What Is Obesity? Primary Causes, Prevention, Treatment And Heath Risks Associated With It
World Obesity Day 2018: With the development people have become more sedentary in their lifestyles and food habits have gone for a toss. Fast food and junk items have taken the place of a normal homemade balanced diet.
Fast food and junk items have taken the place of a normal homemade
- 11th of October is observed as the World Obesity Day 2018
- Obesity is the major epidemic that the world is facing today
- Some drugs have seen to cause gain in weight
11th of October is observed as the World Obesity Day 2018. It was launched in the year 2015 in order to spread awareness about the rising problem of obesity and the health hazards which are associated with it. The objective of World Obesity Day is to stimulate and support practical solutions for people to achieve a healthy body weight and adopt measures to sustain it. On World Obesity Day, the aim is to make more people aware about the issue of obesity and encourage people to share their experiences. This will help people get rid of obesity and thereby living a healthy life.
Obesity is the major epidemic that the world is facing today. It is a result of the modern scientific world where people are driven by gadgets and machineries instead of the natural environment and lifestyle of the past. With the development people have become more sedentary in their lifestyles and food habits have gone for a toss. Fast food and junk items have taken the place of a normal homemade balanced diet. The net result is the condition of obesity. It is a condition where a person has accumulated so much fat that it has a negative effect on their health. Being a bit overweight and obese are two different terms. We usually use BMI (Body Mass Index) to evaluate obesity. If BMI is between 25 and 29.9, it is considered overweight but if the BMI is above 30, the condition is obesity.
Have a look at the main causes of obesity:
1. Consuming too many calories:
The trend nowadays is to eat much more than it is necessary mainly due to the economic affordability and availability of various types of tempting foods, in the form of snacks and fast food. There is increased consumption of carbohydrate and sugars which has resulted in the obesity of most adults. Also the availability of sweetened aerated drinks have resulted in the consumption of more sugars than necessary. Our normal coconut water and fruit juices are last in the list of favourite drinks.
2. Leading a sedentary lifestyle:
With the arrival of TV, computers, video games, remote controls, washing machine, dish washers and other modern conveniences, people are leading a life where very less movement of body is required. Also with the availability of online shopping and networking, walking down the street for basic amenities have become as thing of the past. Thus, burning calories have reduced to minimum and in turn hormones levels are also affected especially insulin. Physical activity has a vital role in insulin sensitivity.
3. Less sleep:
Research has seen that if there is less sleep, there is the risk of becoming obese. With the new culture of working for more hours at night depriving sleeping hours has a major effect on the health of the person. Sleep deprivation may lead to obesity through increased appetite due to secretion of the hormone Ghrelin which stimulates appetite and secretes less Leptin, as appetite suppressing hormone.
4. Endocrine disruptors:
Research has shown that fructose which is found in beverages may alter lipid energy metabolism and cause fatty liver and metabolic syndrome. Poorly balanced diets and lack of physical exercise are also responsible for poor endocrine functions.
Roughly it is seen according to NIH that 10% of people who smoke gain a large amount of weight as smoking suppresses appetite.
6. Due to medications:
Some drugs have seen to cause gain in weight. Most common is the oral contraceptives in women. Alternative drugs should be taken in weight gain prone individuals.
7. Self perpetuating disorder:
The longer a person remains overweight, it becomes harder for them to lose weight. Scientists have suggested that more fat we carry, our bodies produce a protein that blocks the ability to burn fat. Thus, early intervention and prevention of obesity from childhood is very important.
8. Obesity gene:
A faulty gene called FTO makes 1 in every 6 people overeat. People who carry this gene variant prefer to eat high energy faulty foods and are usually obese. They take much longer to attain satiety.
Treatment and prevention:
1. Dietary changes:
Total daily calorie intake should be reduced. Consumption of carbohydrates and sugars should be reduced significantly and replaced by large amount of vegetables and fruits.
2. Physical activity:
This is a must to burn down the calories. Walking briskly is a good way to start increasing physical activity, later adding on to other exercises.
Some drugs are available in the market but of not much value. Bariatric surgery is also done in very obese patients.
Some health risks associated with obesity are:
- Coronary heart disease
- Gall bladder disease
- Respiratory problems
- Several cancers
- Sleep apnoea
- Type 2 diabetes
( Dr. M.K. Chakravorty is a physician in Dehradun)
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