Obesity is characterized by excessive storage of fat in the adipose tissue resulting from excess consumption of food.  Obesity can occur at any age in either sex. Its incidence is higher in people who consume large quantities of food, especially processed foods, and lead sedentary lives. Among women, obesity is liable to occur after pregnancy and at menopause. A woman usually gains at least 30 lbs of weight during pregnancy due to an increase in the adipose tissue which serves as a store for the demands of lactation.

Obesity is a serious health hazard because the extra weight places a strain on the heart, kidneys, and liver as well as stressing the large weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees and ankles. This can ultimately shorten a person's lifespan. It has been said, ‘the longer the belt, the short the life.’

Overweight people are susceptible to several diseases like coronary thrombosis, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, gout and liver and gallbladder disorders.

The chief cause of obesity is overeating and the consumption of foods with little or no nutritional value such as processed and prepackaged foods high in sugars sodium and bad fats. There has been an increase of awareness in the psychological aspects of obesity. People who are generally bored, unhappy, lonely or unloved, as well as those who are discontented with their families, social or financial standing, tend to overeat to alleviate their discomfort and find solace.

Obesity is sometimes also the result of disturbances in the thyroid or pituitary glands. However, glandular disorders account for only about two percent of the total incidence of obesity. In such people, the basal metabolism rate is low or dysfunctional.


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