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Main types of obesity and possible causes

Obesity is considered when you are overweight, usually caused by a sedentary lifestyle and over consumption of foods high in fat and sugar, which can generate various problems in your life, such as the development of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack or osteoarthritis of the bones, as well as symptoms such as difficulties in doing exertion, indisposition and low self-esteem.

To identify that someone is obese, most of the time, you use their BMI, or body mass index, which is a calculation that analyzes your weight in relation to your height, being divided in different degrees:

  • Normal weight: BMI between 18.0 and 24.9 kg / m2
  • Overweight: BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 kg / m2
  • Obesity grade 1: BMI between 30.0 - 34.9 kg / m2;
  • Obesity grade 2: BMI between 35.0 - 39.9 kg / m2;
  • Obesity grade 3 or morbid obesity: BMI equal to or greater than 40 kg / m2.

You can also use our calculator to find your IMC:

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Types of obesity

In addition to being classified according to weight, obesity also varies according to the location and where fat is distributed in the body:

1. Abdominal obesity

Main types of obesity and possible causes

Fat deposits mainly in the abdomen and the waist, and can also be distributed over the chest and face. This type of obesity is also known as android or apple-shaped obesity due to the similarity of the silhouette of the person with this fruit, and is more common in men, although some women may also have it.

Abdominal obesity is very associated with high risk for developing other cardiovascular diseases like high cholesterol, heart disease, heart attack, besides diabetes, inflammation and thrombosis.

2. Peripheral obesity

Main types of obesity and possible causes

This type of obesity is more common in women because the fat is located more in the thighs, hips and buttocks, and is known as pear obesity due to the shape of the silhouette, or obesity gynoid.

Peripheral obesity is more associated with circulatory problems such as venous insufficiency and varicose veins, and osteoarthritis in the knees due to the overload of weight in these joints, although it also increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

3. Homogeneous obesity

In this case, there is no predominance of fat in a localized area, excess weight is distributed throughout the body. This can be dangerous because you can be careless because there is not a great impact on your physical appearance, as in the other types.

Signs and symptoms of obesity

Excess fat has negative effects on the whole body, causing uncomfortable signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties due to pressure of abdominal weight on your lungs;
  • Pain in the body, especially in the back, legs, knees and shoulders, due to the excess effort that the body makes to support your weight;
  • Difficulty to making efforts or walking, due to the excess weight and deconditioning of your body;
  • Dermatitis and fungal infections, due to the accumulation of sweat and dirt in the folds of your body;
  • Dark spots on the skin, especially the neck, armpits and groins, a reaction caused by insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes, called acanthosis nigricans;
  • Impotence and infertility, due to hormonal changes and difficulties in blood flow in the vessels;
  • Nocturnal snoring and sleep apnea, by accumulation of fat in the neck and respiratory tract;
  • Greater tendency to varicose veins and venous ulcers due to changes in vessels and blood circulation;
  • Anxiety and depression due to dissatisfaction with body image and binge eating.

In addition, obesity is a determining cause of various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, thrombosis, impotence and metabolic diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol.

What can cause obesity

Obesity can occur at any age, the number of people who go through this situation is increasing due to excessive consumption of caloric foods such as bread, pasta, sweets, fast food and ready meals, as well as sedentary lifestyle, which causes the amount of calories consumed to be greater than the amount that you burn throughout the day.

In addition, hormonal disorders or emotional problems such as anxiety or nervousness may also increase the risk of obesity and therefore these situations should be addressed as soon as they are identified.

Childhood obesity has also been increasingly frequent, due to the excess of industrialized foods, sweets and soda, in addition to less and less outdoor activities. The child usually follows the habits of the parents, so it is very common that the children of obese also be overweight.

Main types of obesity and possible causes

How to know if I am very overweight

The main way to detect obesity is to calculate the BMI, however, in addition to the increased weight, it is also important to identify where fat is deposited, differentiating your weight in fat from your weight in muscles.

Therefore, as a way to evaluate your body's fat mass and its distribution, it is used:

  • Measurement of skinfold thickness: measures the fat located in the deposits underneath your skin, which is related to the amount of internal fat;
  • Bioimpedance: an exam that analyzes the body's composition, indicating the approximate amount of muscles, bones and fats of the body;
  • Ultrasonography, tomography or magnetic resonance imaging: assess the thickness of adipose tissue in the folds, and also in deeper tissues in different body regions, such as abdomen, therefore, are good methods to evaluate abdominal obesity;
  • Measurement of abdominal circumference: identifies fat deposition in the abdomen and the risk of developing abdominal obesity, being classified as having this type of obesity when the waist measurement exceeds 94 cm in men and 80 cm in women;
  • Abdominal / hip circumference ratio: measures the relationship between abdominal and hip circumference, assessing differences in fat accumulation patterns and the risk of developing obesity, being high when above 0.90 for men and 0.85 for women.

Ideally, these assessments and measurements should be made by the nutritionist or physician, to correctly identify the amount of fat a person needs to eliminate and schedule an optimal treatment.

How to treat obesity

The treatment of obesity should be done with regular practice of physical exercises, guided by a physical trainer, and a diet of weight loss, guided by a nutritionist, and should be done gradually and healthy, because diets that promise a weight loss very fast, usually do not bring lasting effects or are harmful to health.

Weight-loss medications can also be used to treat obesity, but their use should only be done under the guidance of an endocrinologist. In more severe cases, one can still resort to some types of surgery such as bariatric surgery.

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