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    Obesity
    OBESITY


    People throw around the term "obesity" pretty easily these days. In a world so often focused on losing weight and being thin, anyone with a few extra pounds on them may end up being called "obese." Yet, if a doctor's tests determine that you are obese, you need to be aware of the health risks that obesity can produce.

    But there are more factors besides weight that determine your health. People can be different shapes, sizes, and weights due to culture, genetics, or preference. Obviously not everyone is thin, not everyone can be, and not everyone wants to be! Some say you can be healthy at any weight "“ what do you think?

    What Is Obesity?

    The most common method used to determine obesity is weighing oneself on a scale.But this isn't very accurate. A more useful way to determine obesity is the body mass index or the BMI. Obesity is defined as having a BMI ≥ 30. The formula for finding your BMI is to divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height in meters squared. Now, Americans don't usually use the metric system, so the translation is to multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide the result by your height in inches, and divide that result by your height in inches again. Got it?

    For example,Sara weights 135 pounds and is 5 foot 2 inches tall, so her BMI would be:

    135 pounds x 703 = 94905 ÷ 62 inches = 1530.73 ÷ 62 inches = 24.7

    Sara is not obese.


    How Does Obesity Develop?

    There are ways to curb this health problem, and it all starts with knowing the facts.

    What's the difference between being "obese" or just being "overweight"?

    The important thing to remember is that obesity is more severe than being overweight. People who are obese are 20 percent or more above their ideal body weight. Being overweight applies to people who are above their ideal body weight.

    What leads to obesity?

    There are many factors that contribute to obesity, and most people who suffer from obesity are influenced by more than one factor:

    • First and foremost is excessive food. Of course, everyone needs food, and it should be something that we all enjoy, but like all things, food needs to be consumed in moderation—meaning that it's important to eat well-balanced meals. Don't deprive yourself, but don't overindulge, either.

    • Not exercising is another big factor. Even if you don't consider yourself an athlete, it's important to be active and not spend a lot of time sitting around. Exercise, along with a healthy diet, is one of the most effective ways to fight obesity. Even things as simple as walking instead of driving, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can have a positive impact on your overall health.

    • Genetics is another key player. Just likegreen eyes or brown hair, certain things can be passed down from parent to child. But just because someone in your family is overweight doesn'tmean that you will be too.

    • Recent studies show that not getting enough sleep can add to your possibility of becoming obese. If your body does not have enough rest, it does not produce enough leptin*, which may make you feel hungrier. You may develop cravings, especially for fatty foods and sweets.

    • But obesity often goes deeper than just too much food and not enough exercise. Often, people who are obese don't simply eat unhealthyfoods, they have unhealthy relationships with food. Sometimes eating a lot seems like the easiest way to deal with stress or negative emotions. People often use food as a comfort in their lives.

    *Leptin: a hormone that controls your hunger.

    How Does Obesity Affect Teens?

    Obese teens have a whole different lifestyle than other teens. There are social as well as medical difficulties that go along with obesity.

    Whether it is a heart condition or a self-esteem problem, obesity can have serious effects on teens' lives.

    Physical
    • Diabetes: Obesity is the cause of Type 2 diabetes* for 97 percent of people who are diagnosed with it. Specialists have even nicknamed the condition "diabesity." Children and teens who are obese tend to have higher glucose* levels. A high glucose level is the main cause of diabetes.

    • Asthma: Many obese people have trouble climbing stairs or walking long distances, because they have trouble carrying their weight. These people may find themselves taking small, short breaths,just like when you exercise. This kind of breathing may lead to respiratory problems that could turn into asthma.

    • Heart Problems: When you're obese, the area around your heart becomes surrounded by fat, preventing blood from being able to reach your heart easily. Because of this, your heart can become strained, and you may develop serious blood conditions, such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure*, and high cholesterol*.

    *Type 2 Diabetes: this type of diabetes occurs when your body resists insulin (a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in your body). It can be controlled by diet.

    *Glucose: a sugar that is the main source of energy for your body.

    *High blood pressure: when there is too much pressure on the blood as it pushes against the arteries, can cause a heart attack.

    *Cholesterol: A waxy, fat-like substance found in the blood and in all cells of the body, also comes from eating foods taken fromanimals. If you eat foods with too much cholesterol, it may build up in blood vessel walls and block blood flow to tissues and organs.

    Social
    • Embarrassment: Obese teens often have to deal with experiences such as walking into a room where everyone is whispering about them, or sitting down on the bus or at the movies and having people move away from them. Even though it's not the teen's fault, these types of situationsmake her feel embarrassed, because her weight is the center of attention "“ and not in a good way.

    • Low self-esteem: Another feeling that can come from being obese is low self-esteem. Obese teens may look around them and feel that they are the "odd one out." They may start feeling badly about themselves and the way they look, because they don't look like everyone else. Depression: These feelings may contribute to a teen developing depression, which could become a long-term problem if not addressed.

    The Medical Facts Behind Obesity

    Many people make poor dietary choices, not even conscious choices, and lack of exercise also plays a role in this growing trend.

    Teens move around less because of the time they spend playing computer games and watching television.

    What about reduced-fat products?

    Grocery stores now sell more and more reduced-fat, fat-free, or "natural" products. These products are more expensive than the regular products, and they may not always be healthier. The emphasis should be on good nutrition and eating fresh foods—like more fresh fruits and veggies.

    What is the difference between obesity and being overweight?

    Many people use the terms "obese" and "overweight" interchangeably, but they are two different things. A formula called the Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to measure the amount of body fat in a person by comparing her height to her weight. A person with a BMI of more than 30 is considered obese.

    Obese adults have a three to five time greater risk for certain diseases than a healthy-weight adult, while overweight adults are only one time more at risk. There are also potential medical issues associated with obesity, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and joint problems. In general, the more weight you have, the greater the risk for these problems.

    What happens to your body when you are obese?

    Hormones in the body of an obese person tend to work alittle differently than those of a healthy-weight adult. They may produce more, less, or different chemicals to support the body. The tissues in the heart and lungs must work harder as well. Sleep can also be affected.

    What is the first step an obese teen should take to change his or her lifestyle?

    The first step is inner work. You should start to improve self-esteem and start loving yourself. You may need support from peers and family, but you must also know how to treasure yourself. Before attempting a tremendous workout plan, you should consult your doctor. Go to the doctor you feel most comfortable with.

    Sources:
    www.bodypositive.com

    www.kidshealth.org/teen/nutrition

    www.teenweightwise.com

    www.toneteen.com/pages/health

    The Don't Diet, Live-It Workbook:Healing Food, Weight and Body Issues, by Andrea LoBue and Marsea Marcus

    www.win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/index.htm

    www.chsd.org

    www.annecollins.co/obesity/diabetes-diabesity.htm

    www.bmi-calculator.net/bmi-formula.php

    www.naaf.org
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