Obesity is an abnormal accumulation of body fat. A person is said to be obese or overweight when he/she has additional body fat above the ideal body weight; 20-40% over ideal body weight is considered mildly obese; 40-100% over ideal body weight is considered moderately obese; and 100% over ideal body weight is considered severely or morbidly obese. The World Health Organization (WHO) has termed obesity as a worldwide epidemic and obesity-related diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent.Most medical professionals use a measurement called BMI (body mass index) to diagnose obesity; an individual’s weight in kilograms is multiplied by 703 and then divided by twice the height in inches. BMI of 25.9-29 is considered as overweight while a BMI of over 30 is considered obese. Usually, measurements and comparisons of waist and hip circumference also help provide adequate information; increased waist-hip ratio may lead to weight associated risk factors. In certain cases, measuring skin-fold thickness with the help of calipers can also help determine adipose tissue.Obesity in children and teensObesity is not just a problem that affects adults. More and more children today are afflicted with this problem that was once considered a purely adult disease. The number of obese children has tripled over the last 20 years. At least 10% of six-year-olds and 17% of 15-year-olds are today found to be clinically obese. Childhood obesity is a strong indication that this child will grow up to be obese as an adult. Furthermore, childhood obesity is a strong indicator of weight-related health problems in later life, showing that learned unhealthy lifestyle choices continue into adulthood.Obesity is associated with increased risk of illness, disability and death. Excessive weight can result in many serious, potentially life-threatening health problems, such as hypertension, Type II diabetes mellitus (non-insulin dependent diabetes), increased risk for coronary disease, increased unexplained heart attack, hyperlipidaemia, infertility as well as higher prevalence of colon, prostate, endometrial and breast cancers. Approximately, 300,000 people die in a year because of obesity. As a result, obesity is termed as the second largest leading cause of preventable deaths. Get more information on Obesity TreatmentFacts about obesity
Globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese.
Obesity and overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases, including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer.
The key causes are increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats and sugars, and reduced physical activity.
Symptoms of obesityExcessive weight gain and the presence of large amounts of fatty tissue are the two major visible symptoms of obesity. Obesity can affect your day to day life.Some of the immediate symptoms of obesity include:
Inability to cope with sudden physical activity
Feeling of tiredness
Back and joint pains
Some of the long-term symptoms of obesity include:
High blood pressure
Heart disease and stroke
Breast cancer and menstrual problems (in women)
Gall bladder disease
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Reduced life expectancy
Many people may also experience psychological problems which include:
Low self confidence
Feeling of isolation
Poor quality of life because of reduced mobility
Causes of obesityObesity is not something that happens overnight – it develops gradually and is generally a result of poor diet and lifestyle choices; to a certain extent your genes may also be responsible.
Genetic: – Studies have confirmed that predisposition towards obesity can be inherited. It has been noted that most children with childhood obesity or overweight parents grow up to be overweight. Weight on the hips or around the middle is strongly influenced by heredity.
Lifestyle choices: – It also influences your weight. Eating more calories than you need is usually a result of poor food choices. Alcohol also contains a lot of calories and heavy drinkers are often overweight. Bad eating habits run in families.
Lack of physical activity: – It is another important obesity related factor. If we do not actively use up the energy provided by food, the extra calories are stored as fat and this gradually leads to obesity.
Medical reasons: – Medical reasons are also a well known cause for obesity. In less than one out of every 100 cases, there is a medical reason for obesity. Conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome (over-production of hormones in the body) and an under-active thyroid gland are rare causes of weight gain. Certain medicines, including some steroids and antidepressants, also contribute to weight gain.
How to diagnose obesity?Obesity is diagnosed by comparing a patient’s weight with ideal weight charts. A direct measure of body fat can also be made with an instrument known as ‘calipers’; it helps to measure the thickness of your fatty tissue at the back of the upper arm. Women with 30% fatty tissue and men with 25% fatty tissue are considered to be obese. Body fat distribution is another good indicator of obesity.Body Mass Index (BMI) is currently used as the most accurate and reliable way of diagnosing obesity. You can work out your BMI using this calculation:
Measure your height in meters and multiply the number by itself (this is the squared figure)
Measure your weight in kilograms
Divide your weight by the answer you got in step 1 (squared height)
The number that you arrive at is your valid BMI
How to treat obesity?In view of a surge in obesity and weight-related diseases, more successful long term treatments for obesity are urgently required. Low calorie diet, exercise therapy and lifestyle counseling are effective obesity solutions that can help tackle obesity in the best possible way. Aim of your obesity treatment is to lose weight in order to improve your general quality of life, both physical and psychological; increase mobility; and improve your self-esteem. Use of weight loss treatment drugs in combination with diet and exercise therapy also provides effective weight loss.Xenical orlistat and Reductil sibutramine are the two popular pills for obesity that are available on the market today. Orlistat slimming pills work by blocking the action of body chemicals called enzymes which digest fat. About 30% of the fat from your food remains undigested and is not absorbed by your body; this passes out with your faeces. Xenical capsule is taken with each main meal of the day. Orlistat is not prescribed to: Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children.Reductil sibutramine is a type of obesity treatment medication that affects chemicals in the brain called noradrenaline and serotonin to make you feel fuller or satisfied with less food; it is prescribed to help you lose weight. One sibutramine diet pill is taken once a day. If orlistat or sibutramine is prescribed for you, you will also you will also receive advice, support and counseling about diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.Weight loss surgery is normally considered to restrict the amount of food eaten, or to interrupt the digestive process. These surgeries help you lose weight by reducing your food intake. There are three widely used techniques in weight loss surgery:
Gastric band surgery,
Gastric bypass surgery, and
How to prevent obesity?Eating healthily and regular exercise are some of the best obesity prevention methods. Diet, calorie intake and exercise play a major role in obesity.Diet rich in fruits, vegetables and unrefined carbohydrates should make up the bulk of your diet. Choosing brown and wholegrain carbohydrates are healthy. Steaming and grilling food are healthier cooking options and prevent weight gain. Avoid overeating as it can be harmful. Cut down on high fat snacks, junk food and ready meals, as they are mostly packed with fat, high levels of sugar and salt.Calorie-counting can keep your weight down. You must work out your daily calorie requirement.Exercise in moderate amounts id essential to keep your weight in check. It is recommended that you take at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, at least five days a week. This can be done in one session, or in split sessions. Exercise burns up calories, increases your metabolic rate and improves appetite.