Obesity is the leading cause of preventable death in the world. According to recent statistics, approximately a quarter of all Americans are considered obese (BMI >30). In the surrounding towns of Waterbury the data is very similar. In Litchfield County the obesity rate is lower than the national average at 20.2% and in New Haven County it is at the national average of 25.2%. This means in these two counties alone there are over 250,000 people classified as obese and almost 150,000 who are severely obese with BMIs > 35.
Simply put, obesity occurs when an individual consumes more calories than he burns. We need calories in order to live, but if a person eats more calories on a daily basis than they use up, the energy imbalances leads to weight gain and obesity. Each person has his own metabolic rate that influences their energy balance. There are other things that may play a role in obesity including, genetics, environmental and cultural factors, and some diseases.
Obesity tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic cause. Because families tend to share many of the same lifestyle choices it is difficult to link someone’s obesity directly to genetics.
Environmental factors play a major role in obesity. Over the last two decades obesity rates have skyrocketed in the United States. Our population and its genetics have not changed, but our lifestyle including eating habits, exercise patterns, and economic status have.
Americans have migrated to eating high-calorie, easy to obtain, tasty, cheap foods. We exercise less and eat “takeout” more. Preparing and eating healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables take more time and tend to cost more money.
In some cultures, we see high fat, high salt, and large quantities of foods offered at each meal. This may play a role in one’s ability to lose weight.
There are several diseases that may play a role in obesity. It is important that you discuss your medical history when you meet with our surgeons. Also, some medications may lead to weight gain or make it difficult to lose weight.
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Polycystic ovary syndrome