The Profound Effects of Obesity


By definition, obesity is "a condition in which the body carries abnormal or unhealthy amounts of fat tissue, leading the individual to weigh in excess of 20 percent more than his or her ideal weight." (DeAngelo, Kalumuck, & Adlin.) Presently, there is a study that argues that being obese is linked to protecting an individual against different diseases. Obesity is an epidemic in America today, and it affects well over seventy-eight million adults. Obesity adversely affects an individual's emotional stability, a person's lifestyle, as well as the human body's overall health as well.

In 2007, the journal Circulation suggests, "Currently, it is recognized that obesity may be protective against a number of diseases and conditions. This is not to imply that the beneficial effects and associations of obesity outweigh the harmful associations." (Obesity: Risks and benefits, 2009). This is a very alarming claim and has been backed up by different data that was collected. This claim is known as the Obesity Paradox. For example, the survival rates for obese patients versus the healthy weight patients both having cancer, liver cirrhosis or heart failure is greater. The obese patients have shown a faster recovery rate. Also, obese patients who have been through heart transplants have a better recovery rate than their lean counterparts. According to Paul Ernsberger, Ph.D., "Compared with the vast efforts expended to chart the health risks of obesity, almost nothing is known about the very real health risks of leanness.” (Ernsberger, 2007).

The emotional effects that obesity has on an individual psyche is perhaps one of the most profound effects. In many cases, the emotional effects are not in favor of an individual's interest. It can bring a person into depression and cause a sense of body image hate, especially in young adult and teenagers. Therefore, obesity does affect a person's emotional stability on a personal psychological level. An individual who is unhappy with their body image may over indulge in eating to cope with those feelings. Thus a cycle is born into over eating and being overweight. Being depressed can also cause an individual to become less physically active which would only hinder any of their efforts at trying to maintain a healthy or ideal body weight for themselves. It has also been found that the degree of depression differs with the type and degree of obesity.

"We found that only the somatic, but not the cognitive-affective symptoms of depression are consistently positively associated with anthropometric measures of obesity." (Wiltink et al) ) In addition, in The Hunt Study, it was established that there was an enhancement of anxiety and depression because the weight of an individual increased. Gaining weight and becoming obese could lead to a rapid escalation in the sensitive areas of fending off exercise and developing low self-esteem. Obesity is also linked to bad eating habits habitually depression.

Obesity changes the lifestyle of a person greatly. It is hard to do the same everyday activities that an individual would have engaged in if not overweight. This is because, being obese cause you to have less energy, due to not engaging in regular physical activity and proper nutrition. For example, a person who is overweight will get tired quicker when climbing a flight of stairs to work every day. This is due to poor diet, poor blood circulation, and not enough regular physical activity. In comparison, an individual who does work out regularly, or eats well, and is not overweight will not normally experience the same complications when climbing the same flight of stairs. This is because a person who is not overweight, and generally is in good health will not get as tired as quickly as an overweight person. This is one example of how being obese can affect an individual's everyday lifestyle. Another example of the impact and changes that obesity can have on an individual's day to day life is the weight that it can bear on a person in social situations. An individual who is obese may not want to interact with their peers on a day to day basis due to having low self-esteem, a poor body image of oneself, or lack of energy. This proves to be a burden because social engagement is a need in a person's life. Not getting enough of it can be detrimental to a person's psyche and overall well being.

A study by The Brown University, suggests a change in lifestyle will help with obesity problems. "The authors suggest that while lifestyle interventions alone may generate meaningful weight loss without the need for medication, adding a medication later may help in sustaining weight loss over the long term." So in comparison, obesity does change the type of lifestyle a person leads, but the type of lifestyle an individual leads will impact obesity.

The overall health of a person is vastly affected by obesity. They are not up sides health wise when it comes to being obese. Obesity affects a person's blood vessels, heart, intestines, and stomach. Along with directly affecting these areas in an individual, obesity causes issues in the circulatory system abdomen, as well as the endocrine system. In addition, obesity can be a result of an underlying health issue such as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroids glands in the body do not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. This can lead to a person becoming overweight. A more worrisome contrast to being obese is developing diabetes. Diabetes can become a life threatening disease if not treated properly. Type two diabetes occurs in individuals who overweight. Diabetes threatens many areas in the human body. A common way to stay healthy in the case of Type two diabetes is to maintain a healthy diet, take all medications on time, and exercise to try and lose the excess weight that is rendering an individual obese.

As stated in the article written by Bostock-Cox "People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) and being overweight following a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes will increase the risk of poor control and future complications.1 Management of obesity is therefore central to the prevention of diabetes and its complications." The detrimental effect that obesity will have on one's stomach is overeating. Overeating stretched the stomach muscles out, making it larger and more spacious than it was before. This proves to be dire because it is the beginning of a cycle. An individual who has subjected the body to overeating, therefore stretching out the stomach will as a result always need to eat more in order to feel full. Furthermore, the cycle continues. A health intervention is required to stop the overeating process, and assist the individual. For example, a simple change in diet of eating protein rich foods such as nuts, fish, and beans will aid the person in becoming fuller faster, without the self-detrimental process of overeating. Another more evasive of aiding in fixing the health issue of overeating and stretching the stomach out is to have a gastric bypass done. This surgery is very complex and dangerous There is a chance of death along with other less gruesome casualties that accompany this surgery. Either side effects of this surgery include, the staples coming loose, ulcers and anemia. What the surgery entails is the stomach being cut into two different sections, an upper section, and a lower section. The small intestines are then connected to the two sections in such a way that most of the food will go into the smaller upper pouch and the rest of it will bypass the stomach, therefore their body will have less absorption of calories and food. In short, the stomach is made smaller so it will hold less food. If this surgery is done successfully, it can save the stomach from the adverse harm that obesity has on it. In the long run, the surgery is indeed helping the person as well as their body.

In retrospect, obesity comes with many negative factors. According to the research that was conducted, there are several positives factors when it comes to obesity healthwise. These include a faster recovery when having a heart transplant, and higher survival rates when cancer and heart failure is involved. Obesity does weigh heavily on an individual's overall health, affecting the blood vessels, stomach and heart as well. Obesity has been proven to have negative effects on individuals when it comes to personal body image and depression. Also, obesity has an adverse effect on a person's lifestyle, by hindering an individual from feeling comfortable to interact socially. In addition, it can lead to simple issues that are related to not being in shape. Obesity is a disease that is the best address and handles with care and helping someone overcome obesity should be done in the same manner. While obesity is not something that anyone should look down on and turn their nose up to, it does have numerous health risks and negative aspects associated with it.