Saturday, September 10, 2011

Diagnosing Obesity

Diagnosing Obesity
The most common and accepted measurements used to diagnose obesity are the Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference measurements.  While these measures allow you to put your weight concerns into perspective, it is recommended that you make an appointment with a medical health advisor.
They will be able to suggest a weight loss program tailored to your needs as well as do any necessary tests to screen for weight-related complications. In addition to these measurements, your doctor will probably ask a number of questions to help confirm a diagnosis and possible causes of obesity. You will

probably be asked about your medical history, the age you started gaining weight, family weight and medical history, eating and exercise habits, nicotine and alcohol use, and previous experience with weight loss attempts. Your doctor may also do blood tests to check thyroid functioning, along with glucose and cholesterol levels to determine whether any obesity-related conditions are present such as diabetes.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
The BMI uses a formula of weight and height in order to measure body fat. Technically speaking this formula calculates the individual's body weight divided by the square of their height. The BMI allows you to assess how much an individual's body weight differs from what is normal or expected for a person of his or her height.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) measurements are as follows:   
Underweight:           BMI below 18.5
Healthy weight:       BMI between 18.5-24.9
Overweight:             BMI between 25-29.9
Obese:                       BMI 30 or higher

Consider consulting your health care practitioner if your BMI is above 25, and
especially if it is above 30, so that you can discuss a weight loss program that suits
your needs.

Waist Circumference
Waist circumference, measured in inches, is a good indicator of health concerns related to obesity and excess weight. People tend to carry their extra pounds in different areas of the body, and some areas tend to be more dangerous than others. Those who carry most of their body fat around the waist or the upper body (apple shaped) tend to be at higher risk for health concerns than those who carry most of their body fat around the hips, thighs and lower body (pear shaped). Medical experts have noted that people who carry their excess weight predominantly around their abdominal region put more strain on vital internal
organs and this increases the risks associated with a number of the serious health conditions relating to obesity. For this reason, a simple waist measurement willhelp determined the severity of your weight concerns.

● Waist circumference for women should be below 35 inches.
● Waist circumference for men should be below 40 inches.

If your waist circumference is above the given measurements, you may be at risk
for medical complications and should seek professional guidance on how to lose

Implications of Obesity

Psychological and Social Implications of Obesity

While the medical implications are extensive and serious, the psychological and social consequences of obesity are just as serious. Obesity often leads to feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt and poor self-esteem which in some cases can be even more crippling than the medical concerns. There is a large emotional aspect to obesity and studies have shown that body satisfaction levels are hugely tied in with evaluations of self-worth.

Many obese individuals struggle with disapproval and criticism from both family and strangers and may find the social stigmas of obesity extremely oppressive. They may be discriminated against at job interviews, feel they are disrespected by their physicians and find themselves less inclined to partake in social activities due to feelings of self-consciousness or simply because society has not provided for their needs - public and airline seats are too small, turnstiles too narrow and restaurant booths unaccommodating. These social discriminations often perpetuate a negative self-image and feelings of isolation.

What is Obesity?

Obesity refers to an excessive amount of body fat. There is, however, a distinction between being obese and being overweight. Someone who is overweight may benefit from losing a few extra pounds, while an obese person has large amounts of extra body fat that puts them at risk for serious health problems.

Obesity health problems are on the increase annually in the United States. While obesity is not considered a diagnosable eating disorder, it has been acknowledged as one of the most dangerous health problems confronting public health professionals today.

Statistically, obesity affects as many as 34 percent of American adults, however, what makes this trend anything but normal are the potentially devastating health, social and emotional implications associated with obesity.

Although body fat is essential for storing energy, insulating the body and protecting important body organs, excessive amounts can lead to serious obesity health problems and increased mortality rates.

Health Consequences of Obesity

An estimated 300,000 deaths per year in the U.S have been attributed to obesity. Even a moderate amount of excess fat (especially around the abdominal area) has been linked to increased mortality rates. People suffering from obesity are more likely than others to suffer from medical complications. Obesity health problems include: 
● Heart disease 
● Type 2 diabetes 
● Elevated cholesterol levels 
● Decreased blood oxygen levels 
● Decreased testosterone levels 
● Certain cancers including: 
● Breast cancer 
● Colon cancer 
● Endometrial cancer 
● Esophageal cancer 
● Gall bladder cancer 
● Kidney cancer 
● Ovarian cancer 
● Prostate cancer  
● Uterine cancer 
● Pancreatic cancer 
● Asthma 
● Snoring 
● Obstructive sleep apnea 
● Osteoarthritis 
● Cataracts 
● Erectile dysfunction 
● Impotence 
● Loss of libido 
● Infertility 
● Irregular menstrual cycles 
● Pregnancy and birth complications 
● Incontinence 
● Tinnitus 
● Reduced immune system function 
● Swollen joints and fluid retention 
● Muscular aches and pains 
● Mechanical injuries such as sprained ankles, sunken arches, and strain on 
the knees 
● Gout