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Overweight and Weight Reduction
If you are overweight, you are not alone. Sixty-six percent of adults in
the U.S. are overweight or obese. Achieving a healthy weight can help you
control your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. It might also
help you prevent weight-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes,
arthritis and some cancers.
Eating too much or not being physically active enough will make you
overweight. To maintain your weight, the calories you eat must equal the
energy you burn. To lose weight, you must use more calories than you eat.
A weight-control strategy might include
- Choosing low-fat, low-calorie foods
Eating smaller portions
Drinking water instead of sugary drinks
Being physically active
Obesity and Overweight
Obesity is defined simply as too much body fat. Your body is made up of
water, fat, protein, carbohydrate and various vitamins and minerals.
If you have too much fat especially in your waist area you're at higher risk
for health problems, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol,
diabetes (di"ah-BE'teez or di"ah-BE'tis), heart disease and stroke.
Obesity is now recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease,
which can lead to heart attack. Some reasons for this higher risk are known,
but others are not.
For example, obesity
Raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride (tri-GLIS'er-id) levels.
Lowers HDL "good" cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is linked with lower heart
disease and stroke risk, so reducing it tends to raise the risk.
Raises blood pressure levels.
Can induce diabetes. In some people, diabetes makes these other risk factors
much worse. The danger of heart attack is especially high for these people.
Even when there are no adverse effects on the known risk factors, obesity by
itself increases risk of heart disease. It also harms more than just the
heart and blood vessel system. It's a major cause of gallstones and can
worsen degenerative joint disease.
Obesity is mainly caused by taking in more calories than are used up in
physical activity and daily life. When people eat too many calories, or too
much saturated fat and cholesterol, their blood cholesterol levels often
raise. That raises their risk of heart disease.
Weight the heaviness of a person or object. In children, weight is routinely used as an index of growth. In healthy adults, weight remains more or less stable as dietary energy intake matches energy expenditure. Weight loss or weight gain occurs if the net balance is disturbed.
The standard method of assessing weight is the body mass index (BMI), which is obtained by dividing weight in (kilograms) by the square of the height (in meters). A BMI of 18.4 or less is classed as underweight, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is classed as an ideal weight; a BMI of 25-29.9 is classed as overweight: a BMI of 30-39.9 is classed as obese; and a BMI over 40 is classed as very obese. However, these figures are general ones that apply to most healthy adults under the age of 60 They are not applicable to children or people over 60; people with chronic health problems; pregnant or breast-feeding women; or athletes, weight-trainers, or similar groups of people with a high proportion of body muscle weight loss This occurs any time there is a decrease in energy intake compared with energy expenditure. The decrease may be due to deliberate
Weight is reduction or a change in diet or activity level. It may also be a symptom of a disorder. Unexplained weight loss should always be investigated by a doctor.
Many diseases disrupt the appetite, which may lead to weight loss. Depression reduces the motivation to eat. Peptic ulcer causes pain and possible food avoidance, and some kidney disorders cause loss of appetite due to the effect of uraemia. In anorexia nervosa and bulimia, complex psychological factors affect an individual's eating pattern.
Digestive disorders, such as gastro-enteritis, lead to weight loss through vomiting. Cancer of the oesophagus and stomach cancer causes loss of weight, as does malabsorption of nutrients in certain disorders of the intestine or pancreas.
Some disorders cause weight loss by increasing the rate of metabolic activity in cells. Examples are any type of cancer, chronic infection such as tuberculosis, and hyperthyroidism. Untreated diabetes mellitus also causes weight loss due to a number of factors, weight reduction The process of losing excess body fat A person who is severely overweight (see obesity) is more at risk of various illnesses, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart disease.
The most efficient way to lose weight is to eat 500-1.000 kcal (2.100-4.200 kj) a day less than the body's total energy requirements. Exercise also forms an extremely important part of a reducing regime, burning excess energy and improving muscle tone.
In most circumstances, drugs play little part in a weight loss programme. However, sibutramine and orlistat may be useful adjuncts to a reducing diet and may be appropriate for some people with a high BMI, especially if they also have other health risk factors, such as diabetes mellitus or a raised blood cholesterol level. Appetite suppressants related to amphetamines are not recommended. Surgery may be considered for people who are very obese (with a BMI over 40).