Fat Isn't Funny- Know the Causes and Dangers of Obesity

Obesity affects one in four of all American adults. 9 million of them are 'morbidly obese'. High body fat is not just about carrying extra weight; it makes you a sitting duck for all kinds of diseases to attack. And it can all be avoided if you follow a good diet and exercise.

Causes of obesity:

1.    Overeating: If calories consumed through food are greater than the calories spent, it results in accumulation of fat. This is the simple equation.

2.    Fast food: As much as you would think fast food is convenient, the bitter truth is that fast food contains tons of calories, cholesterol, sugar and saturated fats.

3.   Soft drinks and alcohol: Did you know that a can of Coke contains 7 teaspoons of sugar? It's all empty calories that pile on the agony. Alcohol too is loaded with calories and excessive drinking affects the body's metabolism. It replaces fat as the body's energy supplier and that is why you don't seem to lose weight even if you exercise.

4.    Inactivity: Lesser physical movements means lesser burning of calories, leading to obesity.

5.    Medications: Certain medications that treat depression and other psychosomatic problems are known to cause weight gain.

6.    Medical problems: Certain medical problems concerning hormones alter the body's metabolism, leading to weight gain.

Dangers of obesity:

1.    Diabetes: Obesity highly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Cholesterol destroys insulin receptors and prevents sugar from entering your cells. As a result, it stays in the blood and causes diabetes.

2.    High blood pressure: Obesity, cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure - all go hand in hand. More fatty tissues mean more pressure on the arteries to supply required blood.

3.    Heart disease: Obesity increases levels of triglycerides (blood fats) and LDL cholesterol leading to cardiovascular diseases. Fatty deposits can narrow the heart's arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart, potentially leading to attacks.

4.    Strokes: Atherosclerosis, a condition caused by fatty deposits in the arteries, can be dangerous to the brain. A single blood clot in a narrowed artery of the brain can cause a stroke.

5.    Cancer: Obesity may cause cancers of the colon, esophagus and kidney.

6.    Sleep apnea: This is a condition in which a person stops breathing for some time during sleep. Blockage of airway in obese people can cause this dangerous condition.

7.   Osteoarthritis: Joint disorders that cause pain in the back, hips and knees could be a result of excess weight.

8.    Liver disease: Accumulation of fat in the liver causes inflammation and scarring of the liver. Those who have pre-diabetes are more susceptible to liver disease.

9.    Fertility problems: Men and women with high Body Mass Index (BMI) are more likely to experience fertility problems. Women could face severe problems during pregnancy, leading to birth defects.
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