Obesity is a public health hazard. The pandemic that until now seemed to have been more of a concern in the Western world, has reared its ugly head in India as well. According to the WHO projections, at least one third of the world's population is overweight and one-fifth of the world's people are obese. In India too, the numbers are high enough to cause concern. November 26th of every year is thus observed as Anti-Obesity Day in India and other countries to create mass awareness against this disease.
A BMI of 25 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or more is obese. Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for many health disorders. Metabolic syndrome that encompasses cardiovascular disease and diabetes is a widespread phenomenon in India and the world. Recent reports from the WHO reveal that nearly 70 percent of diabetic people are also obese or overweight.
AdvertisementObesity may not be just a product of unhealthy lifestyle practices in all cases, as was thought before. Scientists are no longer ready to believe that 'obesity is simply the result of lazy lifestyle choices or overeating' in all cases, but may have some other underlying cause as well.
Dr Peter Attia, a medical doctor and President and co-Founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) has stated his experience, 'Despite exercising 3 or 4 hours every single day and following the food pyramid to the letter I gained a lot of weight and developed something called metabolic syndrome. I had become insulin resistant,' he said.
Diabetes or insulin resistance is not the only malady of obesity. Obesity is the precursor to a host of other diseases including heart disease, high cholesterol levels leading to heart attacks, cancers, infertility, back pain, skin infections, ulcers and gallstones among others. So, reducing weight does have its benefits. In addition, the payoff for shedding the excess flab is fitness of the body as well as the mind.
To reiterate the ways to prevent obesity-
• Eat healthy. Eat a balanced diet rich in proteins, vegetables and fruits. And don't forget the fiber that keeps you feeling full so you won't feel hungry. Be well hydrated.
• Move more. Stay physically active. Exercise regularly. Even a 40-minute brisk walk 4 to 5 times a week can serve the purpose.
• Stress less. Obesity and stress are partners in disease. Stress makes you go for comfort food in most cases. This is because stress leads to increased levels of hormone cortisol in the body, which in turn stimulates the reward center of the brain that is gratified with highly palatable foods. And because comfort foods are mainly calorie dense processed foods, long stretches of stress can lead to weight gain quickly leading to overweight or obesity.
If you are on the verge of obesity or you are already overweight, it's still not too late. Include a weight loss program followed by a weight maintenance program. Reduce calorie intake but eat healthy. Strictly follow the diet and exercise regimens. Seek medical care.
Make those small changes to your lifestyle and live healthy!