Obesity is a major epidemic in the western world today and as such, it needs to be addressed quickly and effectively. According to the WHO, it can be defined as an abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat that presents a risk to health. A crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI), a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in meters). There are many ways in which a person’s health in relation to their weight can be classified, but the most widely used method is body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height. You can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your score.
For most adults, a BMI of:
- 18.5 to 24.9 means you’re a healthy weight
- 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight
- 30 to 39.9 means you’re obese
- 40 or above means you’re severely obese
BMI isn’t used to definitively diagnose obesity, because people who are very muscular sometimes have a high BMI without excess fat. But for most people, BMI is a useful indication of whether they’re a healthy weight, overweight or obese.
A better measure of excess fat is waist circumference, which can be used as an additional measure in people who are overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 29.9) or moderately obese (with a BMI of 30 to 34.9).
Generally, men with a waist circumference of 94cm (37in) or more and women with a waist circumference of 80cm (about 31.5in) or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems. Lifestyle modification is one of the most important ways of eliminating obesity, However, stem cell therapy has proved to also be effective.
Causes Of Obesity
There are many factors that can lead to the development of obesity. Some of the factors are
- An unhealthy diet – Eating more calories than you burn in daily activity and exercise (on a long-term basis) causes obesity. Over time, these extra calories add up and cause you to gain weight. Also, a diet that is constantly high in saturated fat, refined sugar, and processed food will lead to obesity over time.
- Genetics – Some people have a higher risk of getting overweight due to their inherited genes which can affect how the body processes food into energy and how fat is stored.
- Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle – When you don’t exercise enough, the fat stores in the body keep accumulating and can lead to obesity over time.
- Sleeplessness – Not sleeping enough can lead to hormonal changes that make you feel more hungry and crave certain high-calorie foods
- Pregnancy – Weight gained during pregnancy can be difficult to lose and may eventually lead to obesity.
- Old age – As some people get older, their metabolism slows down and their muscle mass reduces. This makes it easier for them to gain weight.
- Medical Conditions – Certain medical conditions cause weight gain. Examples include Polycystic ovarian syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Prader Willi syndrome, Osteoarthritis.
- Mental/Psychological Conditions – Conditions like Depression can lead to over-eating and a very sedentary lifestyle which subsequently leads to obesity.
- Medications – Certain medications like steroids, some birth control pills and certain antidepressants have side effects that include weight gain and can lead to obesity.
- Smoking – For reasons not completely known, smoking has been shown to increase the risk of obesity and also complicate the medical conditions that obesity causes.
How Does Obesity Affect Human Health?
Below are some of the ways obesity affects the health :
- It reduces longevity: Obesity has been ranked as one of the common cause of preventable death. According to statistics, people with the normal body mass index have the least mortality rate, as compared to those above 30. Obese people have the highest risk of mortality. While they have been arguments about a type of obesity called the “medically healthy obesity” on whether it’s really a thing or not. Evidence has proven that it’s just a temporary phase, and people who are medically healthy obese would still end up becoming unhealthy obese. The idea behind the medically healthy obesity is that those who do not have a large amount of fat in their abdomen have lesser risks of mortality. Obesity has been proven to reduce the lifespan of people by at least seven years.
- It increases the risk of having diseases: Obesity makes people more prone to having diseases. This can be attributed to the fat accumulation associated with obesity. Some of the diseases associated with obesity are hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea, hyperlipidemia, and atherosclerosis. Apart from the physical ailments, obesity also affects the mind and mental state of the individual. Obese people usually have a low self-esteem, as compared to others. They can also become depressed, especially when they’ve tried to lose their weight but recorded no success. Below are some of the effects of obesity on each body system:
- Cardiovascular system- Obesity increases the risk of having coronary heart diseases. This is because of fat deposits in the vessels, leading to the obstruction of blood flow, thereby leading to the development of a high blood pressure in the vessels. This can lead to hypertension if it’s uncontrolled. In addition, patients have a very high risk of having pulmonary embolism after undergoing any form of surgery, because of the excessive fat in their body.
- Mental state: Obesity reduces the self-esteem of people. This is most common to ladies because they feel they’re not attractive enough, and they also find it difficult getting an outfit that sizes them. All these coupled with the feeling of being an outcast in the society affects their mental state and might lead to depression. This becomes worse, when they’re trying to shed some weight, but can’t record many breakthroughs.
- Endocrine system: Obesity and diabetes mellitus are tightly connected to each other. In fact, it’s almost impossible to have one without the other. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is as a result of insulin resistance, which occurs due to excessive fat. This is the connection between the two. The first line of management of type 2 diabetes mellitus is that patients should change their diet and lose some weight. In addition, pregnant obese women often give birth to overweight babies. This kind of babies might come out with some defects if nothing is done about the weight of the mother.
- Effects on the joints: Obesity predisposes people to arthritis. This is because the weight of the patient surpasses the strength of their joints and bones. In morbid obesity, patients usually lose their ability to walk. They usually lie in bed all day and eat. In addition to this, they also have pains in their lower back. In addition, they might also develop gout.
- Respiratory system: Obese people usually have obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is when people find it difficult to breathe when sleeping. This can lead to death in severe cases. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs due to the deposition of fat in the throat and in the palate. Obesity also increases the risk of having asthma.
- Cancer: Obesity predisposes people to different kinds of cancer such as breast and colon cancer. In addition, there have been reports of cancer of the pancreas.
Treatment of Obesity
The first line of treatment is diet and exercise. Losing weight needs a lot of hard work and consistency. However, the results are always good if the individual keeps at it.
- Diet: Obese must eat fewer junks, carbohydrates and more vegetables. In addition, they’re advised to eat less quantity of food. This can be achieved by drinking a large amount of water before eating.
- Exercise: Cardio exercise is the best way to lose weight. This includes walking, running, swimming and so on.
- Gastric bypass surgery: This is done to remove excess fat from the body. However, this procedure does have a lot of side effects, but this is the fastest way of eliminating fat.
How Stem Cell Therapy can be used to treat Obesity
There is a number of stem cells that are capable of regenerating and replacing the entire bone marrow. These stem cells can replace the blood cells and also the immune system. Introducing the stem cells into the body helps obese patients lose weight naturally.
Kyle, T. and Puhl, R. (2014). Putting people first in obesity. Obesity, 22(5), pp.1211-1211.
Ma, S., Wong, W. and Wang, D. (2017). Obesity reshapes stem cell-extracellular vesicles. Cytometry Part A.
Obesity as a Disease: The Obesity Society Council Resolution. (2008). Obesity, 16(6), pp.1151-1151.
The Obesity Society 2017 Awards and Grants. (2017). Obesity, 26(1), pp.233-238.Get More Stem Cell Information at iSTEMCELL