The World Health Organization (WHO) within their fact report stated that in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of that same number, over 650 million adults were obese. That's quite an alarming and troubling fact. However, what is most troubling is the knowledge that if this trend continues, the World Obesity Federation (headquarters in London, UK) predicts that by 2025, 2.7 billion adults are expected to be overweight or suffer from obesity and that the global medical bill expected to treat such consequences is estimated to rise to $1.2 trillion (World Obesity Federation). Now, you can understand the reality that this problem is a growing global dilemma!

What really is overweight and obesity? What are their causes? Can overweight and obesity be prevented? Before I go in great detail as to the answers to the questions that were asked, do take a moment to look at this YouTube video so that you can gain a little bit of understanding about the serious nature of overweight and obesity on a global scale.

Obesity is a medical condition where excess body fat (over a period of time) has accumulated to the point where it becomes quite dangerous for your health. In comparison, being overweight is the condition of a person when that person has more fat within their body than what is "taught to be normal" for their height.

This question is worth asking: how much fat can be considered a normal amount of fat? This is where the Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement comes into play. The Body Mass Index was introduced in the early 19th century by a Belgian mathematician named Lambert Quetelet who produced the formula [BMI=weight (in kg) / height (in m²)] as a way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population, in assisting the government of the day in allocating its resources. The formula is still being used in this day and age. So, a person is obese if their Body Mass Index is greater than, or equals to 30 and a person is overweight if their Body Mass Index is greater than or equals to 25.

Obesity does not occur overnight. It develops slowly over time, resulting from 3 main factors such as a Poor Diet, Lack of Physical Exercise and Genetics. Obviously, there are more factors that contributes to obesity, but at this juncture, let’s limit our input to just these three.

POOR DIET
• eating processed or fast food that are quite high in fat and sugar
• overeating (eating larger portions than you need)
• not eating enough fruits and vegetables or whole grains

LACK OF PHYSICAL EXERCISE
Sedentary persons (persons who spent much of their time seated) tends to burn off fewer calories than what they consumed from their diet. That surplus of calories that was not burn off through physical activity, will be stored within their body as fat. Studies have also shown that there is a strong relationship (or positive correlation) between physical inactivity and weight gain.

GENETICS/GENETIC MAKE-UP
Genetics (in its simplest form) is a biological process where a parent passes certain genes onto their children. Research have indicated that genetics can play a role in obesity. Someone is more likely to develop obesity if one or both parents are obese.

In part 2, we will cover the effects overweight and obesity can have on your health and also ways that can be implemented to prevent overweight and obesity.