If the number on your scale is hitting an unhealthy level, you’re not alone. According to Statistics Canada, 23 percent of adult Canadians are obese, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and some cancers.
Obesity causes Obesity happens over time when a person consumes more calories than she burns through activity. While the number of calories each person needs differs, factors such as genetics, overeating, consuming fattening foods and being sedentary can all contribute to obesity.
Obesity symptoms Obesity is characterized as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Extreme obesity, also called severe obesity or morbid obesity, occurs at a BMI of 40 or more. Symptoms associated with obesity can include sleep apnea, snoring, difficulty sleeping, joint pain, back pain and excessive sweating.
Obesity diagnosis/tests If your doctor believes you are obese, she will discuss your medical history, including weight history, eating and exercise habits, plus any medications you are taking. She will check your blood pressure levels, BMI (body mass index) – if it’s 30 or over you’re considered obese; and waist circumference: if your waist measures more than 35 inches, you’re at greater risk for diabetes and heart disease. Your doctor may order blood tests to check your thyroid levels, liver function and cholesterol levels.
Obesity treatment If you’re obese, even modest weight loss can lower your risk for chronic diseases. Fad diets may promise quick weight loss but the effects may not last once you return to a normal diet. Instead, eating a healthy diet based on Canada’s Guide to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity is a good course of action to treat obesity. Paying attention to portion sizes can help ensure that you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning. Reading nutritional labels will also help with making informed food choices. Regular physical activity is essential for achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. In some cases, doctors may recommend prescription weight-loss medication or weight-loss surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery.
Obesity prevention The best way to prevent weight gain is to consume a healthy diet with a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables and no more than 30 percent of calories from fat. Research shows that moderate to intense exercise also prevents obesity. Aim for at least 30 minutes at least five days a week. It’s also helpful to keep a food journal to record what you eat and how much activity you’re doing.