it is over 30 then you are obese. This measurement is not entirely accurate, as it does not take into consideration the percentage of fat in your body (for example a body builder may have a high BMI rate but not be obese) but it is a good general rule of thumb.
Most often this medical condition is caused by overeating and lack of exercise in combination with certain genetic traits, however sometimes it is purely genetic. In these modern times people eat much more than they did last century, and the figures of the growing obesity rate reflect this. It is estimated that over a third of the adult population of America is obese. In 1980 this figure was only 14%. The advent of modern technology has also contributed to this, with people spending more time watching television or playing computer games. People depend on their cars to get them places now more than ever before, driving everywhere to run errands that used to involve exercise. Our lifestyles have become more sedentary in general.
Apart from being unsightly, obesity causes a myriad of dangers to health. Among these are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and reduction of life expectancy. Obesity has also been linked to various types of cancer.
In many cases obesity can be combated, a little at a time, with regular exercise and diet programs. An obese person who loses 10 – 15 pounds is doing himself or herself a huge favor. This generates encouragement and many people continue with losing a pound or two per week until they reach a more desirable weight.
Some people, particularly those who are genetically obese, try and fail to lose weight with these conventional methods. There are a couple of different medications on the market, but these don’t work for everybody either. This is where bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery comes into play.
The word ‘bariatric’ comes from the Greek ‘baros’ (meaning weight), and is used to describe weight loss surgery. There are various different types of this surgery or sub-genres if you like. The most common of these include gastric bypass surgery, gastric bands, gastric balloon surgery and sleeve gastrectomy. These are all proven to be effective, and different methods suit the needs of each individual. Insurance policies usually cover this for people with a BMI of over 40 and who have been unsuccessful in other methods of losing weight.
After having taken the measures appropriate to an individual situation, there will be many improvements in lifestyle. Blood pressure becomes more stable, lethargy gives way to a feeling of energy and menial tasks can now be attacked with vigor. Sleep patterns can improve, and a general feeling of well-being pertains.