Causes and risk factors for obesity

 Obesity is one of the most common medical conditions in Western society today, and one of the most difficult to treat and treat.  Relatively little progress has been made in treating obesity (except for lifestyle changes), but much information has been collected regarding the medical consequences of obesity.

 Causes and risk factors for obesity

 Until recently, obesity was associated with a sedentary lifestyle and a persistent excess consumption of calories.  But today, it is known that these causes of obesity are important, but there are also various genetic factors that play a role in the occurrence of obesity.

 As evidence of this, in adoptive children we see a pattern of obesity that is more similar to that of their biological parents than we see in their adoptive parents.  Research with identical twins has also shown that there is a greater influence of genetic factors on BMI than the influence of environmental factors on it.

 The estimate is that between 40% and 70% of obesity can be attributed to various genetic factors, not environmental or lifestyle factors.

 As research on mice showed, the presence of 5 genes related to appetite, these genes are the ones that lead to obesity.  These genes are also present in humans.  One of the main genetic factors in obesity is the hormone leptin

 Today, obesity is believed to be a combination of certain genes and not just the result of a defect in one gene.  The increase in obesity in the past decades is mainly due to environmental influences such as lifestyle and dietary habits.

 Complications of obesity

 Obesity is associated with higher rates of mortality and disease.

 There are a large number of diseases that are more common in people with obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high blood lipids, coronary artery disease, degenerative joint disease and psychosocial disorders.

 It should be noted, that obese patients often also suffer from metabolic syndrome, which includes 3 or more of the following symptoms: large abdominal circumference, high blood pressure, high blood lipids, and high blood sugar levels  During fasting, HDL levels (low levels of good cholesterol) fall.

 In addition, obesity is associated with the following diseases: bowel, ovarian and breast cancer, emboli and hypercoagulability, gastrointestinal diseases (diseases of the gallbladder and heartburn) and various skin disorders.

 Women who are obese during pregnancy are at increased risk of obstetric and pregnancy complications.

 Obese people suffer more from lung diseases and various endocrine disorders, such as sleep apnea and disorders in the secretion of hormones.

 Obesity diagnosis

 As mentioned earlier, obesity is defined as excess adipose tissue.  Accurately measuring the amount of body fat is complex and needs professional evaluation.  However, by doing a simple physical examination, it is possible to easily detect the presence of excess fat.  Body mass index (BMI) provides a relatively good estimate of the amount of adipose tissue (in people who are not very muscular, such as professional bodybuilders).  BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of height in metres.

 Indication of BMI values:

 18.5-24.9- A normal weight.

 25-29.9- Overweight.

 30-34.9- Grade 1 obesity.

 35-39.9 grade 2 obesity.

 Over 40 means obese.

 The upper obesity (central obesity), i.e. the accumulation of excess fat in the abdominal area, and above the waist (abdominal circumference more than 102 cm in men and above 88 cm in women), is of greater medical importance than lower obesity, i.e. the accumulation of excess fat in the buttocks and thighs  .

 People with upper obesity have a higher risk of developing diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease and premature death than people with lower obesity.

 Obesity treatment

 Different diet techniques can be followed, which leads to weight loss and excess fatty tissue.  Studies have shown that only 20% of patients are able to treat and remove 6 kg of their weight, and maintain the new weight for two years.

 Dietary instructions for patients, for the treatment of obesity are similar to ordinary people:

 Excessive intake of unprocessed food that is given in the diet.

 Limit consumption of fat, sugar and alcohol.

 Eat foods rich in fiber.

 There was not, according to research, a significant and healthy preference for one method of treating obesity over another method.

 However, there is great importance in educating patients for the treatment of obesity, regarding how to plan early the daily menu, and record the meals eaten. Behavioral education in the treatment of obesity is the cornerstone on the way to lose weight in a correct manner.

 Exercising is necessary to maintain weight loss and treat obesity in the long term.  Physical activity causes an increase in the consumption of calories in the body.

 It is important to point out and emphasize, that exercise alone leads to a small weight loss.  The main advantage of exercise is that it helps maintain weight loss over time.  Today, it is recommended to engage in moderate-strenuous physical activity for an hour a day.

 Medication for obesity

 Very few prescription obesity drugs have been approved that are recommended for weight loss.  Medications are recommended as part of a comprehensive treatment program, not as a sole means to lose weight and treat obesity.

 The drugs that are given today are Reductil (Silbutramine), which studies have shown to lead to a loss of 5 kg in 6-12 months, and Orlistat, which leads to a loss of 4 kg in 6-12 months.

 It should be noted that the medicines have many side effects: Reductil may cause dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, insomnia, orlistat may cause diarrhea and various digestive disorders.

 surgical treatment

 People who are obese, and have a BMI of more than 40, can undergo various gastric surgeries (balloon shortening, etc.) that lead to weight loss.

 But the reduction in weight, which is estimated at about 50% of the initial weight of the patient, is accompanied by serious side effects and complications of the surgery such as: infection in the peritoneum, stones in the biliary tract, hypercoagulability and serious nutritional disorders, with a deficiency of various vitamins.  Research also shows that approximately 40% of patients will suffer from complications of the surgery.


 Obesity is becoming more and more common.  This phenomenon has many implications for the quality of life and life expectancy of an obese person.  Today, there are many methods of treating obesity and losing weight. The basic principle on which these methods are based is to follow a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and a healthy and balanced diet.  In extreme cases, medication or surgery can be used, but it is not recommended to reach a situation where these procedures are required to treat obesity.

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