Obesity- Battling the Bulge

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  July 18, 2008 at 7:14 PM Lifestyle and Wellness
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Let us for a minute rest our mind's eye on the svelte beauties, sashaying down fashion ramps. These women, who are the cynosure of all eyes, are widely acknowledged as beauty epitomized. A closer look reveals a fantasyland where all double chins are discretely tucked  and every 'bulge' erased. It is a deification of beauty of the 'lean' kind.... the kind that rules contemporary world.  'THIN is, most definitely, IN'! 

Obesity is a condition in which a person weighs more than he really should. In simple terms, being 'obese' means having excess of body fat.

Obesity is no longer the 'pride of America'. It has become a global phenomenon with many in the developing countries too 'battling with the bulge'. This has serious implications particularly in India, where a person in every four is a diabetic. Childhood obesity too has raised grave concerns world- wide.

Fat is an important component of the human body. Among its several vital functions, it insulates, and is also acknowledged as a great source of energy. However, when it accumulates in excess, it begins to have a negative impact on the individual's health.

Factors such as genetics and family history determine the 'size' of the individual.  Women are likely to be more obese than men and older people are at a greater risk of weight gain compared to younger individuals.

Besides physical discomfort, an obese individual is at a risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, depression, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, fertility- related problems and several other  maladies. Therefore to be slim and trim is not a mere cosmetic compulsion; it is the 'need of the hour'.

Obesity- Battling the Bulge
Obesity- Battling the Bulge

It will be interesting to find out why some people have weighty issues. Delving into the reasons, it emerges that consuming more calories than what is burnt is the primary reason for being obese. Genetic factors and other causes listed below are implicated in aggravating man's 'bulky' problems.

Diet/Low activity- Soft drinks and fast food, which top the high -calorie list, are now perceived as a 'quick-fix' to all problems. This, coupled with a sedentary life, is a 'one-way ticket' to ' obese land'.

• Pregnancy is a time when women gain weight and some find it difficult to shed the fat after delivery.

• Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome and other metabolic conditions may make an individual obese. Diseases, such as arthritis, can also contribute to weight gain in an individual.

• Giving up smoking can result in weight gain in some people

Medications, like tricyclic antidepressants and corticosteroids, can contribute to weight gain.

Seeing Red...

It is a clear sign of danger if -

• A person's BMI is more than 30. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the weight- height ratio that helps to evaluate a person's health risks. A value greater than 30 indicates obesity and is a cause for alarm.

• A person has an 'apple- shaped' body. This means that the person has a large waist size indicating increased abdominal fat and a propensity to develop obesity -related disorders. The ideal waist size for women should not be more than 35 inches while for men it should not exceed 40 inches.

• There is a family history of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea. These are clear signs for an individual to keep a constant vigil over his weight.

Managing Obesity

The best way to a great start would be to replace any feeling of shame or remorse with a raring- to- go, positive attitude. This will ensure a smoother stride toward a 'fat-free' goal.

A low-fat, low-sugar diet is a sensible way to kick-start obesity management. It is important not to overdo 'dieting' as it can lead to complications. Obesity management should aim to make a person healthier. Even a small weight loss can bring about an enormous change in the life of an individual.

For the morbidly obese, anti-obesity prescription pills, non- invasive treatments and weight-loss surgeries, like the gastric by-pass, are the available options.

An excellent choice is to take a leaf from the life-book of the ants and the bees and try to keep oneself  largely active. Bringing about a conscious change in one's lifestyle by changing it from a sedentary to a more proactive one will take an individual in leaps and bounds towards a healthy existence.

Source: Medindia

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