Tuesday, 30 August 2016

All that you need to know about obesity!

30% of the world’s population is either obese or overweight and the highest concentration of such people live in the United States, India and China which together account for 15% of the world’s obese population. In just over three decades, worldwide obesity has doubled. According to a study, in 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight and out of these, over a staggering 600 million were obese! Surprising as it may sound, while many parts of the world battle hunger and malnutrition, in reality, obesity is as much or even a bigger problem as there are more people dying due to obesity and overweight problems than due to those being underweight! Childhood obesity is rising and how! 41 million children under the age of 5 were either obese or overweight in 2014, with the numbers only rising exponentially. Obesity is an epidemic despite being largely preventable. The rapidity with which the world is becoming obese is stunning. 
Definition Of Obese.
A person is obese when his/her body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. The body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. If the BMI is between 25 and 30, the person is overweight and if it is above 30, the person is obese.
Factors Responsible.
Unhealthy diet is certainly one of the major reasons. We are downing more fat and high calorie fast foods than ever.
Lack of physical activity leads to calorie pile-up as one does not burn as many calories. If you don’t burn enough calories, those end up showing on your weighing scale. A sedentary lifestyle is suicidal.
Genes play a major role and affect the amount of body fat one stores and where that fat is distributed. Genes also play a role in the body’s ability in converting food into energy and burning calories during exercise. If either one or both of your parents are obese, your risks of being one goes up significantly.
Some medical problems like polycystic ovaries, thyroid issues, Cushing’s syndrome and other conditions also cause weight gain.
Some medicines cause weight gain, especially steroids, anti-depressants, anti-seizures, beta blockers and some others.
Change in sleeping habits also contribute to increasing weight. Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much impact and cause a change in hormones which spikes appetite.
Complications.
Being overweight or obese has its share of big complications.
When the body has more weight to carry, there will be more blood flowing through the body. This puts more pressure on the heart as it has to work harder to pump the extra blood.
If you are overweight you could develop hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, high triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. These put you at a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
Risk of gallbladder disease and gall stones goes up.
Breathing disorders like sleep apnea in which breathing repeatedly momentarily stops and restarts.
Infertility.
Nonalcoholic fatty disease.
Osteoarthritis.
Various types of cancers including that of the colon, rectum, liver , gallbladder and many more.  An estimated 20% of all cancer cases are linked to excess weight.
Stroke.
Sexual problems.

Treatments

Dietary modifications are a must. A dietician should be consulted to ensure that there is enough intake of essential nutrients.
Exercise - Exercising to knock off excess weight is an absolute must. A sedentary lifestyle is a big no-no. Physical activity is essential for an effective weight loss regimen. Research has shown that  when the number of calories consumed are reduced, the body reacts by slowing down the metabolism to burn fewer calories, rather than promoting weight loss. Regular physical activity is essential to speeden up the metabolism. So move that booty!
Prescription weight loss drugs - There are drugs that act as a stimulant to increase fat metabolism and some that work by blocking about 30 percent of dietary fat from being absorbed and also those which suppress appetite. These are to be taken strictly on the advice of a doctor. More often than not, the weight piles on if the medicines are stopped and while on these drugs, an individual may lose up to 10% of his/her weight, some studies suggest.
Weight-loss surgeries - There are many weight loss surgeries which are done in extreme cases -  when the person is at least a 100 pounds over the normal weight and /or has a BMI of over 40. Some surgical options are gastric bypass surgery where a small pouch is created at the top of the stomach and the small intestine is then cut below the main stomach and connected to the new pouch. Food and liquid flow directly from the pouch into this part of the intestine, thus bypassing most of the stomach. There are other surgeries like the gastric sleeve surgery which entails removing a large part of the stomach to create a smaller space for food. Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, Vagal nerve blockade and Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding are some other surgical options.
Even after a weight loss surgery, weight gain is common. Hence, it is necessary to avoid high calorie foods and exercise for at least an hour everyday. No surgery is free of risks and before deciding on a weight loss surgery, the need for the same and the risks v/s benefits must be assessed thoroughly in consultation with a qualified doctor who specialises in these kind of surgeries. 
There are some factors which are beyond the control of obese people but then there are some that one can control. Focus on those and chances are that you will move from fat to fit. Nip that fat in the bud. 
Illustration : Anjana.

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