There are many factors leading to obesity. Most commonly an excessive food intake, lack of physical activity and genetic predisposition are present. Food composition, especially a diet containing high levels of sugar or a generally unbalanced diet, rich in carbohydrate and fat, plays an important role. In recent years many other contributing factors have been identified. One example is the microbiome. The microbiome represents all bacterial and fungal species that we can find as normal parts of our intestinal flora. These species play an important role in the digestion of food and vitamins and are mandatory for our body. However the composition of this microbiome varies in between individuals. Recent findings have shown, that there are differences in the composition of this microbiome in healthy non obese and obese patients. Furthermore in obese patients metabolic and humoral (i.e. hormones that are produced in the gut) changes have been found. These changes might partially explain, why a long lasting weight loss is very difficult to achieve without surgery.
What is obesity?
Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health (WHO-definition). As Overweight or obesity are rather vague terms, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined obesity categories based on the BMI (Body Mass Index).
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Why is obesity dangerous?
Obesity is commonly seen as a mainly aesthetic problem. Many obese persons telling that they feel well and are completely healthy might underline this view. Sadly obesity is not a healthy condition! Many diseases are strongly associated with obesity. The most important is certainly Type 2 Diabetes mellitus.
How to treat obesity
Obesity is caused by multiple factors. Therefore there is not one simple fix that might cure it. Simple diets might work for a certain time and might in some cases deliver impressive short time results. The goal of an optimal obesity treatment should be focused on long term weight loss, prevention of secondary weight regain and resolution of obesity associated comorbidities.