Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.
Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food energy intake, lack of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility, although a few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications or psychiatric illness. Evidence to support the view that some obese people eat little yet gain weight due to a slow metabolism is limited; on average obese people have a greater energy expenditure than their thin counterparts due to the energy required to maintain an increased body mass.
Obesity is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide, with increasing prevalence in adults and children, and authorities view it as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.
Obesity is stigmatized in much of the modern world (particularly in the Western world), though it was widely perceived as a symbol of wealth and fertility at other times in history, and still is in some parts of the world.
Maintenance of a healthy body weight is important for maintaining both physical and emotional well-being and preventing disease. Excess weight and obesity have been associated with an increased risk for numerous medical conditions, including
- heart disease,
- high blood pressure,
- some types of cancers,
- sleep apnea,
- and elevated blood cholesterol levels.
It should be noted that reduction in weight for those who are overweight can make a major impact on the conditions listed above. Many overweight people also report improved mood, increased in self-esteem and motivation, and feeling healthier in general after they have lost weight.
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