Health risks of obesity
A person is considered to be obese if they weigh more than 20% over their ideal weight. It is more precisely defined as body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.
For most adults, a BMI of:
- 5 to 24.9 means a healthy weight
- 25 to 29.9 means overweight
- 30 to 39.9 means obese
- 40 or above means severely obese
Generally, obesity is caused by consuming more calories especially sugary and fatty foods than the one burn off through physical activity. The excess energy is stored by the body as fat.
For women of reproductive age, the consequences of being obese are more serious. Studies have shown that maternal obesity is bad for both the mother and the unborn child. It can lead to higher rates of miscarriage, still-births and congenital anomalies.
Obesity can also result in gestational diabetes, which is marked by high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. These usually disappear after delivery. Another inherent risk is pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects some pregnant women and usually sets in 20 weeks into pregnancy.
Obesity during pregnancy can also affect health later for both mother and child, including increased risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Children of obese mothers also have a risk of future obesity.
And obesity is associated with decreased contraceptive efficacy and also impacts negatively on normal vaginal delivery.
Obesity affects a person’s quality of life and lead to psychological problems, such as depression and low self-esteem.
The most effective way to treat obesity is to eat healthy, reduce high calorie diet and exercise frequently.
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