Obesity And Health Disparities

In medical terms, obesity is termed as a complex, chronic disease characterised by excessive body fat (adiposity) that affects health. Obesity may affect every aspect for individual’s health, mental status and physiology; and is said to stimulate the risks for numerous diseases. People who are obese are more likely to have the risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, gall bladder disease, dementia, as well as cancer.

Scientific research have revealed that gaining weight varies from person to person but include varied biological & genetic factors, social factors which in turn are influenced by health disparities. Social- economic factors such as income, housing, education, lifestyle, family status, and advertising & publicity impacts have a big influence on obesity. However, the predominant driver of all these parameters is the consumption of food that develop obesity. Nutrition, along with physical activity determine the risk of developing obesity. We need to understand as to what we need to eat to keep ourselves fit and healthy, since it actually plays a vital role in developing obesity and disparities in health.

As it’s been stated that obesity develops from inherited, physiological and environmental factors, along with diet, exercise etc. Obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through normal daily activities and exercise. As a result, your body stores these excess calories as fat. However, a healthier diet combined with regular exercise help to lose weight and thereby prevent problems associated with obesity. Further, proper medications and weight-loss methods with strict diet are additional ways to treat the problem of obesity. Obesity may develop in adults as well as in children.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is often used to measure obesity. Asian people with BMI of 23 or greater may have an increased risk of health problems. For most people, BMI provides a proper estimate of body fat, however, for athletes and sports people BMI doesn’t give a perfect measure. Their BMI may be higher but they may do not have excess fat. Sometimes, doctors measure the waistline to determine the obesity and accordingly help with the treatment. It is seen that men with a waist circumference of over 40 inches (102 cm) and women with waist circumference over 35 inches (89 cm) are most likely to call obese.


Risk factors

Obesity usually occurs from a combination of different causes and factors such as:

1.Family inheritance and influences: Genes which is inherited from parents may affect the body fat stored. Genetics also plays a role in how your body regulates your appetite and how much calories is burnt during physical activity. This is because family members do have same eating and activity habits.

2.Lifestyle choices:

(a) Unhealthy diet – High calorie diet without fruits and vegetables, fast food contribute to weight gain.

(b) Liquid intake-Consuming alcohol, high calorie beverages like soft drinks can bring about an increase in weight gain.

(c) Inactivity- Long hours of desktop jobs with computer can put extra weight to your body. The number of hours spent in front of a screen is highly associated with weight gain.

3.Certain diseases and medications: Medical problems, such as arthritis, also can lead to decreased activity, as a result you may develop obesity. Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don’t compensate through diet or activity. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers.

4.Social and economic issues: Many a times it’s seen that social and economic factors are linked to obesity. You may develop obesity if you don’t have a proper place for walking or doing regular exercise. Similarly, cooking healthy food or consuming healthy food is important. Under-employment or poverty also plays a key role in driving obesity and poor health.

5.Age: Though obesity can occur at any age, the hormonal changes and less active lifestyle, as you grow up increase the risk of obesity. In addition, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease with age. These changes also reduce calorie needs and can make it harder to keep off excess weight. As such, you need to manage as what you are eating which will put a stop to gaining weight.


Other factors

1.Pregnancy – Weight gain is common during pregnancy. This weight gain may likely to contribute to the development of obesity in women.

2.Lack of sleep – Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can cause obesity because changes in hormones increase appetite. As such, your craving for food will increase resulting in weight gain.

3.Stress – Continuous stressful situations can bring the risk of obesity.

4.Microbiome – Your gut bacteria are affected by what you eat and may increase the risk of weight gain or difficulty in losing weight.



Obesity may develop but you must be cautious. So, if you face any symptoms of obesity, it is recommended to visit a specialist doctor and follow his advice along with proper diet, physical activity, exercise and maintaining healthy lifestyles.



Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.