Many people weigh more than they should. Doctors call them overweight. When a person is extremely fat, doctors call the condition obesity. Anyone who is about 15 or more pounds heavier than his desirable weight is considered overweight. People who are more than 30 or 40 pounds
heavier than they should be are considered obese.
Desirable weight is an individual thing. It may be described as the weight at which a person both looks and feels his best. Desirable weight also depends on a person’s height, bone structure, and muscular development.
Because no two people are alike, weight tables cannot show with complete accuracy exactly what every individual should weigh. The tables shown here are given as a guide rather than as a rigid standard to which everyone should conform. They show desirable weights for men and women at age 25 and over. By this age, most people have stopped growing. After a person is fully grown and has reached his best weight, he should not gain or lose much for the rest of his life. It used to be considered inevitable and normal for people to get heavier toward middle age. Authorities know now that gaining weight is not a normal part of getting older. It is not healthful, and not necessary
Children and young adults who are still growning rapidly cannot measure themselves accurately against a table of averages. Physical growth takes place at such widely different rates in different individuals that two healthy young persons, several years different in age, may measure the same in any one or more body dimension. For example, it is not unusual to find a boy of 10 and a boy 15 who weigh the same. Doctors generally agree that a simple record of height and weight should be kept for each child. Too great a gain in height or weight, or failure to gain, over a period of several months, is a signal to see a physician.
Overweight is a danger signal, particularly for those over 40 years of age. Studies of life- insurance figures show that overweight persons are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other life- shortening conditions earlier, and to die younger, than persons whose weight is normal. Persons who are overweight make poor surgical risks, and have lowered resistance to infection.
Life is much easier in many ways for persons who are not too fat. They usually feel and look better. They are likely to live longer. They tend to suffer less from backaches, foot troubles, fatigue, and other discomforts. Normal weight is worth any effort it takes to reach and keep it- worth it in terms of everyday comfort and of a healthier, longer life.
Most people are fat simply because they eat too much. This does not necessarily mean that they stuff themselves with large quantities of food. It does mean that they take in more calories than their bodies can use. A calorie is a measure of the heat energy which the body can get from a certain amount of food. It is often surprisingly easy to take in too many calories, particularly for a person who has poor eating habits.
Some people blame their overweight on metabolism or on glands. In a few cases, poorly functioning glands contribute to overweight. But even then, the overweight patient under a physician’s treatment for glandular disorders can lose weight when his food intake is regulated.
What many people do not realize, however, is that the body’s energy requirements usually change after age 30 or 40. As a person gets older, their metabolism slows down and they need fewer calories to maintain their weight. The trouble is that eating habits usually stay exactly the same, while physical activity often decreases in middle age.
Some people blame heredity for overweight. Heredity does determine the type of body build a person has, and their glandular structure. But when persons from overweight families change their eating habits, it has been proved that they, too, can lose weight.
Only a physician has the necessary skill and equipment to decide how much, how fast, and with what treatment a person should lose weight. He will study your physical condition, degree of overweight, and individual living habits in order to work out an effective, safe reducing plan. What benefits one person may harm another. Therefore, you should undertake a reducing program only under medical supervision.
Anyone who really wants to get rid of excess pounds can do it. Many people have with determination and persistence. Desire and will power are a must in any weight loss program.
If you do see medical help they may tell you that obesity is 20 percent or more over weight and is classified into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe. Mild obesity in 20 to 40 percent, moderate is 41 to 91 percent, and severe obesity is 100 percent or more over weight.
There are many ways to get an idea about how much overweight you are but, they are however now accurate. Height-weight tables are the most widely used weight goals in the United States. The table is very easy to understand and use. Another one is body mass index also known as BMI. It has a direct and continuos relationship to morbidity and mortality in studies of large populations. It is harder to understand. It is also a more sensitive indicator than the height-weight tables.
Awake or asleep, the body needs energy for every breath, every heartbeat, every activity of living. When a person eats only enough to supply the energy he uses, his weight stays the same. If they take in more calories than they need, their body takes it and store it as fat.
Reducing diets are based on one simple principle taking in fewer calories than needed, to force the body to use its stored fat.
As researchers try to figure out why some people get fat and others do not, it is becoming increasingly apparent that obesity has a variety of causes- heredity, environment, metabolism, and level of physical activity and as of the present moment there is no single cure.