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How to Combat Obesity

Adriel is a fitness enthusiast. He enjoys eating healthy foods and working out.

Overweight person

Overweight person

Many people in the world today are considered overweight or obese. Obesity is a major health problem in developed countries and among affluent sections of the society.

According to the World Health Organization, around 4 million people die every year as a due to obesity related complications.

Obesity and malnutrition lie on opposite ends of the spectrum. Obesity just like malnutrition is a serious concern for individuals and the society as a whole. The food industry has led to the creation of highly addictive, ultra-processed food that is rich in sugar, salt and fat.

The rise of fast food joints across the world have compounded the problem by creating unhealthy culture entirely based on hyper-processed food.

Overweight and obese individuals are more likely to suffer from lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and certain cancers.

Waist being measured

Waist being measured

Body Mass Index

The Body Mass Index is a calculation that takes a person’s weight and height into consideration to determine the body size.

It is calculated by dividing the weight of an individual in kilograms by the square of their height in meters [Body Mass Index(BMI) = Weight (kg) ÷ (Height M)2].

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a disorder that is characterized by excess body fat. In general, Body Mass Index ranging from 18.5 to 25 is considered to be normal.

An individual with a Body Mass Index that is above 25 is considered overweight while an individual with a Body Mass Index of 30 and above is considered obese.

Reasons to avoid obesity

There are numerous health consequences associated with being obese.

Obesity leads to diseases such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Stroke
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Arthritis

Excessive body weight reduces the quality of life of an individual. Obese individuals are often unable to participate in numerous activities that require physical exertion.

Activities such as running, swimming, hiking and dancing often led to shortness of breath and fatigue in obese individuals.

Overweight person

Overweight person

Low self-esteem is also common among obese individuals. An obese individual is often mocked and taunted by peers, family, friends and even strangers. Body-shaming is a fad on social media websites.

Causes of obesity

Obesity is caused by a multitude of factors. People often assume that obese individuals are greedy or that they consume a lot of fat. However, obesity is caused by a combination of various factors.

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  • Overfeeding during infancy, childhood and adolescence can predispose an individual to obesity.
  • Consumption of ultra-processed foods which are rich in sugar, salt and fat also contribute to obesity.
  • A sedentary lifestyle also predisposes an individual to obesity.
  • Endocrine disruption by chemicals can cause obesity.
  • Sleep deprivation can lead to elevated cortisol levels. Sleep deprivation also hinders proper metabolism and increases blood pressure.
Burger and Fries

Burger and Fries

How to maintain a healthy body weight

Weight reduction and management is highly individual and a single regiment to fit all doe not exist. Obese individuals should strive to reduce their excess weight gradually over time.

Weight reduction diets should ideally be above 1000 Kcal/day and should provide all nutrients. An obese individual should strive to lose half a kilogram of body weight per week in order to be safe.

Extreme methods of weight loss should be avoided.

There are numerous methods that are employed to deal with obesity. They include:

  • Eating a wholesome foods
  • Restricting food intake
  • Surgery
  • Exercise
  • Medication

Exercise

Exercise is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise should be the incorporated into an individual’s lifestyle to reduce excess weight. There are various forms of exercise that one can engage in.

Walking is the most suitable and safest form of exercise for obese and overweight individuals.

Person exercising

Person exercising

Walking for around 30 minutes to one hour per day has been shown to have a positive reduction in body weight and it improves blood circulation.

Consumption of whole foods

Whole foods are foods that are not processed or that are slightly processed. They include whole grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables.

Intake of around 2 liters of water is recommended. Water eliminates toxins and aids in satiation.

Processed foods should be eliminated completely from the diet. Processed food contains excess sugar, salt and fat.

The importance of proper nutrition can not be emphasized enough.

Salad

Salad

Dietary Restriction

Dietary restriction involves limiting the amount of food consumption. However, it has been shown that dietary restriction is not very effective in weight reduction. Individuals often binge during or after a period of dietary restriction thereby reversing the weight reduction.

Surgery

Surgery is a viable option for extreme cases though it should be used as a last resort.

Bariatric surgery is a collective term for gastric bypass and other weight loss surgeries. It involves the modification of the digestive system.

Medication

A physician might recommend medication to be used in conjunction with exercise and dieting.

Medication is often prescribed for extreme cases. It should be noted that drugs can have unpleasant side effects.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Adriel Ananiel

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