In our recent podcast, we talk with Dr. Ivana Rizo about the relationship between obesity and diabetes.
According to Trust for America’s Health, the U.S. adult obesity rate stands at 42.4 percent. This is the first time the national rate has passed the 40 percent mark demonstrating further evidence of the country’s obesity crisis which has increased by 26 percent since 2008. Now we will go into what exactly is the definition of obesity.
What Is the Definition of Obesity
The definition of obesity is a weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a given height. This is usually measured by using the Body Mass Index. “It’s a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers” (Mayo Clinic).
What Causes Obesity
Many different causes can lead to obesity.
“Demographic trends and the conditions in people’s lives have a large impact on their ability to maintain a healthy weight. Generally, the data show that the more a person earns the less likely they are to have obesity. Individuals with less education were also more likely to have obesity. Rural communities have higher rates of obesity and severe obesity than do suburban and metro areas.
Socioeconomic factors such as poverty and discrimination have contributed to higher rates of obesity among certain racial and ethnic populations. Black adults have the highest level of adult obesity nationally at 49.6 percent; that rate is driven in large part by an adult obesity rate among Black women of 56.9 percent. Latinx adults have an obesity rate of 44.8 percent. The obesity rate for white adults is 42.2 percent. Asian adults have an overall 17.4 percent obesity rate” (Trust for America’s Health).
Other factors such as diet, lack of exercise, and genetics can also cause obesity. These factors can also aid in developing Type 2 diabetes along with other health conditions.
How Are Obesity and Diabetes related?
Also known as, diabesity, “Having obesity makes you more likely to develop diabetes, the condition of having too much glucose (sugar) circulating in your bloodstream. Obesity also causes diabetes to worsen faster” (Cleveland Clinic).
Not everyone with obesity will develop Type 2 diabetes, although it creates a greater risk. This is due to the excess glucose having nowhere to be stored because of the fat surrounding the liver. “Your pancreas becomes overworked, and as a result, it wears out. It starts producing less insulin. Diabetes develops and then quickly worsens if the fat resistance remains” (Cleveland Clinic).
What Are Ways to Help Prevent Obesity
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Reduce stress
- Limiting television/screen time
- Getting enough sleep
- Limit sugar
- Avoid processed foods
- Drink more water
Preventing obesity starts with creating a healthy lifestyle, such as, cooking at home, avoiding take-out food and sugary drinks. As an article by Very Well Health expresses, “Studies looking at the frequency of home meal preparation have found that both men and women who prepared meals at home were less likely to gain weight. They were also less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes” (very well Health). In other words making lifestyle changes can drastically reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
There are ways to prevent obesity and reverse type 2 diabetes. It all begins with living a healthy lifestyle and having a healthy relationship with food. Seeking education about nutrition, exercise and diseases can create greater awareness about the health condition. It is also a great way to help children learn about obesity and help them develop healthy relationships with food. It is always important to speak with a healthcare professional when seeking medical help or information. Regular physical activity, healthy eating, limiting unhealthy food options, and getting a good amount of sleep can greatly help the prevention of obesity and therefore Type 2 diabetes. There are resources available that can help such as local support groups or consulting with a dietitian.