Obesity is a medical condition where the excess fat accumulated by the body has a negative effect on the health of the person and can even cause reduced life expectancy.
Obesity is a modern world phenomenon which is mostly caused by excess food intake and lack of physical activity. However, it can also be a genetic disorder.
The cause of the Obesity is a very important and complex issue. Weight gain and Obesity develops when energy intake (from food and drink) exceeds energy expenditure (from physical activity) over a prolonged period of time. Environmental or lifestyle factors are responsible for the majority of cases of Obesity.
Less commonly, a hormonal problem or genetic factor may predispose a person to Obesity.
Certain genes have been identified as playing a role in a person’s predisposition or resistance to Obesity, for example, the leptin gene. Some genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, and Cushing’s syndrome can cause weight gain, as can some medications (e.g. certain antidepressants).
Some hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism, PCOD, and growth hormone deficiency can result in reduced energy expenditure.
It is important to note that, to date, no single lifestyle factor has been shown to be the single cause of the increasing number of people with Obesity. Clinical studies have pointed to dietary trends, sedentary lifestyles, decreases in structured physical activity, and psychosocial stress as likely contributors to the Obesity Epidemic.
Several dietary factors have been proposed to play important roles. These include:
- The increased availability and consumption of fast foods,
- General trends toward consumption of foods that are highly processed and are high in carbohydrates and/or total calories (including sugary beverages),
- Decreased consumption of fibre and low-density foods,
- The strong marketing techniques of the fast food industry,
- Decreased participation in the structured physical activity such as group sports,
- Decreased lifestyle activity (children are being driven in the car instead of walking or riding a bicycle),
- Increased sedentary activities (particularly television viewing and computer use).
Treatment of obesity
It is a wholesome process which involves the certain change in the obese person’s lifestyle. The basic steps that need to be followed are
- Monitoring the amount of food intake
- Taking part in physical activities
- Stimulus control
- Relapse Prevention
- Non Food Rewards
Obesity in children
Obesity in children is increasingly being talked about more in many countries. The BMI index is used as a measure to determine whether a child is obese or not. Obesity in children not only poses a physical challenge but an emotional challenge as well.
The long-term physical effects of obesity in children can be the sleep disorder, high blood pressure, heart problems and even cancer. The psychological impact is mostly due to teasing by their peers which causes low self-esteem. Some are even harassed by their own families. This usually leads to depression.
- Obesity affects the heart in a very bad way. As the BMI increases the heart tends to be affected by CHD or coronary heart disease where the arteries get blocked by wax-like substance called plaque. Plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart muscle. This can cause angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) or a heart attack. (Angina is chest pain or discomfort). Obesity also can lead to heart failure. This is a serious condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Other effects can be high blood pressure which causes too much pressure on the veins and arteries.
- Exercise and physical activity should be encouraged throughout childhood and adolescence and into adulthood. Encourage your child to make exercise and physical activity a part of every single day.
- Discourage your child from spending too much time on sedentary activities such as watching television and playing computer games.
The ditch on these foods… here is a list of foods that you need to cut down on:
– Fast foods: Burgers, pizzas, carbonated beverages, noodles and many more are junk foods low in nutritional values and high in sodium, sugar and preservatives. They disturb your body’s metabolism, digestion, liver and heart functions.
– Sugary foods: Young people especially children have a weakness for sugary soft drinks, chocolates, ice creams and other items that have absolute high-calorie content. They contribute drastically in embracing diabetes and blocking arteries.
– Refined grains: Our body requires a substantial amount of fibre which one can derive from grains’ covering or husk. Consuming refined grains especially white rice and wheat flour increases obesity and health problems.
– Oil and ghee: Harmful effects of unsaturated fats are obvious for those who are already overweight or who give little or no time for physical activities due to busy work schedule and other problems.
If you need help managing your obesity and diet, reach us here.
11th October is World Obesity Day.