Obesity is the nominal form of obese which comes from the Latin obēsus, which means “stout, fat, or plump.” Ēsus is the past participle of edere (to eat), with ob added to it.
besity is a condition in which the natural energy reserve, stored in the fatty tissues of humans and other mammals, is increased to a point where it is associated with certain health conditions or increased mortality.
Obesity is both an individual clinical condition and is increasingly viewed as a serious public health problem. Excessive body weight has been shown to predispose people to various diseases.
Being obese and being overweight is not exactly the same thing. An obese person has a large amount of extra body fat, not just a few extra pounds. People who are obese are very overweight and at risk for serious health problems.
Obesity is typically evaluated by measuring BMI (Body mass index), waist circumference and risk factor evaluation.
Body mass index is the most simple and useful index to estimate body fat. It is calculated as follows:
BMI = Weight in Kilograms / Square of height in meters.
So BMI = Kg / square ms.
or BMI = Weight (lbs) * 703 / height (inches)2
BMI is indexed as follows for reference:
BMI < 18.5 = Underweight
BMI 18.5 – 24.9 = Normal weight
BMI 25 – 29.9 = Overweight
BMI 30 – 39.9 = Obese
BMI > 40 = Severely obese
With day to day advancements and better understanding, it has become clear that visceral fat or central obesity (male type or apple type obesity) has a stronger relation with cardio-vascular diseases. BMI does not take into account the adipose and lean ratios.
The absolute waist circumference ( > 102 cm in men and > 88 in women) or waist – hip ratio (>0.9 for men and >0.85 for women) are a measure of central obesity.
Body fat measurement
It is considered that men with more then 25% and women with 30% more body fat are obese. For the correct assessment, either skin fold thickness test or under water weighing could be done.
Other measurements could be done by CT or MRI.
Causes of Obesity
When food energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, fat cells (and also to some extent muscle and liver cells) throughout the body take in the energy and store it as fat. So when the energy consumption exceeds the requirement, it causes obesity.
Additional factors causing obesity
- Genetic disorders
- Underlying illness (such as hypothyroidism)
- Eating disorders (such as Binge eating disorder)
- Certain medications (such as anti-psycotics)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- A high glycemic diet
- Insufficient sleep
- Sudden smoking cessation
- Weight cycling – repeated attempts to do dieting to lose weight
Genetic factors play an important role in determining the traits of obesity. Some genes play the role to telling the body how to metabolize food and to use extra calories or stored fat.
Obesity runs in families as generally families eat similar foods, have similar lifestyle habits and thinking patterns, such as that children should eat more to become big and healthy.
Certain illnesses like thyroid gland problems or genetic diseases run in families.
Some eating disorders like Binge eating disorder affect a person’s diet as he eats more and repeatedly often in binges. These people generally lack the developed eating patterns learned in childhood.
It is also to be remembered that obesity is not the result of momentary overeating. It is a long term phenomenon because people tend to overeat over long periods of time.
Emotions can fuel obesity, as people tend to eat more when they are upset, anxious, sad, stressed or even bored. Afterwards they feel bad about eating more, and later to relieve this stress, they may eat even more.
Sedentary lifestyle is another important factor as people tend to eat more when they are doing nothing and just sitting idly watching TV or video games. Cars dominate our life and we seldom walk or exercise. There is less time to cook healthy food and we often tend to eat fast foods.
Since the mid-seventies, the prevalence of being overweight and of obesity in United States have increased sharply for both adults and children. Data from two NHANES surveys show that among adults aged 20–74 years the prevalence of obesity increased from 15.0% (in the 1976–1980 survey) to 32.9% (in the 2003–2004 survey). The global average stands at 14.1% with United States of America, Mexico, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Luxembourg, Czech Republic standing out as the most obese nations.
The two surveys also show increase in weight among children and teens. For children aged 2–5 years, the prevalence of being overweight increased from 5.0% to 13.9%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 18.8%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.4%.
These increasing rates raise concern because of their implications for Americans’ health. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions, including the following:
* Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
* Type 2 diabetes
* Coronary heart disease
* Gallbladder disease
* Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
* Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
American Obesity Rates have reached epidemic proportions.
* 58 Million overweight; 40 Million Obese; 3 million morbidly obese.
* Eight out of 10 people over the age of 25 are overweight.
* 78% of American’s not meeting basic activity level recommendations.
* 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 yrs old since 1990.
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height.Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often push children on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression. One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the diet and exercise habits of your entire family.
Types of Obesity
The fat distribution in the body is identified among the two types of obesity android &gynoid.
Android: - Android type of obesity is likened to the shape of an apple. The shoulders, face, arms, neck, chest & upper portion of the abdomen are bloated. The stomach gives a stiff appearance, as well as the arms, shoulders and breasts. The back seems to be erect but the neck is compressed and there will be a protruding chest because of the bulk in the stomach. The lower portion of the body — the hips, thighs and legs are thinner beyond proportion in comparison with the upper part. In these persons the vital organs affected will be mostly the heart, liver, kidneys & lungs. Though this type of obesity is found more in males it is common in females too. Those females, who are under hormone treatment for their menstrual abnormalities or after childbirth, are more prone to this type of obesity. It occurs in females around menopause too due to thyroid gland’s functional disturbance. In this type, the excess flesh is less likely to reduce especially in female than males. Android type of obesity is a major risk for heart damage and heart disease due to high cholesterol.
Gynoid: - In this type the lower part of the body has the extra flesh. This type of obesity is also common to both sexes though females are more affected. Gynoid type of obesity is similar to pears. The flesh is somewhat flabby in the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and legs. The face and neck mostly give a normal appearance. In some persons, the cheeks may be drawn too. As these persons grow old the whole figure assumes a stooping posture and the spine is never erect due to the heavy hips and thighs. This vital organs affected mostly are the kidneys, uterus, intestines, bladder & bowels. But the functions of these organs some times have a direct effect on the heart. In this type of obesity, exercises or dieting will not help appreciably in reducing weight.
The third type: – Besides android and gynoid, there is one more type of obesity. Some people do not belong to any of the above type of obesity. Their whole body from head to toe looks like a barrel. Their gait is more to rolling rather than walking. The fat tissues in their body hinder the movement of all the internal organs and consequently affect their brisk functioning. For them any exercise is difficult due to the enormous size of the body. So such person should follow a strict diet and do plenty of exercise.
Health problems associated with obesity
Obesity increases the risk of developing disease. Obese people are more than twice as likely to develop hypertension. The risk of medical complications, particularly heart disease, increases when body fat is distributed around the waist, especially in the abdomen. This type of upper body fat distribution is more common in men then women.
Obese women are at nearly twice the risk for developing breast cancer, and all obese people have a 42 percent higher chance of developing colorectal cancer.
Almost 80 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus, also known as non-insulin -dependent diabetes mellitus, are obese.
Obese people also experience social and psychological problems. Stereotypes about “fat” people often translate into discriminatory practices in education, employment, and social relationships. The consequences of being obese in a world preoccupied with being thin are especially severe for women, whose appearances are often judged against an ideal of exaggerated slenderness.
The presence of risk factors and diseases associated with obesity are also used to establish a clinical diagnosis .Coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and sleep apnea , are possible life-threatening risk factors that would indicate clinical treatment of obesity. Smoking, hypertension, age and family history are other risk factors that may indicate treatment. Diabetes and heart disease are risk factors used in epidemiological studies of obesity.
Obesity is bad news for both body and mind. Not only does it make a person feel tired and uncomfortable, it can wear down joints and put extra stress on other parts of the body. When a person is carrying extra weight, it’s harder to keep up with friends, play sports, or just walk between classes at school. It is also associated with breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea and problems with hips and knee joints that may require surgery.
In addition to other potential problems, people who are obese are more likely to be depressed. That can start a vicious cycle: When people are overweight, they may feel sad or even angry and eat to make themselves feel better. Then they feel worse for eating again. And when someone feels depressed, the person is less likely to go out and exercise.
How Can You Avoid Becoming Overweight or Obese?
- The best way to avoid these health problems is to maintain a healthy weight. And the keys to healthy weight are regular exercise and good eating habits.
- To stay active, try to exercise 30 to 60 minutes every day. Your exercise doesn’t have to be hard. Walking, swimming, and stretching are all good ways to burn calories and can help you stay fit. Try these activities to get moving:
- Go outside for a walk.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk or bike to places (such as school or a friend’s house) instead of driving.
- If you have to drive somewhere, park farther away than you need to and walk the extra distance.
- Tackle those household chores, such as vacuuming, washing the car, or cleaning the bathroom – they all burn calories.
- Alternate activities so you don’t get bored: Try running, biking, skating.
- Limit your time watching TV or playing video games; even reading a book burns more energy.
- Go dancing — it can burn more than 300 calories an hour!
- Eating well doesn’t mean dieting over and over again to lose a few pounds. Instead, try to make healthy choices every day.
- Soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks are loaded with sugar; drink fat-free or low-fat milk or water instead.
- Eat ample amount of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Eat a healthy breakfast every day.
- Don’t eat meals or snacks while watching TV because you’ll probably end up eating more than you intend to.
- Pay attention to the portion sizes of what you eat.
- If you want a snack, try carrot sticks, a piece of fruit, or a piece of whole-grain toastinstead of processed foods like chips and crackers, which can be loaded with fat and calories.
- Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored or because you can’t think of anything else to do.
Treatment of Obesity
Fluoxetine, Orsilat and Sibutramine can achieve weight loss over 12 to 50 weeks but the magnitude of loss is moderate and long term health benefits remain unclear.
For diet / exercise resistant obesity, Orlistat plays a role by inhibiting pancreatic lipase and reducing intestinal fat absorption. Sibutramine is an anorectic but its safety factor for health is still uncertain.
Surgery for Obesity
Bariatric surgery – Weight loss surgery is the use of surgical interventions in treating obesity by reducing the volume of stomach, producing an earlier sensation of satiety (by adjustable gastric banding and vertical banded gastroplasty) or by reducing the length of bowel and so directly reducing absorption (gastric by pass surgery). Band surgery is reversible but others are not.
Homeopathy Treatment & Homeopathic Remedies for Obesity
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. This means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptability) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The medicines given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice.
- Boericke [Generalities] [Obesity, Adiposis, Corpulence]
- Kent [Generalities]
- Murphy [Diseases, Children in, Constitution] [Obesity]
Homeopathic Remedies for Obesity
CALC-CARB., FERRUM MET., GRAPH., PHYT., THYR., ANT-CRUD., FUCUS, PHOS.,Ant-c., Phyt., Thyr., Amm. mur., Calc-ar., Kali-bi., Kali-c., Lac-d., Phos., Puls., Sep., Senega.
A constitutional remedy for reducing fat. The patient is FAT, FAIR AND FLABBY. Great anti-psoric remedy with increased general and local perspiration and swelling of glands, scrofulous and rachitic conditions. Persons who take cold easily, grow fat, are large bellied, with large heads and pale skin. Craving of eggs is marked with heat as well as coldness of single parts of body. Obesity in children.
The patient feels worse by exertion, (mental /physical), ascending, cold (in every form), water, washing, moist air, wet weather, standing. The patient feels better in dry climate, lying on painful side.
Obesity with anemia, face puffy, with pitting of flesh. Best adapted to young, weakly persons, anemic and chlorotic, with pseudo-plethora, who flush easily and have cold extremities, suffer from weakness even on speaking or walking though looking strong. Pallor of skin, mucus membranes and face.
Worse by – night, rest, sitting quietly and during menses.
Better by slow motion, walking slowly and in summer.
Especially suited to those who are fat and sluggish and whose bodies are large and fat with large buttocks, fatty tumors and thin legs. All mucus secretions are increased and retained. Generally suffering from respiratory troubles and associated affections of liver. Obstinate constipation accompanied by much flatus. Hard, crumbling stools require great effort in expulsion; crumble from the verge of anus.
It produces anemia, emaciation, muscular weakness, and sweating, tingling and increased heart rate. It exerts great influence over goiter and excessive obesity and acts best in females with paleness and uterine fibroids or mammary tumors.
Obesity in young people with excessive irritability and fretfulness together with a thickly coated white tongue. All the conditions aggravate by heat and cold bathing. Tendency to grow fat. For children and young people inclined to grow fat, for the extremes of life. Old people with morning diarrhea suddenly become constipated or alternate diarrhea and constipation, pulse hard and rapid. Sensitive to the cold. < After taking cold. Child is fretful, peevish, cannot bear to be touched or looked at, sulky, and does not wish to speak or be spoken to, angry at every little attention. Great sadness, with weeping. Longing for acids and pickles. Gastric and intestinal affections: from bread and pastry; acids, especially vinegar; sour or bad wine; after cold bathing; over-heating; hot weather.
Worse – After eating; cold baths, acids or sour wine; after heat of sun or fire; extremes of cold or heat.
Better – In the open air; during rest; after a warm bath.
Tendency to obesity in females with delayed menstruation. The patients are stout, of fair complexion and tendency to skin affections and constipation, fat, chilly and costive.Take cold easily. Tendency to obesity and swollen genitals with indurations of tissues.
An important remedy for obesity. Reduces fat and false growths. It is pre-eminently a glandular remedy with glandular swellings –heat and inflammations. Helps to reduce fat and thus reduce weight. It is useful in rheumatism of syphilitic origin where the pains are wandering, shifting and shooting. Burning in throat as from coal fire and cannot swallow hot liquids.
General soreness, lameness, bruised feeling over whole body causes the patient to groan. Intense prostration, sitting upright makes him faint and dizzy.
Mother tincture is used for weight reduction.
A good remedy for obesity and non-toxic goiter (also exophthalmic). Digestion is improved and flatulence diminished. Obstinate constipation. Thyroid enlargement in obese people.
Complaints in fat women around climacteric or women approaching climaxis. The females tend to become fleshy and obese around menopause. Chilliness with dropsicalaffections. Cancer of uterus, affections of spleen and mesenteric glands are often found associated. Great mental depression. The slightest emotion causes palpitation of heart
Suits nicely those people who are of lax fibers, weak, diminished vital heat, fat/obese, indolent and have no vital heat or no reactive force. General uncleanliness of body and opposed to physical exertion. Burning pains and general chilliness with marked tendency to suppuration in every inflammatory process are found.
Persons of waxy, translucent skin, half anemic, young people growing too rapidly, fair, blondes, quick and hemorrhagic diathesis. It affects the nutrition and function of every tissue of body. It causes pseudo-hypertrophy of muscles. Adapted to tall slender persons of sanguine temperament, fair skin, delicate eyelashes, find blond or red hair, quick perceptions, and very sensitive nature. Young people, who grow too rapidly, are inclined to stoop who are chlorotic or anemic; old people, with morning diarrhea. Hemorrhagic diathesis; small wounds bleed profusely from every mucous outlet.
Longs for: cold food and drink; juicy, refreshing things; ice cream > gastric pains.
As soon as water becomes warm in stomach it is thrown up.
Worse – Evening, before midnight, lying on left or painful side; during a thunderstorm; weather changes, either hot or cold.
Cold air relieves the head and face symptoms but aggravates those of chest, throat and neck.
Better – In the dark; lying on right side; from being rubbed or mesmerized; from cold food, cold water, until it gets warm.
Useful in obesity and where diseases are associated with faulty nutrition. Sick headaches with intense throbbing, nausea and vomiting, prostration and all complaints aggravated during menses.
It is specially indicated for fleshy, fat, light haired complexioned people with scrofulous or syphilitic history. Symptoms tend to increase in the morning and all pains migrate quickly with rheumatic and gastric symptoms alternating. Catarrhal stage of all mucus membranes.
It is pre-eminently a female remedy with tendency to obesity in mild, gentle, yielding females who are sad, cry easily and weeps when talking. The symptoms are changeable and contradictory. The patient seeks the open air and feels better in it.Thirstlessness and chilliness in fat females. Aversion to fatty foods, still grows obese. Adapted to persons of indecisive, slow, phlegmatic temperament; sandy hair, blue eyes, pale face, easily moved to laughter or tears; affectionate, mild, gentle, timid, yielding disposition – the woman’s remedy.
Weeps easily: almost impossible to detail her ailments without weeping. Especially, in diseases of women and children.
Women inclined to be fleshy, with scanty and protracted menstruation.
Worse – In a warm close room; evening, at twilight; on beginning to move; lying on the left, or on the painless side; very rich, fat, indigestible food; pressure on the well side if it be made toward the diseased side; warm applications; heat.
Better – In the open air; lying on painful side, cold air or cool room; eating or drinking cold things; cold applications.
Obesity in females with weakness, yellow complexion and bearing down sensations. Pains extend down to back and patient chills easily. Obesity in menopausal females with hot flushes and perspirations.
Particularly sensitive to cold air, “chills so easily;” lack of vital heat, especially in chronic diseases.
Anxiety: with fear, flushes of heat over face and head; about real or imaginary friends; with uterine troubles.
Great sadness and weeping. Dread of being alone; of men; of meeting friends; with uterine troubles.
Indifferent: even to one’s family; to one’s occupation, to those whom she loves best.
Worse – In afternoon or evening; from cold air or dry east wind; sexual excesses; at rest; sultry moist weather; before a thunderstorm.
Better – Warmth of bed, hot applications; violent exercise.
Especially suited for persons of lax fibers who tend to become obese and also to children who are chubby in appearance. These children usually suffer from repeated respiratory catarrhal affections where rattling cough and profuse mucus but difficult raising are characteristics.