The topic obesity is a huge one and researchers have done a lot of work (and are still working) around this topic to give us the best.
There is an african mentality(from where i come from)which makes africans want to gain weight, and the mentality is that ‘if a person is fat, it shows that the person is well-off/rich and that it is an evidence of good living, but if a person is slim and of normal weight (they are looked down on), and it shows that the person has not made it in life or is poor.
But this is not so because, if you have too much body fat compared to your height and sex, then you can be considered to be obese. The most common way to measure your weight is to calculate your body mass index (BMI).This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared.
If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are over the ideal weight for your height (overweight).
If your BMI is between 30 and 39.9, you are obese.
If your BMI is over 40, you are very obese (known as ‘morbidly obese’).
The higher a person’s BMI, the greater the risk of contracting diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, and some cancers like breast and colon cancers.
The world health organization (WHO) calls obesity one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century with the UK second to the US in terms of statistics.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF OBESITY
Weight gain is the main symptom. People who become obese are already overweight. There are health problems associated with obesity, some of which are: high cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, asthma, osteoarthritis (pain in the joint), chronic back pain and heart disease.
Other physical symptoms are sugar cravings, stomach pain, intolerance to heat and cold, and headache.
EFFECTS OF OBESITY
The effects of obesity are:
Lack of concentration e.t.c.
To prevent obesity, we need to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
The Institute of Medicine has just released the first of a series of reports on obesity in children under the age of five, and found that in the 2- to-5 age group, one in every five (20%), is now overweight or obese.
Therefore, it is very important for parents to set the right example for their children from an early age because obese children are likely to be obese in later life.
In 2008, nearly a quarter of adults (over 16years) in England were obese (with BMI over 30). 32% of women were overweight (with BMI between 25-30), and 40% of men were overweight. One in six boys and one in seven (aged 2-15 years) girls in England were obese in 2008. A scientific report (Foresight Report) which guides government policy has predicted that by 2025, nearly half of men and over a third of women will be obese.
The first thing after we have checked our BMI is to accept we are obese, and then we can look for a solution. I have met obese people who will not just accept that they are obese.
Waist measurement may also be taken (in the process to treat obesity). This is because, if two people have the same BMI , the one with the bigger waist measurement is more likely to develop health problems as a result of being overweight. If you are a man, your chance of developing health problems is higher if your waist measurement is more than 94cm (37inches) and higher if it is more than 102cm (40inches). If you are a woman, your chance of developing health problems is higher if your waist measurement is more than 80cm (31.5inches), and higher if it is more than 88cm (34.5inches).
Obesity is treated by losing weight through a calorie-controlled diet and increased exercise so as to improve our general quality of life physically and psychologically (e.g. losing weight could help us improve our self-esteem, or sleep better).
To treat obesity, you should visit your GP who will give you advice on the type of diet and exercise that will benefit you or that you can follow safely.
Surgery is also used to treat obesity.
Snacking on fruits and not on sweets and chocolates, as well as using food labels to make healthier choices when food shopping could be used to cut down on our calorie intake.
Medication is used for adults e.g. is ‘orlistat’ which works by blocking the action of an enzyme (a protein that speeds-up and controls chemical reactions in the body) that is used to digest fat. The undigested fat is not absorbed into our body and is passed out with our feaces (stools). As we absorb less fat, we lose weight.
In conclusion, cutting down on our calorie intake and regular exercise will enable us to be far from being obese, and thus enjoy good health.
Written by Elizabeth Animashaun
1) Links to science
Carter PJ, Taylor BJ, Williams SM, Taylor RW, longitudinal analysis of sleep in relation to BMI and body fat in children.
Accessed: 10th July 2011
2) Preventing Obesity, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/pages/obesityprevention.aspx
Accessed: 7th July 2011
3) Robert S. Wieder, for Calorielab Calorie Counter News, ‘childhood obesity, diet and food media, diet tips, obesity research and studies, obesity statistics, snacks, sociology and environment.
Posted on 7th July 2011, Accessed: 7thg July 2011
4) Treating Obesity, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/pages/treatment.aspx
Accessed: 6th July 2011
5) What is Obesity, http://www.benefitsnow.co.uk/health/obdef.asf
Accessed: 10th July 2011