Obesity Risk FactorsObesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or higher. In general, obesity occurs when you consume more calories than you use. Although some obesity risk factors (such as genetics and age-related hormonal changes) can't be controlled, it's possible to modify the following risk factors as you strive for obesity prevention:
- unhealthy diet
- lack of physical activity
- insufficient sleep
- poorly managed stress
The Importance of Obesity PreventionBy focusing on obesity prevention, you'll likely reduce your risk for these obesity-related health problems:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- gallbladder disease
- breast cancer
- colon cancer
- cancers of the kidney, uterus, esophagus, and gallbladder
Obesity Prevention StrategiesSticking to a weight-management plan that pairs healthy eating with regular exercise is the best approach to obesity prevention.
In order to create a healthy diet, try these tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture:
- eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits
- choose low-fat dairy products over the full-fat variety
- opt for whole grains (instead of refined-grain products like white bread)
- get your protein from beans, nuts, seeds, and/or lean meats and poultry
- cut back on saturated fat and salt
Keeping a food diary, getting eight hours of sleep each night, and keeping your stress in check may also help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Natural Solutions for Obesity PreventionSome alternative therapies and mind-body exercises may help support your weight-loss and/or weight-maintenance efforts, according to recent research. Here's a look at practices that may help promote obesity prevention:
In a 2008 analysis of data on 31,044 American adults, scientists discovered that participants with obesity had a lower prevalence of use of yoga. And in a 2005 study of 15,550 adults aged 53 to 57, researchers found that those who regularly practiced yoga had gained significantly less weight since age 45.
For a research review published in 2009, investigators sized up 31 studies (with a total of 3,013 participants) and concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for obesity. The review indicates that receiving acupuncture may lead to a significant reduction in body weight and improvement in obesity; however, the review's authors caution that the "amount of evidence is not fully convincing because of the poor methodological quality of trials reviewed."
3) Tai Chi
In a 2009 study of 21 obese women, all subjects took part in a 10-week weight-management program that included either a two-hour weekly session of tai chi or a standard exercise routine. At the end of the program, members of the tai chi group showed a reduction in body fat percentage (as well as improvements in blood pressure and mood).