Obesity is a growing health concern amongst the elderly. The impact of obesity on older adults needs to be addressed because it may cause your loved ones to develop very serious health issues. Around 33% of American adults suffer from obesity, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Let’s explore the reasons obesity is so prevalent in the country, along with some common risks of obesity that may concern your loved one.
What Is Obesity?
The body takes in nutrients from the food we consume, but the nutrients that don’t get used as energy for our everyday activities will be stored as fat. Our fat cells grow bigger when we gain weight because the extra lipids are not burnt off. The lipids would be kept in the fat cell, expanding it. When you have a dangerous excess of fat, that’s when obesity kicks in.
Adipose tissue is a critical endocrine organ that helps to regulate metabolism and store fat. The tissue can be found around organs, acting as a cushion to guard them against physical injuries. Adipose tissue sends and receives messages through hormones to communicate with the brain. Too much adipose tissue in the body impairs this communication process. Health issues such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, or cardiovascular disease may arise, and your loved one could be stricken by any of these illnesses through obesity.
So What Causes Obesity?
So what leads to obesity? The illness could be a result of a few factors: socioeconomic background, genetics, stress-eating, mental health issues, and inactivity.
- Socioeconomic Background
Socioeconomic background plays a big part in an individual’s diet. People with smaller incomes may not have enough time or spend enough to buy healthy, unprocessed food at the supermarkets. Hence, they might tend to consume cheap and quick high-calorie foods. You can encourage your loved ones to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits, which also do not cost a lot.
Genetics is one of the main causes of obesity. A family that has a history of obesity could be the reason a loved one has a higher risk of becoming obese too. Certain lifestyle practices and environmental factors increase the risk of obesity too, of course.
- Lack of Activity
Being physically inactive can cause obesity. Encourage your loved one to exercise so they can burn calories, simultaneously keeping the heart and lungs healthy. Excess adipose tissue hardens and tightens the arteries, causing the cardiovascular system to be weak.
Many stress-eat when going through difficult times. But this isn’t a healthy way to cope with stress because what you actually thought was a one-time cheat could prolong for days, weeks or months if your stress isn’t managed properly. Stress-eating can evolve into a bad habit and cause your loved one to add more pounds to his or her weight.
- Mental Health Issues
Mental health illnesses like depression can also make your loved one to gain excess weight. Inactivity means producing a lower serotonin level, and this can cause depression. Low self-esteem can also be a result of obesity. Your loved one may feel helpless if he believes he can’t change his appearance because of obesity.