Obesity, genetic, epidemic and coronavirus COVID-19

Mis à jour : 3 août 2020

Obesity is the condition of overweight. When the Body Mass index BMI of a person is more than 30, then the person can be classified as obese or overweight. The person’s weight due to fat mass is more then it leads to obesity.

There is an obesity epidemic running across all of the industrialized nations throughout the world.

Obesity is when your body has too much fat. Obesity can cause a lot of damage to your body. People with severe obesity are more likely to have other diseases. These include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and many more. Combined with obesity, these diseases may lead people to have a lower quality of health. In some cases, these can lead to disability or early death.

The main reason for obesity, I would say in a word “stress”.

There are many different stressful situations in people’s life.

People who are stressed through being violated and /or face injustices for example bullying may eat to overcome the stress and return the body to resting metabolism or close to resting metabolism. Digestion is facilitated with the same part of the nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system. So eating something will give relief.

There are various factors responsible for obesity. The factors are:

1. Dietary habits: When a person is eating too much, he tends to put on weight easily. The diet containing high sugar or refined sugar and fat also leads to obesity. It is because when the energy or Calorie consumed is more than the energy utilized, then the extra calories are stored in the form of glycogen and fats in liver and adipocytes respectively.

2. Genetic factors: Many people are inherited with obesity. This is because of certain genes which may play a role in hunger regulation, fat metabolism. Genes such as Leptin, Thrifty genes etc. are the cause of obesity. Leptin suppresses the hunger, but if the gene is not functioning properly, then the person ease to eat more.

3. Endocrine factors: As the name suggests, it depends on the hormonal levels. Certain hormones affect person. The thyroid is one of them. When Thyroid hormone levels are too low (i.e. the case of hypothyroidism) then the person would have very low BMR. Hence the person would gain more weight.

4. Physical activity: The lifestyle of the person is one of the major factors responsible for obesity. A person living a sedentary life are often obese. This is because of lack of physical activity needed to eliminate the excess the calorie consumed. Also, people who sleep for longer hours are obese due to low Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR.

5. Environmental factors: Surrounding environment affects the lifestyle of a person and thus indirectly effects the person metabolism. People living in urban areas tend to have low physical activity due to use of technology and lack of time. This leads to obesity among the urban people.

6. Psychological condition: It is difficult to say what effect psychological conditions have on obesity. People who are stressed and depressed tend to eat less and thus lose weight. However, there are many people who tend to eat more under stressed conditions. This would lead to increase in the body weight of that person.

Side effects of obesity:

1. Diabetes.

2. Hypertension.

3. Reproductive health problems (infertility).

4. Social problems.

5. Psychological problems.

6. Sleep apnea.

7. Cardiovascular diseases.

8. Lethargicness.

9. Reduction in the metabolism of other cells near to adipocytes.

10. Osteoarthritis.

Shallow breathing,

Shallow breathing affect heart rate because the heart and lungs are two parts of one system. With shallow breathing the heart rate is reduced slightly. This in turn reduces their metabolism so they may be less active. Added to that their body utilizes less of the food that they eat because of their lower energy requirements. Hence more of the food that they eat is converted to fats and stored. Thus they put on weight.

Addiction to food Very briefly a concealed threat is used so that the person experiences high emotional reactivity in their body but as it is concealed they can’t appraise it properly.

Obesity has a far-ranging negative effect on health. Each year obesity-related conditions cost over 150 billion dollars and cause an estimated 300,000 premature deaths just in the US.

High blood pressure or hypertension

Additional fat tissue in the body needs oxygen and nutrients in order to live, which requires the blood vessels to circulate more blood to the fat tissue. This increases the workload of the heart because it must pump more blood through additional blood vessels. More circulating blood also means more pressure on the artery walls. Higher pressure on the artery walls increases the blood pressure. In addition, extra weight can raise the heart rate and reduce the body's ability to transport blood through the vessels.


Obesity is the major cause of type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes usually begins in adulthood but, is now actually occurring in children. Obesity can cause resistance to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. When obesity causes insulin resistance, the blood sugar becomes elevated. Even moderate obesity dramatically increases the risk of diabetes.

Obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can lead to:

· Amputations

· Heart disease

· Stroke

· Blindness

· Kidney disease

· High blood pressure

· Circulatory and nerve defects

· Hard-to-heal infections

· Impotence

· And more

Heart disease

Large studies show that the risk for heart disease increases with obesity. People with severe obesity are at a higher risk for coronary artery disease. This means they have a higher risk of a heart attack.

Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is present 10 times more often in obese people compared to those who are not obese. Coronary artery disease is also more prevalent because fatty deposits build up in arteries that supply the heart. Narrowed arteries and reduced blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. Blood clots can also form in narrowed arteries and cause a stroke.

Obesity may lead to high blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, and heart failure. And can cause sudden cardiac death and stroke. Because apnea episodes interrupt the normal sleep cycle, you may not reach restful sleep. This can lead to fatigue and drowsiness.

Joint problems, including osteoarthritis

Obesity can affect the knees and hips because of the stress placed on the joints by extra weight. Joint replacement surgery, while commonly performed on damaged joints, may not be an advisable option for an obese person because the artificial joint has a higher risk of loosening and causing further damage.

Sleep apnea and respiratory problems Sleep apnea

Which causes people to stop breathing for brief periods, interrupts sleep throughout the night and causes sleepiness during the day. It also causes heavy snoring. Respiratory problems associated with obesity occur when added weight of the chest wall squeezes the lungs and causes restricted breathing. Sleep apnea is also associated with high blood pressure.

Cancer In women, being overweight contributes to an increased risk for a variety of cancers including breast cancer, colon, gallbladder, and uterus. Men who are overweight have a higher risk of colon cancer and prostate cancers

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome as a complex risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome consists of six major components: abdominal obesity, elevated blood cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance with or without glucose intolerance, elevation of certain blood components that indicate inflammation, and elevation of certain clotting factors in the blood. In the US, approximately one-third of overweight or obese persons exhibit metabolic syndrome.

Psychosocial effects in a culture where often the ideal of physical attractiveness is to be overly thin, people who are overweight or obese frequently suffer disadvantages. Overweight and obese persons are often blamed for their condition and may be considered to be lazy or weak willed. It is not uncommon for overweight or obese conditions to result in persons having lower incomes or having fewer or no romantic relationships. Disapproval of overweight persons expressed by some individuals may progress to bias, discrimination, and even torment.

Thus if there is an idea presented to them mentally then they may mistakenly appraise their bodily reactivity as desire or attraction to the idea. So an idea of “I want another piece of cake”, will cause the person to feel strong desire to eat more cake. And repeated over and over the person gets caught in a snare.


Can also cause overweight problems and for the same reason as the shallow breathing problem mentioned before. A depressed metabolism will not require nor generate the normal amount of energy for everyday living. Hence the person become slower, more sedentary and if they eat the usual amount of food that they have eaten all their lives, then much of it will be converted to fats and stored.

Some depression is caused by the same foul games as in addiction, only here the ideas that are repeatedly presented in mind indicate some loss or some hopelessness or other conditions in their life. The person believes that they are memories so again end us in a snare.

Obesity increases your risk of heart failure. Severe obesity is associated with irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). These arrhythmias can triple the risk of cardiac arrest.

Respiratory Disorders

People with obesity have reduced lung capacity. These people are at higher risk for respiratory infections. They are more likely to have asthma and other respiratory disorders. Asthma has been shown to be three to four times more common among people with obesity

More than half of those affected by obesity have obstructive sleep apnea or OSA in cases of severe obesity, it is a very serious breathing disorder. OSA occurs when excess fat in the neck, throat, and tongue block air passageways during sleep. This blockage causes apnea, which means a person stops breathing for a time. A person with OSA may have hundreds of apnea episodes each night. Apnea episodes reduce the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood.

Obesity is a health condition that makes your everyday life difficult. Along with that, it is one of the top risk factors for many chronic diseases and illnesses. The excess body fat or weight makes the basic activity of movement, challenging.

Obesity is associated and is the root cause of many other diseases also which can also be fatal. Intensify, prolong any disease, and even make its treatment challenging. Some of the health risks associated with obesity are:

· Dyslipidemia (The high level of LDL cholesterol, low level of HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides.)


Low quality of life

Unstable mental health (diseases such as anxiety, and other mental illnesses)

Gall bladder disease

Obesity is also identified as a risk factor for CoVID-19 disease.

Obese and overweight people stand a higher risk of being under critical conditions due to the infection.

It was found in one of the studies that obese and overweight CoVID 19 patients under the age of 60 years were twice as likely as non-obese CoVID-19 patients of the same age group to be hospitalized and were 1.8 times as likely to be admitted into critical care.

Cure for obesity

There are different methods for curing the obesity. One of the hardest ways to cure obesity is to control diet. Obese people are quite fond of fatty food. Thus, they need to decrease such food and prefer plant based food which contains high dietary fiber.

Another way to cure obesity is to use drugs. Certain drugs which can inhibit the enzymatic activity of enzymes such as amylase and lipase can help in decreasing absorption of the food. But it has many side effects.

The third and commonly used nowadays is bariatric surgery. It involves removal of a certain portion of the gastrointestinal tract; especially small and large intestine. It would reduce the absorption of digested food and hence one reduces weight.

The treatment varies with the root cause and the severity of obesity. Obesity can be due to one of the following reasons:

· Genetically predisposed to be obese- for such cases it more WILLPOWER than TREATMENT! They will have to exercise vigorously and burn the fat in order to make their genes understand that unnecessary fat deposition is uncalled for! In extreme cases, they opt for liposuction surgery where in the fats are literally sucked out of your body. But it has severe secondary complications and can also lead to death.

· Eating disorder- Know what you are eating, how much (or less) you are eating, and how much (or less) you should be eating! Generally eating disorders are outcomes of psychological illnesses like depression and anxiety. So treating (counselling) the root cause can also save you from binge eating that leads to obesity!

· Thyroid gland malfunctioning - thyroid hormone is a key regulator of fat metabolism. It decides how much fat gets stored and where. So over or under-secretion of thyroid hormones can also lead to mismanagement of dietary fats. Addressing thyroid issues will eventually get you out of obesity.

In general, without any of the above, regular physical exercise and balanced diet should do enough to maintain your BMI

Further Readings:

1. Srilakshmi, B., 2006. Nutrition Science. New Age International.

2. Bender, D.A., 2014. Introduction to nutrition and metabolism. CRC Press.

3. Groff, J.L., Gropper, S.S. and Hunt, S.M., 2000. Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Belmont (CA): Wadsworth.

4. Thrifty gene hypothesis - Wikipedia

Bariatric Surgery Procedures – ASMBS | American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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