World Obesity Day is observed annually on October 26 in many parts of the world with activities to highlight how obesity is a big threat to public health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is defined as the excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more is considered obese, and one with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is overweight.
WHO says the main cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between energy consumed and energy expended. Globally, there has been significant increase in the consumption of junk food that are energy-dense and high in fat, and a considerable decrease in the physical activity due to a sedentary lifestyle.
AdvertisementObesity is not only an appearance problem but also one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide. Also, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2014 and of these more than 600 million were obese. Overall, 13% of the world's adult population was obese, and 39% of adults were overweight in that year. The worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
Most of the world's population lives in countries where being overweight kills more people than underweight. Worldwide, about 2.8 million people die each year due to being obese. A recent study published in the Lancet , India is just behind US and China on the list of top ten nations with the highest number of obese people. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in India, affecting about 5% of the country's population. The US topped the list with 13% of the obese people worldwide in 2013. China and India together accounted for 15% of the world's obese population. In India, processed foods that are packaged in boxes, cans or bags have become easily available following its continued integration into global food markets.
Obesity causes adverse metabolic effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides - an ester derived from glycerol and three fatty acids - and insulin. Risks of coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke - a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain - and type 2 diabetes mellitus increase steadily with increasing BMI. Obesity also raises the risk of cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, endometrium, kidney and gall bladder. Obese persons do not live as long as those who are not obese. The earlier a person gets obese, the more days of his/her life are lost.
More about Threats of Obesity
- Heart disease - If you are obese you may develop high blood pressure, diabetes and atherosclerosis - a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of fatty material on their inner walls. These conditions can put you at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Severely obese people are six times more likely to develop heart disease than those with normal body weight.
- High blood pressure - Hypertension or high blood pressure is more common in obese persons. It causes damages to the heart and the blood vessels, which in turn increases susceptibility to strokes, kidney disease, and hardening of the arteries.
- High blood cholesterol - Cholesterol or lipid is a fat that your body needs to work properly. But too much lipid in the blood is bad for your health. Cholesterol levels are commonly high in the severely obese people. High lipid level also increases the risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease.
- Diabetes Mellitus - Studies have shown that obese people are 40 times more likely to develop Type-2 diabetes. High blood sugar level in the blood can lead to the damage of tissues throughout the body.
- Sleep Apnea Syndrome - Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. The disorder is common among obese people due to the compression of their neck, closing the air passage to the lungs.
- Dysmetabolic Syndrome X - This syndrome is common among obese persons. It puts obese people at high risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease - a messenger to the onset of diabetes in adults.
- Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome - This syndrome is caused by abnormalities of breathing and accumulation of toxic levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.
- Respiratory Insufficiency - Obese people find it difficult to breathe during an exercise session. Also, normal activities are difficult for some of them. Respiratory insufficiency prevents obese people from doing normal physical activities and exercise.
- Heartburn - In this condition, strong acids from the stomach reaches the oesophagus - the part between the mouth and the stomach - causing a burning sensation.
- Asthma - Obesity is linked to a higher rate of asthma.
- Gallbladder disease - The condition develops much more frequently in the obese people, leading to stones in the gallbladder.
If one was to ask people to name a health problem related to obesity, chances of them mentioning a heart disease or diabetes is common. However one of the diseases that is often ignored is arthritis. Carrying too much weight on one's body directly puts more stress on their joints especially their weight-bearing joints like the knees and the hips.
When you lift more weight than you are allowed, you're inserting more force into that cartilage. "When you put more force on the cartilage, it's going to wear quicker," says Dr. Mohan Desai (Orthopaedic Surgeon, KEM hospital, Parel-Mumbai) who specializes in hip, shoulder, and knee.
A variety of studies has found connections between carrying extra body weight and having knee pain. Osteoarthritis the most common form of arthritis, takes the lives of over 15 million Indians each year.
The good news is that small lifestyle changes can make a big difference. In a recent study, overweight and obese people with knee osteoarthritis, who lost weight with diet and exercise, reduced their pain by about half. Losing weight is an important part of keeping your knees healthy. Here are five tips from Dr. Desai that can help you to keep obesity in check and consequently reducing your chance of joint problems.
1. Consult your doctor: Gaining a few pounds here and there is one thing but more than 20 kilos than your normal weight is unhealthy. Before you start heavy workouts, you need to consult an expert. If you already are already suffering from knee pain, discuss types of activities with your physician that might be safe for you. Delaying consultation with an expert doctor may make the problem worse. Not only does the joint potentially become harder to repair, but one may also do permanent and irrevocable damage to the joint.
2. Be well informed: It's important for a patient and his family to do in-depth research before opting for surgery. For people who are not ready to live a compromised life can go for total knee replacement surgery. Last few years have witnessed an outstanding change in the technology used for knee operations. Technologically advanced, Oxidized Zirconium offers long lasting knee. The material's hardness, smoothness and resistance to scratching has made it a superior metal for use in the production of knee implants. Advanced materials like this can help develop better performing, longer lasting implants. It is tested to last for 30 years in recognized labs. So, it is highly recommended prosthesis for one to have a fast and active life.
3. Exercise: Good types of physical activities to build stronger muscles for heavier people include walking, bicycling and strength training. Be more active and engage in more physical activities. Walk around while you're talking on the phone, play with your children or grandchildren, and make personal visits at work rather than using e-mail.
4. Maintain your weight: Obesity is a product of unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. You must work out every day for at least 30 min in order to combat this disease. This reduces your risk of developing osteoarthritis making you more flexible. Keep your BMI, cholesterol and weight in check.
5. Eat what is right for you: It is advisable to eat balanced meal and not switch to yo-yo diet plans. This helps in avoiding muscle tears and maintains your muscle weight. Thus provides you a holistic and healthy life.
WHO Gives Tips to Reduce Obesity
According to WHO, overweight and obesity are largely preventable. making healthy foods and standard physical activity accessible, available and affordable to the general public can reduce the burden of obesity. Supportive environments and support groups are essential for shaping people's choices on healthy food and regular physical activity.
At the individual level, people can:
- reduce the energy intake from total fats and sugars;
- increase the intake of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts;
- engage in regular physical exercise - set a target of at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
- help people follow the recommendations above with the sustained political commitment and the association of many public and private stakeholders
- make regular physical activity and healthier foods available, affordable and accessible to people of all classes in the society.
- lowering the fat, sugar and salt content of processed foods;
- making healthy and nutritious foods available and affordable to all people;
- following the responsible marketing practices recommended by the respective food regulation authorities;
- promoting regular physical activity in the workplace and among the consumers.