Some people call it excessively fat. Others call it overweight. Doctors may call it obese. For politicians and statisticians, obesity is a broad problem, though perhaps, too broad. In the past 40 years, weight-loss surgeries have greatly expanded as a medical specialization to help reduce obesity. They are costly interventions and very profitable. It is surprising that research has been published demonstrating that Obesity Surgery improves brain functioning. Some of the researchers were bariatric surgeons. In a culture where obesity and diseases are threatening longevity, is surgery a viable quick-fix solution?
Is being overweight a result of age, genetics, or lifestyle? Studies show some life-threatening diseases are associated with being overweight. According to the Center for Disease Control, a USA government agency, degrees of being overweight and obesity is more pervasive. Obesity is definitely not merely age related. Invasive surgical techniques (bariatric) are being advertised as treatments. Insurances cover procedures for certain obese levels. Obesity has been linked as possible causes for many diseases. On August 26 2014, a new study examining bariatric surgery was published inferring that obesity Surgery improves brain functioning. It may reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer Disease symptoms. Many of the diseases, purportedly tied to weight and obesity, may be sourced from other origins.
Obesity has been associated to diabetes and circulatory diseases. A new endocrinology study shows Changes in Neuropsychological Tests and Brain Metabolism After Bariatric Surgery may reduce brain circulation problems that associate with heart, organ, and brain conditions, including Alzheimer Disease symptoms.
There may be over 78 million people classified as obese or very overweight in the USA, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s near one-third of the country’s population.
The most common way to find out whether you’re overweight or obese is to figure out your body mass index (BMI). BMI is an estimate of body fat, and it’s a good gauge of your risk for diseases that occur with more body fat. Few physicians rely on BMI but use weight on scales to diagnose obesity and the BMI debate seems to question the diagnosis. BMI may not be accurate as a reliable diagnostic tool.
One mode of measurement has been gaining popularity to determine obesity is waist circumference measurements. Men with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches and women with a circumference of more than 35 inches are at a higher risk for developing obesity-related conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
I often comment about how many men use pants with sizes less than 40″ beneath their belly, that might actually be substantially over 40 inches. The maximum waist size of most standard pants sold is up to 42 inches. Beyond that, men must buy “big-size” pants from a specialty source. Women must resort to Plus-size clothing for sizes beyond extra-large parameters. Many squeeze into standard sizes resulting in pain and (possibly) organic problems.
Measuring obesity in women may also require waist and hip sizes but, often, Waist Hip Ratio (WHR) may be a poor obesity marker. Unlike waist circumference, WHR is not necessarily a measure of absolute abdominal fat mass. It is, however, a measure of abdominal fat relative to lower body mass. As such, a relatively lean individual could theoretically have the same WHR as an obese individual.
Two imaging techniques are now considered to be the most accurate methods for measuring tissue, organ, and whole-body fat mass as well as lean muscle mass and bone mass. These help indicate how obesity is affecting your body. While obesity is impacting radiology departments throughout the country, many overweight peopl3e do not fit into these machines.
Yet statisticians set the standards for obesity and how many people are actually very fat. When it comes to overweight, the numbers are staggering high.
Exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes are being weighed to discuss obesity control. A surgical procedure called Bariatric Surgery is becoming more popular for those people who are very obese. It is an invasive surgery geared for people who have tried other ways of losing weight and size to help move out of the clinical obesity ranges. Few studies have examined long-term efficiency of surgical methods and obesity. Yet, the large initial weight loss is associated with reducing risks on related diseases. The researchers of the recent obesity study and brain association are affiliated with a bariatric surgery group. More people are electing bariatric surgery as a means of weight control and image improvement. Does it work?
Weight loss surgery is not even close to the solution for obesity. Whether it is liposuction that vacuums the fat from certain areas, or bariatric surgery that reduces the capacity to eat, neither guarantees permanent weight loss. Many regain any weight lost and several still are threatened with diabetes and circulatory diseases. Obesity, however, is not always linked to high blood levels of cholesterol that may contribute to plaque in arteries and veins that might cause heart and brain diseases. As for incidence of neurocognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease, there’s very little conclusive evidence that directly relate obesity to the incidence of memory disorders. Basically, weight loss surgery is a tool but not a clear solution to solving obesity.
Bariatric surgery can help a 300 pound person become 200 pounds. Prospective patients should not anticipate moving from a size 26 to a size 8 for social and psychological reasons. Those that do, are far from average. They are highly motivated at maintaining long-term lifestyle changes post-surgically. Most do not experience radical differences in appearance. It may be those changes that help improve certain fat-related conditions. Bariatric surgery may help by reducing food storage capacity. Sticking to strict diets will help prevent and reduce problems like vomiting and nausea by exceeding capacity.
Typically, Bariatric Surgery costs are around $20,000 to $30,000. This may not include hospital and anesthesia fees. Many health insurance companies will pay some costs if obesity is directly linked to heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and a few others. In a world where loss of memory is a great fear, it is obvious that bariatric surgeons research and conclude that results may dramatically reduce incidence of memory loss. That, too, may be insurable.
Numerous conditions, diseases, and ailments may lead to weight gain and, possibly, obesity. Aging means loss of lean muscle and gain of fat, as a natural progression. Some say longevity may be related to fat among older people. Also, hypothyroidism, Cushing Syndrome, and mood disorders may be medical reasons for obesity. Common arthritis and fibromyalgia may result in obesity due to experiential pain with movement. Any disorder affecting mobility may add pounds.
Statistics also don’t take consideration of varieties of height, bone sizes, and muscular width as possible reasons that define obesity. A man at 77 inches tall may naturally have a 40″ waist and not be obese. Standards for men show 40″ waist as borderline obese.
Barring disease, natural size variations, and statistical errors, lifestyles following conscient9ious diets and active lifestyles may, over years, help people stay trimmer.
TV is part of a sedentary activity that thwarts any diet. Children eat more snacks when watching TV. Watching action shows may promote mindless snacking. A small study at Cornell University binds TV content with snacking. Streams of Binge watching TV may also promote snacking appetites. Long terms of TV watching may be one leading cause of weight gain.
Sitting in offices or working on computers for extended lengths may increase weight and hip sizes. The condition is Sitting Disease and it may contribute to larger hip sizes throughout years of seated work. This may contribute to an obese appearance. The cure is more standing, walking, and stretching throughout the day.
A common misconception among those people in normally acceptable weight ranges is that weight gain is quick. It isn’t. It’s a gradual process where aging, genetics, and lifestyles form a complex network. Other than laundry shrinkage, your clothes are getting tighter because muscles are becoming less lean with age. It is referred as Sarcopenia but is relatively normal and effects vary among individuals. According to an article in WebMD:
People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you will still experience some muscle loss.
The causes of Sarcopenia process are varied and some research points to calibrations in homeostasis that are normal in the aging body. More research is targeting this area. Yet small studies among seniors demonstrate that lean muscle may be gained with routine daily activity.
Weight gain is a normal aging process and vigilant activity may slow it down. No activity over decades beyond age 30 could lead to obesity and all those partner symptoms that reduce longevity. Ironically, at some ages, weight loss at older ages can contribute to higher mortality rates.
Obesity has existed throughout history. In art, many images from centuries ago depict fatter people. There are few remnants to predict or trace their longevity. Fat is normal. Obesity was common.
Of all the wisdom and variances, moderate diet and moderate activity (walking at brisk pace 30 minutes per day) is likely to stave off obesity among people over 45. Whether it improves brain function or longevity is in need of further examination.
For the majority of the population, more sedentary times and availability/marketing of snack foods help accelerate the fat accumulation associated with Sarcopenia and poor habits. Fighting obesity within a normal population is a painfully slow process. There are no quick-fix solutions. Bariatric surgeries and plastic surgeries are valuable but only tools. Reversing the habits we’ve acquired in the modern and digital ages is as difficult and impossible as smokers and alcoholics succeed in fighting their addictions. Successes are very small.
Barring medical reasons, the growth rates associated with obesity is the end-product of 70 years of snacking and technology that are integral parts of living. Learning to add exercise and food management routines early in life may likely curb obesity levels. Whether one can follow through these skills and habits throughout life’s stresses, adversities, and progressions is a big question mark. We may never look like fashion models. Obesity rates are natural and (theoretically) can be controlled easily. For most, however, starting and following-through may be a Herculean task in a society that stresses snacks and seated activities as a comforting lifestyle.
It takes very little effort each day to battle obesity and possibly suppress any life-threatening conditions that obesity may be linked with. There is no quick fix. Barring genetics, there is no turning back the clock of age. As a long term goal, balancing obesity and health is a habit to target at ages when most don’t think about it.
Gaining weight is as natural as gravity. Gravity is a constant. As we seek to conquer gravity, the perpetual efforts to battle the influences of obesity and weight gain are within the grasp of most people at any age. In this case, memory and remembering are important factors. Weight loss surgeries don’t necessarily help in the long run.