Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Overweight and obesity can simply be defined as weight that is more for certain height.

Body mass index (BMI) is an index used to establish if an individual is overweight or obese. BMI is calculated as weight in kilograms against height in square meters. It can be used as a predicting tool for health risks that an overweight or obese is predisposed to.

Overweight have a BMI which ranges between 25 to 29.9. An obese person has a BMI that is equal to or greater than 30.

Despite the fact that BMI is a good tool to estimate body fat, it also has a dark side of it. It is not a reliable tool to estimate health risks in people who are more muscular, athletes and those who have advanced in age.

Putting those factors into consideration, BMI can be used to predict health risks that one may be predisposed to like heart diseases and type 2 Diabetes mellitus. The more the BMI, the higher the health risks.

Health risks associated with overweight and obesity includes:-

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus -people who are overweight and obese have an existing degree of insulin resistance in which the body cells doesn't respond appropriately to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Since the body cells are not able to utilize the sugar in the blood, the pancreas responds by producing more insulin in order to lower the blood sugar. This compensatory mechanism continues until the pancreas can not keep up with the body's insulin demand leading to diabetes.  

Cardiac diseases -as the body mass index increases so does the risks to coronary heart diseases, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. People who are overweight and obese are at risk of high level of bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and triglycerides level which increases the risks of heart diseases.

Osteoarthritis -Overweight and obese individual may have some deficit in walking, climbing up hill, sitting off the toilet, alighting from a car and others. This is because their weight is more than what their body should have. Due to excess weight which is directed more to the lower limb joints like the knee, the joints starts to wear out and eventually becomes stiff and painful. This is called osteoarthritis and is more prevalent in obese people.
Cancer -Overweight and obese individual are at risk of cancer of esophagus, pancreas, colon, rectum, kidney, gall bladder and reproductive system cancers like breast and endometrial cancers. 

Gall bladder stones -The liver produces bile which consists of cholesterol, bile salts and bilirubin. Bile is stored in the gall bladder awaiting to be released to aid in digestion. Any imbalance in these constituents of the bile may cause formation of gall bladder stones. Being overweight or obese put one at throes of developing high cholesterol levels which is a risk factor to developing gall bladder stones.
Obesity hypoventilated syndrome (OHS) -This is a breathing problem prevalent on obese individuals characterized by low oxygen and high blood carbon dioxide concentration in the blood. Individuals with OHS may have daytime sleepiness, headache, poor sleep quality and depression. 

Infertility in women -According to WebMD, obese women who are at risk of developing infertility regardless of the fact that they may be ovulating well. This phenomenon is not clearly understood but it is thought that hormone leptin which controls appetite in an individual (high in obese) may impede successful fertilization. People had a maxim that obese women who were ovulating well may not have problem with infertility but it is not the case now. It further indicates that obese women of fertility drugs required higher dose than normal weight women.

What is overweight and obesity? National Institute of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Viewed at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/heath/health-topics/topics/obe/risks. Viewed on 06/06/2015.

Overweight and obesity, Definition of overweight and obesity. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Viewed at: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/definition.html. Viewed on 6/6/2015.

Assessing your weight and health risk- National Institute of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Viewed at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/risk.htm. viewed on: 08/06/2015.

Healthy weight, the health effects of overweight and obesity- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viewed at: http://www.m.cdc.gov/en/HealthSafetyTopics/HealthyLiving/HealthyWeight/HealthEffects. Viewed on 07/06/2015.

Obesity's effects on bones and joints- by Stephen P. Makk, M.D., M.B.A, published on March/April 2007. Viewed at: http://www.lbjs.net/pdf/KHWDrMakkWeb.pdf. Viewed on 08/06/2015.
Causes of Diabetes -NIDDK. Address: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/causes-diabetes/Pages/index.aspx. Edited: June, 2014
What are the health risks of overweight and obesity? -NHLBI, NIH. Address: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/risks Last update: July 13yth, 2012.
Obesity and cancer risks -National Cancer Institute. Address: http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/obesity-fact-sheet. Last update: Jan 3rd, 2012.
Gallstones -NIDDK. Address: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/gallstones/Pages/facts.aspx. Last update: Nov 27th, 2013.
Obesity Hypoventilation Syndromee (OHS) -MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Address: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000085.htm. Last edited: 08/25/2014.
Obesity linked to infertility in women -WebMD. Address: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20071211/obesity-linked-to-infertility-in-women. Last edited: 2007.