Being obese in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. Fully two thirds of all adult Americans are overweight. One in three are considered seriously obese. The human body has over 30 billion fat cells. And, although fat is important for storing energy and insulating the body, excessive fat places the individual at risk from other diseases. These include, but are not limited to, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. Obesity involves having an abnormally high proportion of body fat. Doctors define obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The good news is that even a modest weight loss can lead to significant health improvements. In many cases this can be accomplished by committing to eating healthier, exercising and changing behaviors. For those who don't respond to lifestyle changes, prescription medications and surgical techniques are available to enhance their weight-loss process. With a positive attitude, you can lose weight. Yet, before pursuing any plan to take off excess weight, consult your doctor. Crash diets and other quick fixes can be dangerous to your health. Gradual weight reduction, usually losing one or two pounds per week, is not only safer buy tends to help keep the weight off for longer periods of time. Changing lifestyle, however, is probably equally important. It is almost always necessary to combine a reduction in the number of calories consumed with an increase in the amount of physical exercise. Either burning 500 calories per day more or eating 500 calories per day more will result in about one pound lost per week. By doubling that to 1000 calories or combined food reduction and exercise increase, it is easily possible to consistently lose two pounds per week. Remember, each pound of fat roughly equates to 3500 calories.
Causes of Weight-reduction Diet
The balance between input and output controls your weight. In day to day life, this means the balance between what you eat and the energy your body uses everyday. If you consume more calories than you use, you will eventually gain weight. Your body converts excessive molecules that store energy into fat molecules. It is stored in this fashion for later use. The combination of overeating and lack of physical activity are the main causes of obesity. They are particularly problematic when they occur in combination. However, many other factors, including genetic factors, may contribute to obesity.
Signs and Symptoms of Weight-reduction Diet
Factors that increase your risk of carrying more weight than is healthy include diet, psychological factors, genetics, sex, cigarette smoking, pregnancy and medical problems. High-fat foods are dense in calories. Loading up on soft drinks, candy and desserts also promotes weight gain. Regular consumption of high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, contributes to weight gain. Due to the imbalance between input and output, sedentary people are more likely to gain weight because they don't burn calories through physical activities. Some people overeat to cope with problems or deal with difficult emotions. If one or both of your parents are obese, your chances of being overweight are substantially increased. Your genetic predisposition may affect the amount of body fat you store and where that fat is distributed. However, it is important to note that your genetic makeup, itself, doesn't guarantee that you'll be obese. Men have more muscle than women do, and because muscle burns a greater number of calories than fat burns, men expend up to 20 percent more calories than women do even at rest. Accordingly, women may have a tougher challenge maintaining a healthy weight than men. Aging decreased the amount of muscle in your body. In addition, the as you age you tend to increase the percentage of fat that makes up your weight. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism. Moreover, not only does your metabolism slow naturally with age, but older people tend to be less active. The end result of these changes, is that the amount of calories your body needs to carry out its daily functions is decreased. If you don't decrease your caloric intake as you age, you'll likely gain weight. Smokers tend to gain weight after quitting. This weight gain may be partially due to nicotine's ability to raise the rate at which your body burns calories, your metabolic rate. Smoking also adversely affects taste. Former smokers frequently find that food tastes and smells better and, therefore, consume more. It is very common for women who have been pregnant not to reach their previous weight. After each pregnancy, a woman's weight increases an average of 4 to 6 pounds over her pre-pregnancy weight.
Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and tricyclic antidepressants, can lead to weight gain. Medical conditions rarely lead to obesity. Indeed, less than 2 percent of all cases of obesity can be traced to a medical cause, such as low thyroid function, excess production of hormones by the adrenal glands (Cushing's syndrome) or other hormonal imbalances. A low metabolic rate that is the consequence of a particular medical condition rarely is a cause of obesity. Medical problems may indirectly lead to weight gain through decreased activity.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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