Obesity in Women

Obesity in Women

Compared to men, women suffer a disproportionate burden of disease attributable to overweight and obesity.  Obesity is defined as the condition of being grossly fat or overweight.

Fat, keeping in mind the Body Mass Index ratio, of the woman concerned. Women with body weight measuring up to 30 percent more than that of the ideal are known as Obese. The body mass index (BMI), is the most popular and effective way of calculating obesity.

Body mass index (BMI) is a statistical measurement that compares a person’s weight and height. Though it does not actually measure the percentage of body fat, but it is a useful tool to estimate a healthy body weight based on a person’s height. Due to its ease of measurement and calculation, it is a widely used diagnostic tool to identify obesity problems within a population.  However, it is not considered appropriate to use as a final indication for diagnosing individuals. BMI was invented between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing “social physics”.  Body mass index is defined as the individual’s body weight divided by the square of his height.

More and more studies reveal that obesity is fast becoming the new normal in the US. The prevalence of obesity among women has increased by almost 15 percent in the last decade.   Nearly 50 percent of all American Latinas  and 85-91% of African American women are overweight.  The link between diabetes and obesity is particularly pronounced in women, and during the past 10 years there has been a 32 percent increase in women with diabetes. Obese women are also prime candidates for social and psychological issues that also lead to depression, risky behaviors and anger issues.

It is believed that obesity in women has increased by at least 25 percent in the past decade and as a result, women have become prone to diseases like diabetes, high BP, etc.  Women who have a hereditary problem of obesity need to be very careful about their food and exercise quotient. Often women find it difficult to shed post pregnancy weight which in turn leads to life long obesity for them.

Symptoms of Obesity

Obesity can be aptly judged by abnormal growing weight (body mass), which in turn can be measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI) count. Apart from the obvious symptom of excessive weight, lack of energy level, changes in the appearance of the person, shortness of breath, disinterest in physical activities, pain in the back, joints, knees, hips, etc are all signs of obesity.

Obesity is almost always dovetailed by related diseases like gout, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac problems, sleep apnea, cancer, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol levels and many such diseases. The many physical ailments, added with the mental aspects of obesity, is crippling to women.

There are telltale signs and symptoms of obesity that people can recognize on their own, while other signs require a healthcare professional to diagnose. Obesity symptoms that can be recognized by one’s self are;

  • Body Disproportion – One of the most common effects of obesity is when different body features don’t seem to be proportionate to each other. Facial features in particular may look disproportionate to the rest of the face. Excess fat in the cheeks and chin, are typical of obese individuals.
  • Stretch Marks – Often times, purple or white barely-visible stretch marks appear around the abdomen area.
  • Arms and Thighs – Fat cells can cause arms and thighs to expand, often loosing the normal amount of skin tightness.
  • Psychological Trauma – Often, in relation to obesity, individuals experience increased anxiety, stress, and difficulties in accomplishing ordinary, every-day tasks.

The above symptoms often indicate whether a person is overweight or not. While these are the most common characteristics of obesity, they are not the only ones. Also, it’s very typical for some people not recognize obesity in themselves. In order to get a true diagnosis, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor before attempting a treatment plan.  While there are many more symptoms associated with obesity, these are the most typical.

Types of Obesity

Obesity may be broadly categorized into-

  • Type l Obesity — BMI of 30-34.9
  • Type II Obesity — of 35-39.9
  • Type lll Obesity — of 40 and higher

Type I is mostly a result of excessive and binge eating habits apart from a lack of physical activity that should compliment one’s eating habits.  The type II kind accounts for less than 1% of the obesity cases registered is a result of health related problems. In such cases, the patient witnesses abnormal weight gain in spite of a regulated lifestyle.

Simple Obesity – This type of obesity is caused by ingesting too much heat energy, while consuming less energy and thereby, storing too much fat.  Most Obese people belong to this category.  Simple Obesity has two types:

Constitutional Obesity, or from infancy type obesity – This type of obesity starts from infancy continues to adulthood. Usually the person has a family history of obesity.  They have a very good appetite from half a year after birth and their body fat cell number begins to increase. Their metabolism is slow and synthesis exceeds catabolism. There will be poor cure effect by limiting diet and strengthening exercise. They are not sensitive to insulin.

Acquired Obesity, or From Adult type Obesity, and Diet-induced Obesity. This is caused by intentionally or unintentionally eating too much, called surfeit Obesity. They usually begin to gain weight from early adult times and gain weight mainly on limbs.

Secondary Obesity – This type of Obesity usually has some primary disease associated with it. The primary diseases are Cushing’s syndrome, metabolic obesity, hypothalamic obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome, insulin tumour, etc.. The primary disease must be cured before it is possible to lose weight.

There are various other types of Female Obesity that have been identified, these are;

Android, Gynoid and a mixed variety.

  • The Gynoid is a type of Female Obesity where the lower part of the body is more affected and puts on more flesh and weight in comparison to the others. The Gynoid type of Female Obesity sees flabby abdomen, added weight in the buttocks & legs area too.
  • Such type of Female Obesity can affect vital organs in the body such as intestines, bladder & bowls kidneys and the uterus too. It is often seen that in this type of obesity, exercises or dieting has little or no affect on the body.
  • The third type of Female Obesity is a mixed bag of the other types.  There are some people who do not fit into any of the above types of obesity. In this type the body looks like a barrel and movement is restricted.

Obesity is a result of several factors culminated together. Most of the time weight is gained by intake of more calories than what the body actually needs.  Obesity is a chronic disease with a strong genetic component.  Fast food also causes obesity, and American obesity has been linked scientifically to the typical American diet that is high in fats, salt and sugar, and is dominated by over-sized portions.

In addition to an unhealthy diet, other factors leading to obesity are;

  • Low levels of physical activity, either in the form of exercise or day to day activities may also lead to obesity.
  • Factors like the body composition of the woman or even genetic factors like other family members having Obesity, may contribute to developing one.
  • Aging and other socio-economic factors, aligned with the mental state of a persons mind are heavy factors as well.
  • Endocrine factors often contribute to excess weight in the body. It has been observed that the fat content accumulated in women is twice the amount found in men of the same age.
  • It has been observed that factors like changes in the body of the woman, mental changes during pregnancy, puberty, or menopause can often lead to obesity. 
  • Some other noted causes of obesity are- neurological problems leading to weight gain, depression, intake of oral contraceptives, steroids, phenothiazines and insulin as well.
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