Obesity – an Unrelenting Opponent


We in the 21st century have come to fear one adjective more than any other – obese! Modern lifestyles, coupled with a relative absence of physical exercise have made us uncomfortably familiar with this dreaded nemesis.

Obesity is the condition used to describe a person who is overweight and carries a lot of body fat. It is one of the most common problems, especially in the first world countries, with as many as one in every four people being obese.

While it is quite hard to accurately define obesity, the most common method of diagnosing it is to measure the BMI or Body Mass Index of a person. BMI is the measure of whether the weight and height of an individual are in proportion.

For an average adult, a BMI of between 18 and 25 means healthy, while a BMI score that crosses 30 depicts obesity. A BMI of 40 and more indicates a very high risk and requires immediate remedy.

However, there are cases, when the BMI as an indicator is not enough as a high BMI score can also reflect high muscle and bone weight. In such cases, measuring the circumference of the waist offers a good yardstick. If the waist circumference of an adult male exceeds 37 inches (94 centimeters), then there is a high risk of obesity.


Causes of Obesity:

The primary cause of obesity is a mismatch between the amount of calories consumed and the amount that is burnt off. Modern sedentary lifestyles often result in diets that are very high in sugar and fatty substances and when coupled with a lifestyle that is devoid of physical exercise, obesity is the natural consequence.

However, there are also certain health condition such as an under-active thyroid gland (Hypothyroidism) that can lead to uncontrolled weight gain and thus obesity.


Risks of Obesity:

Obesity can lead to a lot of significant health hazards and if not treated can even have life threatening consequences. Obese people are at a higher risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart diseases. Certain types of cancers such as breast cancer and bowel cancer are also caused on account of obesity. Obese people are also at a higher risk of suffering from a sudden stroke.

According to the World Health Organisation, obesity as a problem is on the rise with close to a billion people being affected worldwide, with 300 million of those who are critically obese. This is not a problem that is restricted to the first world any more but is becoming rampant in the developing countries as well, especially among the youth.


How to treat Obesity?

The best tactic to combat obesity is adopting a healthier lifestyle. Make sure that your diet includes lots of fibrous fruits and vegetables and is low on fatty substances.

Since Obesity often goes hand in hand with diabetes, sugar intakes should also be regularized. In case the problem has become clinical, consult a medical practitioner and a good dietician.

The following steps can help control obesity:

Eat a balanced fibre rich, low calorie diet and regularly consult a good dietician. Exercise regularly for up to 1 – 2 hours a day and involve a lot of walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and other forms of cardiovascular activities. Consult a good psychologist if you need help and support with your weight loss program. In case of sudden and drastic weight gain, it is important to consult a good clinician and undergo a thorough medical examination to ensure that the problem is not hormonal.


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