A stable weight depends on a balance between the energy you get from food and the energy you use. When a person consumes more calories than the energy they use, the body stores the extra calories in fat cells (adipocytes or lipocytes). When a person uses more calories than they consume, they will lose weight.
Obesity Epidemic in Children
- Today 18% of children (ages 6 to 11) and 21% of adolescents (ages 12 to 19) in the United States are obese. The prevalence of obesity in American children and adolescents has risen dramatically over the past two decades and continues to increase.
- Children who are obese need to be screened regularly for the same comorbidities as overweight adults, including hypertension and diabetes.
- Teaching parents healthy lifestyle skills can lead to a sustained weight reduction in moderately obese children, including those in ethnically diverse populations.
- School-based physical activity programs do not seem to promote greater overall activity levels or weight loss in children. Parents should not depend on schools to motivate good diet and exercise habits in their children.
Obesity in Adults
- Adult body mass index (BMI) is considered normal between 18.5 and 24.9 kg per square meter (kg/m2) and above; this article will use these units unless otherwise stated. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is in the overweight category. Obesity is a BMI of 30 and above.
- According to the latest figures available (2015-2016), 39.8% of American adults (age 20 and older) are obese, and 71.6% are obese or overweight.
- Worldwide around 39% of all adults ages 18 and above are overweight, and 13% are obese.
- Being obese, particularly with a BMI over 35, is associated with a significantly higher death rate.
- Weight loss in obese individuals significantly lowers the risk of health problems and early death. For example, knee pain may be significantly reduced with weight loss through a diet and exercise program.
Lifestyle changes, including diet and physical activity, can be used alone or in combination with medications, psychotherapy, or surgery for the management of obesity.
- Obesity medications are typically used in combination with lifestyle changes.
- Liraglutide (Saxenda) is approved as the fifth available obesity drug in the United States. It is approved for use when a medical problem such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or elevated cholesterol is also present. Liraglutide is used to help control blood glucose in type-2 diabetics, but may promote weight loss in some patients. This medication is given by injection.
- Other drugs available include phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia), lorcaserin (Belviq), bupropion/naltrexone (Contrave), and orlistat (Xenical).
- Obesity medications have been shown to help reduce risk factors for heart disease, but they have not yet been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events or death, except in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Weight loss therapy for improving sleep apnea symptoms or high blood pressure.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Having a consistent weight comes down to ensuring that the energy consumed as food is equal to the energy used. You use energy during the day in three ways:
- Energy expended during rest to maintain vital functions (basal metabolism)
- Energy used for all non-exercise activities and to break down food (thermogenesis)
- Energy used during physical activity
Basal metabolism accounts for about two-thirds of spent energy. Your body normally utilizes this power to maintain your body temperature at a consistent level and make the muscles of your heart and digestion system operational. Thermogenesis accounts for about 10% of spent energy.
If someone eats more than the number of calories needed for the amount of energy used, the additional calories are kept in the body as fat. Fat cells function as energy reservoirs. The size of them fluctuates based on how people utilize energy. If an individual does not keep energy intake and expenditure in check by consuming healthy food and exercising, they can become overweight. This leads to weight gain.
When the rate at which energy is being put in is the same as the rate that energy is being expended, there is no increase in the size of fat cells to store any leftover energy. When you consume more calories than your body puts to use, the surplus of fat is held inside your adipocites, causing you to gain weight.
READ MORE: The Truth About Metabolism
Modern Diet and Eating Habits
Many things have changed how and what we eat. Some of these are:
- Children may see thousands of food commercials every year. Most of these are for candy, fast food, soft drinks, and sugared cereals.
- More foods today are processed or prepared outside of the home and may have excessive levels of added fat, sugar, or sodium.
- Vending machines and convenience stores make it easy to get a quick snack, but they rarely sell healthy foods.
- More people eat out, most often at food courts, fast-food restaurants, and all-you-can-eat buffets.
In the past two decades, there has been an increase not only in the amount of food ingested, but also a transition from homemade meals to ready-made packaged products, fast food, and restaurant-based cuisine. Fast foods tend to be served in larger portions. Typically, store-bought meals have higher amounts of calories and unhealthy fats, as well as fewer nutritious elements than meals prepared in the home or in restaurants. Eating snacks and drinking sugary drinks, for example juice and soda, are contributing to the growing levels of obesity.
Medical or Physical Causes of Obesity
A few health concerns may be linked to obesity, but it is not usually the primary factor.
- Hypothyroidism is sometimes associated with weight gain. However, patients with an underactive thyroid generally show only a moderate weight increase of 5 to 10 pounds (2 to 5 kilograms).
- Very rare genetic disorders, including Froehlich syndrome in boys, Laurence-Moon-Biedl syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome, cause obesity.
- Abnormalities or injury of the hypothalamus can cause obesity.
- Cushing disease is a rare condition caused by high levels of steroid hormones. It results in obesity, a moon-shaped face, and muscle wasting.
- Obesity is also linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal disorder in women.
Effects of Certain Medications
Certain prescriptions drugs could be a factor in putting on weight, typically by making a person hungrier. Such drugs include:
- Female hormone treatments, including some oral birth control pills (the effect is usually temporary), and certain progestins (such as Megestrol) used to treat cancer.
- Certain antidepressants including fluoxetine, amitriptyline, and bupropion.
- Antiseizure medications, including topiramate, gabapentin, and valproate.
- Most antimanic and antipsychotic drugs, including lithium, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, and others.
- Insulin and insulin-stimulating drugs used to treat diabetes, which causes problems for obese people with type 2 diabetes.
Understanding Excess Weight and its role in Type 2 Diabetes
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a continuous, possibly disabling, and sometimes deadly illness that necessitates frequent surveillance of an individual’s blood sugar level. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body fails to sufficiently create or utilize insulin, a hormone generated by the pancreas to help move sugar into the cells. Therefore, the body becomes resistant to insulin. This resistance causes high blood sugar levels.
What are the complications of high blood sugar levels?
Excess sugar in the blood causes many health-related problems. The cells lack the required amount of sugar, and when the glucose levels in the bloodstream go beyond normal, it could damage some of the body’s parts, such as the heart, hands, feet, eyes, and kidneys. Other complications of high sugar and insulin resistance include:
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Neuropathy (nerve damage, especially in extremities)
- Nephropathy (renal impairment, kidney failure)
- Retinopathy (vision problems, blindness)
- Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and increased risk of stroke)
- Erectile dysfunction in men and decreased sexual desire in both men and women
How does excess weight impact type 2 diabetes?
Being overweight can have a huge unfavorable impact on your well-being, most notably resulting in type 2 diabetes. The most popular way of determining someone’s weight excess is to calculate their body mass index, though other metrics are available.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by taking the individual’s weight in kilograms and dividing it by their height, squared, in meters. BMI is a helpful way of working out the extent of one’s overweight. There are five weight status categories that you may fit into:
- Normal weight
- Morbidly obese
When someone who is at risk of diabetes carries extra pounds, the cells in their body become less responsive to the insulin the pancreas produces. Studies suggest that adipose tissue may be more resistant to insulin than muscle cells. People with type 2 diabetes who work out seem to lessen the intensity of insulin resistance since the exerting muscles consume the surplus sugar present in the bloodstream; consequently, the body doesn’t produce insulin and the sugar isn’t sent to unnecessary fat cells.
It isn’t merely a person’s weight that can be an issue; it is also the location where the extra weight is stored that makes them more vulnerable to health issues. People who are more rotund at their midsection (apple-shaped) are more susceptible to health problems related to obesity compared to individuals who have more fat around their hips and legs (pear-shaped).
People who are overweight or severely obese face a higher risk of having type 2 diabetes due to the extra weight they carry. Carrying an excessive amount of weight can raise one’s likelihood of developing heart problems, type 2 diabetes, selected varieties of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and numerous other conditions.
Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?
In addition to excess weight, there are many other factors that increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, such as:
Lack of exercise and being overweight are often associated with type 2 diabetes. Exercising can lead to a decrease in insulin resistance, as muscle cells have more insulin receptors than fat cells. Increasing physical activity can result in lower blood sugar levels due to its effect on improving insulin sensitivity.
Unhealthy eating habits
Unhealthy eating is a contributor to obesity. Having an unbalanced diet with too much fat, not enough fiber, and an excessive amount of simple carbs can all lead to type 2 diabetes.
Family history and genetics
People who have relations diagnosed with type 2 diabetes seem to be more prone to getting it as well. People from Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaskan, African American, and Hispanic backgrounds experience a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes compared to the general population.
As people get older, the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes increases. Even if someone elderly is slim, they are still likely to be at risk for getting diabetes. The pancreas grows older with us, and as we age it does not work as well at producing insulin as it did when we were younger. As we get older, our cells become less responsive to insulin.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol
These two components are the characteristic flag bearers of danger for numerous illnesses and medical issues, such as type 2 diabetes. Not only can they destroy cardiovascular vessels, but they are two major aspects of metabolic syndrome, which is a grouping of symptoms like overweight, eating a high-fat meal and not being physically active. Metabolic syndrome substantially increases one’s probability of developing heart issues, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
History of gestational diabetes
Women with obesity have a higher level of insulin resistance than those who have a normal weight. When a woman is expecting a baby, gestational diabetes usually stays with her throughout the pregnancy and about 5 to 10 percent of women with gestational diabetes develop diabetes after giving birth.
Symptoms that you may be developing or have type 2 diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Unplanned weight-loss
- Weakness and fatigue
- Numbness or tingling in hands, legs or feet
- Blurred vision
- Dry, itchy skin
- Frequent infections
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises
Your blood glucose level being between 100 and 125 is seen as impaired fasting glucose, which can be a sign of prediabetes. If your blood sugar is over 200 mg/dL and you are exhibiting the signs of diabetes (as seen below), it may not be necessary to carry out a second test to come to a diagnosis.
What can you do to improve your health and prevent type 2 diabetes?
Reducing body fat is one of the most advantageous things you can do to ward off type 2 diabetes. Losing a moderate amount of weight (5-10 percent of your body weight) over time can improve the functioning of insulin and reduce the amount of sugar in your blood when fasting.
Consuming fewer calories and initiating a workout program can have positive outcomes for people in terms of managing their type 2 diabetes and enhancing their wellbeing.
Healthy meal plan
Weight-loss occurs when energy expenditure exceeds energy intake. Creating a calorie deficit will result in weight-loss. Keeping track of what you eat, how much you eat, and the number of calories contained in each meal in a record will assist you in recognizing the foods you eat and offer concrete proof of the calories you’ve consumed.
Regular exercise helps maintain weight-loss and prevent weight regain. Exercise could also reduce the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes.
Strive for moderate physical activity for half an hour to forty-five minutes five times a week. Working out doesn’t need to occur all at once to have positive effects. Pick a physical activity that you enjoy, that you can do in small increments and that you can easily do through out the day. Don’t make it complicated. Moving more is beneficial for your overall health.
READ MORE: 6 Ways To Reverse Prediabetes Fast