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BMC Pregnancy And Childbirth: Body Tissues

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Obesity is a health condition caused by excessive fat deposition in the body tissues, and organs consequently causing an alteration in the normal physiology of the affected tissues and organs. The body mass index is the standard marker used to classify obesity, an individual with greater than thirty kilograms per meter squared is termed as an obese person. For children, obesity is considered when the body mass index is greater than the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender. The trend regarding the change of lifestyle in the world has immensely contributed to a high prevalence rate of obesity worldwide. Obesity is a complex and chronic disease and it is prevalent across socio-demographic. For example, in the United States obesity has been considered as the most prevalent disease of children and adolescents. However, morbidities that are linked to obesity have been recorded mostly in adult, significant consequences of obesity, as well as the antecedents of adult disease occur in obese children and adolescents as suggested by (Gurnani et al., 2015).

Causes of Obesity

Obesity can be caused by different factors that are related to genetics, nutrition, and dietary practices and the lack of participation in physical activities.  The lack of active participation in physical activities and sedentary life has been cited as one of the causes of obesity. For example, research findings have revealed that individuals who are actively involved in physical activities have a low risk of developing obesity as suggested by (Deliens et al., 2015).Therefore, the active involvement of an individual in physical activity has been associated with weight loss, a lot of energy is spent as a result of increased metabolic rate leading to calorie depletion (Catenacci et al. 2007).

Dietary factors that include consumption of food rich in high calories, consumption of food that are made up saturated fats, trans-fat and consumption of sweetened drinks have been directly linked to a high prevalence rate of obesity. However, reduced intake of saturated fats, increased intake of fruits, and vegetables and regular intake of breakfast has been associated with reduced cases of obesity. As a result, different governments have developed different interventions programs that promote nutritional education among the most vulnerable groups within the population. For example, the research findings have established a relationship between nutritional health education and reduction prevalence of obesity among individuals within the population according to (Sassi et al., 2010).

Genetics has also been identified as an etiology of obesity, this is due to a very rare defect in the function of a particular gene that is directly involved in the leptin-melanocortin regulation pathway (Gurnani et al., 2015). The gene affected include melanocortin receptor and leptin gene.  

Endocrine factors have also been associated with obesity. For example, there has been a high level of leptin hormone that is produced in the adipose tissue that acts on the hypothalamus leading to weight regulation. Therefore, conditions such as hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome, and growth hormone deficiency have been associated with the occurrence of obesity.


Effects of Obesity

Obesity can negatively affect the health of an individual, and financial implications. For example, in the United States, it is estimated that 20 percent of the money allocated to department of health is spent on the management and treatment of obesity.

There are different Comorbidities that occur as a result obesity. There is an association between type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. The functions of insulin hormone are greatly affected by the occurrence of obesity. This is evidence in conditions such as metabolic syndrome that is defined by insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and abdominal obesity among others. For example, a study conducted by (Gurnani et al., 2015), revealed that 29.2 percent of the children suffering from metabolic syndrome were found to be obese. At the same time, obesity has also been associated with dyslipidemia, this condition is characterized by fatty streak found within the coronary arteries and the aorta, it caused by deposition of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) along the vessel of the aorta and coronary arteries. Moreover, hypertension develops due to fat depositions on the blood vessel walls leading to the narrowing of the blood vessels hence whenever the blood is pumped through such narrowed blood vessel there is increased blood pressure. This can lead to the death of the patients is there is no immediate treatment. Atherosclerosis that is caused by deposition of fat along the artery walls leading to their hardening is also a condition that is associated with obesity.

Fat deposits in the hepatocytes can lead to defect in the liver physiology causing dangerous conditions such hepatomegaly and eventually inflammation of the liver. This conditions can be marked and diagnosed by raised level alanine aminotransferases enzyme, the disease has been associated with obesity.     

The relationship between obesity in mental health status is an area that has elicited a lot of research interest. Findings from different research have revealed a bidirectional association between obesity and mental health condition of the individuals (Tronieri et al., 2017). For example, the findings of the research conducted by (National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey [NHANES], 2010), revealed that women with obesity were at high risk of depression as compared to women who were not suffering from obesity.

At the same time, there is evidence that linking the effects of obesity to the low reproduction. For example, several studies have associated obesity to sub-fertility, and findings from the research have established that 6-9 percent of women on their reproductive age suffers from ovulatory infertility among them half are obese (Poromaa, 2015). Therefore, the practice of bariatric surgery among the women in the childbearing age has increased (Edison et al., 2016). According to (Poromaa, 2015), the occurrence of obesity the women on their reproductive year increases the risk of low fertility rates, a prolonged time is taken to conceive,  increased chances of miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications. Obesity has been associated with stigma among the pregnant women (Moussa et al., 2016; Arden et al., 2014).


Obesity is caused by a number of different factors. Therefore, it is necessary for individuals to take part in the implementation of intervention programs and policies that have been formulated by the government to stop the prevalence of obesity. Intervention programs that focus on the promotion of physical education, nutritional education and behavioral changes should be adopted to help stop high prevalence of obesity within the communities. Moreover, policies that are advocating for stoppage of discrimination of obese individuals should be emphasized. The government at the same time should put more effort in developing public policies that promote that recognizes and encourages participation of individuals and the community to help in reducing obesity.



Arden, M. A., Duxbury, A. M., & Soltani, H. (2014). Responses to gestational weight management guidance: a thematic analysis of comments made by women in online parenting forums. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 14(1), 216.

Catenacci, V.A. and Wyatt, H.R., 2007. The role of physical activity in producing and maintaining weight loss. Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism, 3(7), pp.518-529.

Edison, E., Whyte, M., van Vlymen, J., Jones, S., Gatenby, P., de Lusignan, S., & Shawe, J. (2016). Bariatric Surgery in Obese Women of Reproductive Age Improves Conditions That Underlie Fertility and Pregnancy Outcomes: Retrospective Cohort Study of UK National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR). Obesity Surgery, 26(12), 2837-2842.

Gurnani, M., Birken, C., & Hamilton, J. (2015). Childhood obesity: causes, consequences, and management. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 62(4), 821-840.

Martinez, J. A. (2000). Body-weight regulation: causes of obesity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 59(03), 337-345.

Moussa, H. N., Alrais, M. A., Leon, M. G., Abbas, E. L., & Sibai, B. M. (2016). Obesity epidemic: impact from preconception to postpartum.

Poromaa, I. S. (2015). Effect of obesity on human reproduction. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 57(1), K3.

Sassi, F., Devaux, M., Church, J., Cecchini, M. and Borgonovi, F., 2009. Education and obesity in four OECD countries.

Tronieri, J. S., Wurst, C. M., Pearl, R. L., & Allison, K. C. (2017). Sex Differences in Obesity and Mental Health. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(6), 29.

World Health Organization. (2010). Defining the problem of overweight and obesity. In: Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. Geneva:


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