BMI is weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters squared). Overweight is defined as BMI of 25 to 29.9, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more. Body composition-the percentage of fat and muscle in the body-is also considered when obesity is defined.
Women who have more than 30% body fat or men who have more than 25% body fat are considered obese (kitambi au kiriba tumbo). Thus, people who are very muscular and have low body fat (such as body builders) may have a high BMI without being obese and without increasing health risks. Obesity is becoming increasingly common throughout the world.
In the United States, this increase has been dramatic: Between 1980 and 1999, the percentage of overweight people increased from 47% to 61%, and the percentage of obese people increased from 15% to 26%. 48% the affluent Tanzanian/executives are overweight, and are prone to get diabetes and high blood pressure as the trend shows.
It is estimated that there are over 6 million Tanzanian women who are obese. This figure should be watched out, as the lifestyle prevails, of sedentary life and less exercise with excessive calories intake, we are going to a time bomb of unhealthy life style with short span of life. Strokes and heart attacks are not uncommon nowadays in our communities. Obesity is more common among women than among men. How common it is (prevalence) varies by age and race.
For example, prevalence increases from about 14% at age 25 to 32% at age 55, then decreases to 22% at age 75% (for the few whom live past the age). In the USA obesity is equally common among black and white men and is slightly more common among Hispanic men. However obesity is much more common among black and Hispanic women than among white women. About 67% of middleaged black women are overweight or obese compared with 45% of middle-aged white women.
Obesity results from consuming more calories than the body uses. The number of calories needed varies from person to person, depending on age, sex, physical activity, and the person’s metabolic rate-the rate at which the body burns calories. Genetic and environmental factors influence body weight, but precisely how they interact is unclear. One proposed explanation is that the body weight is regulated around a set point, similar to a thermostat setting.
Some people may have a higher than normal set point, which may explain why they are obese and why losing weight and maintaining weight loss are difficult for them. Obesity tends to run in families. However, families share not only genes but also environment, and separating the two influences is difficult. Genetic factors explain about one third to two thirds of the variability in body weight Physical inactivity is one of the main reasons for the increase in obesity among people in affluent societies.
It is also a common cause of obesity as people age. Sedentary people need fewer calories. When physical activity increases, food intake usually increases. However, when physical decreases, food intake does not always decrease accordingly, for some people, it even increases. Fatty foods intake increase more likelihood of eating more and increasing weight. Fats have twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates and protein.
One gram of fat has 9 calories compared to protein and carbohydrate which give 4 calories each. Drinking alcohol can contribute to obesity. Alcohol increases the number of calories taken in because it is usually consumed in addition to food. Socioeconomic factors strongly influence obesity especially among women. Obesity is more than twice as common among women of lower socioeconomic class as it is among women of higher ones.
People who were obese as children are more likely to be obese as adults, largely because when weight is gained during infancy and early childhood, new fat cells form. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal and necessary. Some women tend to gain more weight in subsequent pregnancies. After menopause, many women gain weight. Hormonal changes cause fat to be redistributed in the body around waist, hips and thighs.
Use of drugs may also cause obesity as side effects, like steroids. Body enhancing and performance enhancing drugs are banned in all sports activities. Urine tests and or blood may determine the amount of the drug if taken. Stopping smoking usually results in weight gain. Nicotine decreases appetite and increases the metabolic rate. Obese people are prone to accidents, heart attacks, diabetes, and strokes, difficult in breathing. Obese women may end up with certain cancers like-breast, uterus, and ovaries.
Cancer of the colon, rectum, prostate are more common among people who are obese than those who are not. The best treatment for obesity is to prevent it from occurring by diet control –using fewer sugars, fewer fats in diet, avoid alcohol. Exercises are recommended to control body weight, at least three times a week for three months. A club of people who are obese can be formed for advice and whenever possible medical doctor and or a nutritionist could assist in giving advice.
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