Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and increased health problems.
Body mass index (BMI), a measurement which compares weight and height, defines people as overweight (pre-obese) when their BMI is between 25 kg/m2 and 30 kg/m2, and obese when it is greater than 30 kg/m2.
BMI is calculated by the formula:
BMI = kilograms / meters2
Hazards of obesity?
Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties during sleep, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
Why do people become obese?
People become obese for several reasons, including:
1. Consuming too many calories.
People eating much more than they used to.
2. Leading a sedentary lifestyle.
With the arrival of televisions, computers, video games, remote controls, washing machines, dish washers and other modern convenience devices, the majority of people are leading a much more sedentary lifestyle compared to their parents and grandparents.
The less you move around the fewer calories you burn. However, this is not only a question of calories. Physical activity has an effect on how your hormones work, and hormones have an effect on how your body deals with food. Several studies have shown that physical activity has a beneficial effect on your insulin levels - keeping them stable. Unstable insulin levels are closely associated with weight gain.
3. Not sleeping enough.
If you do not sleep enough your risk of becoming obese doubles.Sleep deprivation may lead to obesity through increased appetite as a result of hormonal changes. If you do not sleep enough you produce Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. Lack of sleep also results in your body producing less Leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.
4. Endocrine disruptors, such as some foods that interfere with lipid metabolism.
A fructose (a type of sugar) in beverages may alter lipid energy metabolism and cause fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.
Fructose is mainly metabolized in the liver, the target organ of the metabolic alterations caused by the consumption of this sugar.
5. Lower rates of smoking (smoking suppresses appetite).
Not everyone gains weight when they stop smoking. Among people who do, the average weight gain is between 3-4kgs. Roughly 10 percent of people who stop smoking gain a large amount of weight – 15kg or more.
6. Medications that make patients put on weight.
7. Psychiatric conditions like – compulsive eating, depression, stress, anxiety trigger eating as a physical manifesting of emotional pain.
What is the Treatment?
Common Obesity Treatments have two objectives:
1. To achieve a healthy weight.
2. To maintain that healthy weight.
These are achieved by:
1. Dietary changes according to lifestyle and medical status.
2. Introduction of exercises routine as per lifestyle and medical status.
3. Prescription of medications for weight loss.- specially in people with BMI above 30, hypertension, sleep apnea and when other strategies have failed.
4. Weight loss surgery- bariatric surgery.
What Obesity Treatment forget to target:
Most common obesity treatments, specially diet and exercise fail to trigger positive results even after multiple attempts. The reason being, that they just look at reducing the fat content in the body. They fault in understanding that the definition of health means physical, social and mental wellbeing.
Most treatments don’t target, the social and mental well being of an individual. They live under the blind believe that once the physical self of a person improves, his or her social and mental outlook will automatically change.
1. Self-image - most people who suffer from obesity have a decreased self-image. They constantly compare themselves with others. As they lose weight, they keep comparing themselves with others. Since there is no end to the comparison, they soon give up on the long term benefits of diets and exercise.
2. Motivation - The biggest critic of a person is the society. Overweight people are constantly reminded that by those near them. As they lose weight, they are always reminded of the extra mile they have to travel rather than a compliment for the mile they have crossed.
This decreases motivation at an exponential rate.
3. Concious - Unconcious battle- Many overweight individuals have taken up to increased dietary intake and decreased exercise due to stress, anxiety and emotional pain. Even with exercise and diets, they don’t find any support to vent out this pain. Eventually the unconscious mind keeps triggering their brain to produce hormones that increase appetite and obesity.