Overweight – Concept, causes and consequences

We explain what overweight is and what its main causes are. In addition, its consequences and differences with obesity.

Depending on the degree of overweight, health can be put at risk.

What is being overweight?

It is understood by overweight a continuous increase in body weight above certain patterns considered healthy and / or aesthetic, calculated from a Body Mass (CM) formula, which relates weight, height and height. Overweight people are those adults whose CM index exceeds the average between 18.5 and 24.9 points.

Depending on the degree of overweight we are talking about, people can put their health at risk, and even reach extreme levels, known as obesity. In this sense, being overweight may be a temporary condition, product of a vital conjuncture, or it can worsen progressively, but in general lines it is considered a symptom of certain ways of life and diet, if not of internal changes (hormonal or metabolic).

Despite the use of CM indexes, there is debate about the limits of what is considered healthy or not in terms of being overweight. It should be clarified that the risk factor is not so much weight as such but the volume of adipose (fatty) tissue present in the body. In this sense, other indices such as the ICC (Waist / Hip Index) seem to be more relevant to determine it.

In what seems to be uniformity of criteria, is that from a certain degree overweight begins to have harmful implications on health and it can become a problem to attack in the individual.

Above all, it is of care in crucial times of the physical, emotional and psychological development of the individual, such as children or adolescents, since they can leave an indelible mark on the individual’s personality and bring problems in the future.

Currently, 64% of the population of the United States (and other similar countries) is considered to be overweight or obese, and this figure is expected to increase in the following decades. It has already been considered a major public health problem.

Causes of being overweight

Sedentary lifestyle is one of the causes of being overweight.

Being overweight can have one or more causes, such as:

  • General trends due to genetic or hereditary factors.
  • Metabolic alterations resulting from congenital ailments or diseases.
  • Psychological or emotional disorders in food matters.
  • Too slow metabolisms due to very low hormonal secretion.
  • Metabolism disorders resulting from drugs or other substances for eventual consumption.
  • Extremely sedentary life and sustained poor diet.

Consequences of being overweight

Being overweight can cause hypertension, among other diseases.

Being overweight in itself is not a serious ailment, beyond the emotional or psychological damage that it can exert on the individual, as a result of its inadequacy to beauty standards that do not contemplate fat or that demonize it. However, there is a proven tendency in overweight people to develop secondary diseases, such as:

  • Mellitus diabetes.
  • Hypertension.
  • Cardiovascular diseases.
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hepatic cirrhosis.
  • Asthma.
  • Greater propensity for clotting problems.
  • Pancreatitis
  • Developmental delay in children and adolescents.
  • Decreased fertility.

Overweight and obesity

Obesity is a serious extreme of being overweight.

Although overweight and obesity are not synonymous, it can be considered that the second is a serious and more complicated end of being overweight. In the most common evaluation of overweight, four degrees of the condition are usually distinguished, which are:

  • Overweight. Between 25 and 29.9 points of BMI.
  • Mild obesity Between 30 and 34.9 points of BMI.
  • Medium obesity. Between 35 and 39.9 points of BMI.
  • Morbid obesity. Between 40 and more BMI points.

If being overweight can be associated in the long run with diseases and ailments, obesity is almost a guarantee of suffering them, and fighting it usually involves various aspects of the person’s life, from the psychological and emotional, to the physical and nutritional.