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Learner: Consuela Kelly-Crisler
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PSY5106Dr. Nicol Moreland
Faculty Use Only
The Future of Biopsychology- Obesity
Dr. Nicol Moreland
December 9, 2012
A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. The most common measure of obesity is the body mass index or BMI. A person is considered overweight if his or her BMI is between 25 and 29.9; a person is considered obese if his or her BMI is over 30. "Morbid obesity" means that a person is either 50%-100% over normal weight, more than 100 pounds over normal weight, has a BMI of 40 or higher, or is sufficiently overweight to severely interfere with health or normal function (What is Obesity? 2012). Obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns. For many people this boils down to eating too much and exercising too little. But there are other factors that also play a role in obesity. People tend to gain weight as they get older, even if they don’t alter their eating habits. This is because the human metabolism slows down as we age. We don’t need to take in as many calories as we used to in order to maintain the same weight. Therefore, we store more of the food we take in as fat. Women tend to be overweight more often than men because men tend to burn calories at a higher rate (What is Obesity? 2012). Obesity and thinness seems to have a have a nature versus nurture component. If a patient’s biological mother is heavy as an adult, there is approximately a 75% chance that she will be heavy. Likewise, the children of thin parents have a 75% chance of being thin (What is Obesity? 2012). This doesn’t mean that the child of obese parents has to be obese, though. Many find ways to keep the weight off. Genetics are important, but lifestyle choices such as eating and exercise habits are, too. Less active people tend to require less calories than more active people; they don’t need as much fuel because they’re doing less work. Physical activity also causes the body to burn calories faster on average, and decreases appetite. People exercising less is thought to be a leading cause of obesity over the last 20 years. Psychological factors also influence eating habits and obesity. Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger. People who have difficulty with weight management may be facing more emotional and psychological issues; about 30% of people who seek treatment for serious weight problems have difficulties with binge eating. During a binge-eating episode, people eat large amounts of food while feeling they can't control how much they are eating. (Obesity Facts, 2012) Obesity can be caused by illness, though people blame more cases of obesity on illness than is actually true. Illnesses sometimes responsible for obesity...