The Link Between Emotions and Obesity: According To Studies

Link Between Emotions Obesity

Do you know obesity kills more people than underweight? Yes, this is the scenario in countries where most of the world population lives. Read on to know the relationship between emotions and obesity. 

Worldwide obesity has almost tripled since 1975 according to the World Health Organization. It is affecting adults, children, and teenagers. In 2016, 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight and 13% were obese. In 2019, 38 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese.

Do you think overweight equals obesity?

Before understanding, if being overweight is the same as being obese, let’s get something straight. 

First, why do we need fat? Fat or adipose tissue is very important for our normal body function. Without fat, our body will not get the energy that we need to live. Also, fat is a carrier of different vitamins and supports its absorption in the intestine. Act as messengers and help proteins and nutrients to do their job as well as protect various body organs.

There is a relentless cycle of creation and destruction of fat cells in our bodily system but our body maintains a fixed number of fat cells mainly during adolescence but growth in number can also occur in adulthood.   

Secondly – What does overweight and obese means

1. Overweight in simple terms is “excess of body weight,” and is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) above 25. 

2. But, obese is referred to “excess of fat” and is defined as having a body mass index over 30 

BMI is the formula used to assess body weight in relation to height. A simple index of weight-for-height gives a measure of your body composition. BMI is found to be an effective predictor of body fat but doesn’t directly measure body fat. 

As you can see overweight and obesity labels for BMI (or ranges of weight) are greater than what is considered to be healthy for a given height. 

A person can become overweight at any age but the timings may vary for men and women. Most women who are overweight gain their excess weight after puberty and may be caused by oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause. 

Related: 6 Reasons You May Be Gaining Weight Unintentionally: The Science Behind Obesity

In men weight gain is associated with the transition from an active lifestyle at a young age to a sedentary lifestyle later. The excess weight may remain stable and decline after the age of 55-64 years.

Accumulation of fat in the body doesn’t always lead to obesity. 

No doubt fat makes a person heavier. But the amount of fat present in the body may not be reflected in a person’s overall weight. From an anatomical perspective muscle mass decreases with the increase in fat. So, even if the number of pounds you weigh increases, it cannot measure or predict the fat in your body. 

Just like an increase in weight doesn’t indicate a fat look, losing weight also doesn’t mean a skinny look

How does one become obese?

In adults, adipose tissue or fat is a loose cluster of lipid-filled cells called adipocytes. Lipids are a group of fat and fat-like substances including cholesterol. When fat cells are filled with lipids they grow and become larger than the original size. When adipocytes reach a critical size, other young and unspecialized cells in our body turn into more fat cells. 

As a result of this process, the number of fat cells increases. Whether the fat cells increase in size or increase in number, both mechanisms increase our weight making us obese. There is no way we can get rid of fat cells, but you can shrink them.

Related: Weight Bias in Healthcare: The Truth About Obesity

The number of fat cells remains almost the same when you reach adulthood. But as you put on weight, the fat cells enlarge in size and shrink when we lose weight. Remember that weight loss means a reduction in the volume of fat and not the number of fat cells. 

So, if you don’t want to become overweight or obese, your goal should be preventing the accumulation of fat cells. 

Researchers found that people aren’t worried about their body weight, but their body image, body shape, and appearance. Everyone wants to look beautiful and dress up in an impressive way. 

Unfortunately, the accumulation of fat in some parts of the body ruins that “perfect figure” concept that you have created in your mind. Someone with excess fat at the sides of the waist or hanging over the top of pants becomes undesirable. So, such people tend to lose weight in the quest to gain that perfect figure. 

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