Is Obesity Culprit behind Health Issues you face?

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Obesity or being overweight is a serious health problem these days. In low- and middle-income countries obesity seem to be the prevalence health problem after spread of infectious disease, and under nutrition. According to the WHO analysis obesity kills more people than underweight. In 2016 39% of adults in age group 18 years and above were overweight out of which 13% were obese. Worldwide prevalence of obesity has almost tripled from 1975 to 2016.  

Excess or abnormal fat accumulation leading to health risk is termed as obesity. Obesity is a leading cause of many health impairments like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cancer, infertility in females, etc. Recent scientific studies showed that mortality risk increases by 60% in obese COVID-19 patients.  

Apart from obesity in adult’s childhood obesity, is arising global issue. According to data analysis conducted by WHO prevalence of obesity in children’s and adolescent (5-19 years) has increased markedly from 4%-18% between the years 1975-2016. 

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Find out if you are Obese or Not…?  

BMI is an important parameter used by majority of health professionals for the diagnosis of obesity. WHO defines Body Mass Index as ratio of weight in kilograms to height in meter square. Or weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared and multiplied by 703. BMI is estimate value for body fat. However, there are some exceptions like for body-builders, athletes and pregnant women’s BMI value is not correct. For example, muscular athletes BMI value may fall in obese category even though they don’t have an excess body fat. Elevated BMI value is because of high muscular mass.  

BMI Weight status 
Below 18.5 Underweight 
18.5 to 24.9 Normal 
25.0 to 29.9 Overweight 
30.0 and higher Obese 

Causes 

Energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expend causes obesity. Following factors enhance the risk of obesity.  

  • Unhealthy diet habits are common cause of obesity. Increase intake of food items rich in sugar and fat content, diet full of junk food, over eating, excess consumption of high calorie beverages like alcohol, sugary soft drink, etc. contributes to obesity.  
  • Low physical activity due to sedentary lifestyle, mode of transportation used by the people and urbanization are another leading cause of obesity.  
  • Genetics affects the regulation of different metabolic processes taking place in our body. It plays very important role in how our body utilizes the food we eat; how many calories are burnt during exercise and physical activity. 
  • Certain medical conditions such as consumption of antidepressants, anti-seizures, anti-psychotic medications, oral contraceptives, corticosteroids, etc. may also lead to obesity.  
  • Weight gain is common during pregnancy. Women’s may gain weight during maternity and thenfind it difficult to lose weight after baby birth.  
  • Stress may be another factor contributing to obesity as hormonal changes occurring due to stressful condition increases craving for high calorie food. Hormonal changes taking place in body also affects food consumption and other metabolic processes. 
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Risk factors of obesity  

  • Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. According to Norwegian study obese females show high risk of elevated blood pressure as compared to males.
  • Obesity enhances risk of cancer that is endometrial cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, kidney cancer etc.
  • Obesity is common cause of infertility and PCOD in females.
  • Due to high bodyweight stress is placed on weight bearing joints which enhance the risk of musculoskeletal disorder like osteoarthritis.
  • Obesity also affects quality of life as some people face problems like depression, social isolation due to inability to participate in everyday activities. 

Prevention

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Diet

Limit or completely stop the intake of food items that are high in sugar and fat content. Switch to low energy dense food like vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish, grains, etc. These food items have low calorific value due to which high intake of low energy dense food stuff does not contribute to weight gain. Avoid food items high in sugar and fat content as fats contains twice amount of calorie per unit weight than protein or carbohydrates. Avoid food stuffs like red meat, egg yolk, fried food, sweets, butter, soft drinks, etc. Due to high calorific value of these food items consumption of small portions increases the weight to large extent. Follow strict diet plan and monitor your weight every week to find out if your efforts are working or not.

Regular physical exercise

It is a most accessible, available, and affordable choice a person can make. Studies have shown people who engage themselves in regular strenuous activity have lower risk of obesity than sedentary workers. Engage yourself in strenuous physical activities likes swimming, stationary bicycling, walking, regular exercise, jogging, etc. for at least 20 to 30, minutes a day for significant weight loss. Start slowly and then gradually increase the time to avoid fatigue, excessive soreness and injury.

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At a societal level

Food industry can play a very important role in this by reducing the fat, sugar, and salt content in processed food items. Population based policies that make regular physical activities and healthy dietary choices affordable and accessible to everyone, especially to poor people. 

In the year 2004 World Health Assembly made a political declaration on non- communicable disease. “WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health” states that action needed to be taken to support healthy diet and regular physical activity and reduce the number of premature mortalities up to 25% by 2030. 

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