It often happens that two people with the same height and weight may look differently. The reason of this lays in the different body composition. It is one of the most important signs of physical development and health state of the human being. Body composition depends on gender, height, food and heredity. It can be assessed in terms of mass composition and atomic composition. If we review the two-component model based on mass composition, body is subdivided into fat and lean, sometimes called fat-free, components. When you here the term fat mass, it doesn’t always foresee excessive weight or health problems. Minimum amount of fat is essential for proper functioning of the body: metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins, insulation of body organs, and support of chemical reactions. Main components of lean mass are water, muscles, bones, tendons, various types of tissue. There are a number of methods, based on two-component body composition, that have been developed to assess the optimal body composition, such as: bioelectrical impedance analysis, skinfolds etc.
The risk of different types of diseases increases, once the body composition gradually deviates from the optimal numbers. Nowadays, the problem of obesity, increase of body mass due to excess of body fat in the body, beats all records. Obesity carries in itself a couple of problems: esthetical, psychological (may lead to depression, binge-eating), restriction of activity and the last, but not the least is health problems. Obesity, depending on its stage, leads to diseases of following body systems: cardiovascular (hypertension, pulmonary heart, varicose, etc.), nervous (stroke), musculoskeletal (stiffness of movements, arthritis, and pain in spine), respiratory (shortness of breath, fatigue, obstructive sleep apnea), gastrointestinal (fatty liver, gallstones, hernias), etc..
The main reason that leads to obesity is the power imbalance in the organism. This can be caused by lack of physical activity and systematic overeating. In ancient times people were forced to hard exercise, in order to assure safety and get the food. Nowadays, majority of people are not motivated to work physically and will gladly choose sedentary lifestyle, if this is an option. In addition, it has been proven by nutritional research that people tend to each the same amount of food every day, but the amount of calories can differ. As in the modern world we have access to a variety of high-calorie food, people tend to overeating, which in its turn, as it has already been mentioned, leads to obesity.
Genetics is another factor that might lead to obesity. Body constitution, amount of fat cell, redistribution of fat, metabolism, and development of lean mass- all this is genetically inherent. It is hard to, and almost impossible, to change the genetics, although it can be shifted to one or another side under the influence of environment or balanced nutrition and physical activity. Also it was proven that women tend to be more exposed to the obesity problem than man. This can be simply explained by the extra amount of fat in women’s bodies that is needed for child-breeding. Moreover, females tend to gain a couple of kilograms after the labor.
Although people of different ages are constantly under the threat of influence, elder ones tend to suffer from this medical condition more. This is caused by decreased physical activity, decrease in metabolism, hormonal changes, etc. Other factors that contribute to obesity are: family lifestyle, quitting smoking, society and economy, medications along with diseases, lack of sleep, etc..
The reason, why there are so many information, articles, observations, methods of diagnosis as well as treatment of obesity, is that society is obsessed with an idea of slimness and fitness. Such a worldwide trend has a great psychological influence on people’s minds, especially on teens. All these lead to development of eating disorders like: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. In simple words anorexia nervosa is psychological condition caused by fear of gaining weight that leads to starvation. Bulimia nervosa – is a condition characterized by secret binging with further vomiting and heavy exercises. On the contrary with previous two disorders, binge eating is characterized by excessive, uncontrolled eating. There are quite a few complications caused by eating disorders: death, organ failure, depression, bone loss, drug and alcohol abuse, fertility problems, anemia, etc.
So to put all this is in a nut shell, I need to state that our organism is a fragile system that undergoes stress caused by the environment every day. And our main aim is to protect it from the harm that can be induced by us. The rule of golden mean should be followed by each of us in order to keep ourselves fit and healthy.
Wells, J.C.K., Fewtrell, M. S. (2006). Measuring body composition. Retrieve from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2082845/