Overweight and obesity: Causes, treatment & Wellness


Overweight and obesity are health conditions that can cause serious health problems for every group of individuals. Overweight and obesity are health conditions that encompass abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair one’s health. Obesity and overweight are usually determined by considering a person’s weight in kilograms and height in meters.

Causes of obesity and overweight

Several factors have been linked to the acquisition of weight; some of which include genetic, behavioural, hormonal and metabolic causes. Obesity and overweight may result when the intake of calories exceeds the rate at which the body can burn the calories. This usually occurs when the daily activities are reduced and the body stores the excess calories as fat.

Causes of obesity have been outlined as below;

Family inheritance and influences

People may inherit genes from parents that may, in turn, affect the amount of body fat that is stored within the body reserves. Body genetics have also been found to play a role in the manner and rates in which the body converts food into energy and the subsequent burning of the calories when doing exercises.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors can also determine and influence the level of occurrence of obesity and overweight. The lack of sidewalks may make people decide to use buses and cars to access their places of work hence limiting physical exercises. The setting of the physical environment has as well been linked to obesity and overweight as it directly influences people’s daily behaviours.

Risk factors associated with obesity and overweight

People who are obese and overweight are at high risks for other serious diseases and health conditions as compared to normal people. Some of the risks include; high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease, sleep and breathing problems, high cholesterol and increased body pain coupled with the difficulty in physical body functioning.

Studies have indicated that all the above risks associated with obesity and overweight have been linked to high mortality among obese individuals.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey results have indicated that adults are the most hit by this health condition with statistics showing that about 2 in 3 adults in the United States were considered to be overweight or could be obese. In the United States, obesity and overweight cases have been reported to higher in women than in men. About 40 % of the women were found to be obese as compared to men at 35 %. Extreme obesity cases have also been found to be higher among women as compared to their male counterparts.

Considering the race and ethnicity, data obtained from the NHANES have indicated high occurrences obesity and overweight cases among the non-Hispanic blacks in the United States (48.4 %), non-Hispanic whites follow closely at 36.4 % obesity rates.

Obesity and overweight conditions have been ranked as the fifth leading global risks for global deaths. At least 2.9 million deaths have been recorded annually due to either obesity or overweight. The causes of deaths such as diabetes, heart conditions and cancer burdens have all been linked and attributed to overweight and obesity. In the United States, according to the National Institute of Health, obesity and overweight combined are the second leading cause of death in the country. Statistics have indicated figures close to about 300, 000 deaths annually due to obesity and overweight.

The costs of maintaining obese individuals and health-related costs in the United States have been valued at about 147 billion dollars as per the 2008 statistics; this could be loosely translated as 132 dollars per individual.

Current treatment measures

Some of the common treatment measures of obesity and overweight conditions that have been put forward include losing weight through healthy eating habits coupled increased physical activity and an overall change to the usual activities.

Some of the current mechanisms adopted by doctors have included the use of weight loss medication, weight loss devises and or even surgery. However, following a healthy eating plan containing few calories and cholesterol has always been considered as the initial procedure when treating obesity and overweight. This is accompanied by regular physical exercises to help lose excess weight and stay at a healthy weight.

Change of habits and lifestyle has also been considered as a mechanism that helps one to lose weight and improve the health condition. Changes in habits and lifestyles have been linked to long term impacts.

Other mechanisms that have been put into use also include weight management programs. Trained and qualified weight management mangers and specialists have designed wider and effective plans to lower and reduce the calorie intakes, advise on increased physical activity and specific ways on how to change and adapt to new habits.

Effectiveness of the treatment mechanisms

In some circumstances where healthy eating habits and physical activities don not seem to work, other strategies that are believed to be more effective are usually applied. These include the use of herbal medicines and dietary supplements which are not always costly. However other mechanisms such as the use of weight-loss devices such as the electric stimulation, gastric balloon system and the gastric emptying system are costly and cannot be afforded by many individuals who suffer from this condition. Jensen et al. (2013) indicate that the use of herbal remedies to manage obesity can at times work well for some individuals however it may lead to serious side effects in others and it is usually advisable to consult with medical practitioners before using any of the herbal remedies.

Wellness behaviours


Fasting has also been viewed as another mechanism that helps reduce food intake into the body. It is an activity that has gained popularity over the last few months due to its efficiency in ensuring weight loss and related health benefits. One may choose to avoid completely foodstuffs with high caloric content for a given period of days

Calorie restricted or controlled diets

Doctors have recommended low-calorie diets and foods for women and men in the proportions as follows 1500 and 1800 respectively. Lower calorie as advised by the physicians has also acted to ensure healthy lifestyles among obese and overweight individuals.

Physical activities

Regular physical activities have also been categorized as a wellness activity that is vital in the management of obese conditions. Maintaining an active life has been found to help burn the calories to help stay a healthy life. Physical activities also help in reducing the rates of occurrence of obesity-related conditions such as stroke, heart diseases and high blood pressure.


 Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and 0besity. gov/obesity/index.html”>https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html External link. Accessed July 25, 2017.

Jensen MD, Ryan DH, Apovian CM, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults. Circulation. 2014;129:S102–S138.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: the evidence report. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-pro/guidelines/archive/clinical-guidelines-obesity-adults-evidence-report NIH external link. Published September 1998. Accessed July 25, 2017

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