Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Don’t let obesity get in the weigh of your fun!
Obesity, a major problem worldwide, is considered to be a global epidemic. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), worldwide, obesity has more than doubled since 1980. Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight, affecting adults and children alike. The good news is that it is a preventable disease.
Obesity Risk in Indians
According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015-16,obesity may be the next major health challenge in the country. One-fifth of Indian women, or 20.7 per cent to be precise, in the age group of 15-49 are overweight, which is a shocking quantum jump from 12.6 from 2005-06 when the last NFHS (NFHS-3) was conducted. It is nearly a 60% jump. As per the survey, as much as 18.6 per cent of men (15-49 years) are obese – up from 9.3 in 2005-06, the proportion of overweight men have doubled over the last 10 years.
What is obesity?
Overweight and obesity is defined as the excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat that can impair health. Commonly classified by the body mass index (BMI), which is a simple index of weight-for-height. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms which is divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).
WHO defines obesity as:
- Overweight: BMI greater than or equal to 25
- Obesity: BMI greater than or equal to 30.
Children under 5 years of age
- Overweight: weight-for-height greater than 2 standard deviations above WHO Child Growth Standards median
- Obesity: is weight-for-height greater than 3 standard deviations above the WHO Child Growth Standards median.
Children aged between 5-19 years
- Overweight : weight-for-height greater than 2 standard deviations above WHO Child Growth Standards median; and
- Obesity: weight-for-height greater than 3 standard deviations above the WHO Child Growth Standards median.
What causes obesity?
The most common causes of obesity are:
Obesity is believed to have a very strong genetic component. It has been seen that offspring’s of obese parents are more likely to become obese as compared to offspring’s of lean parents.
- Sedentary lifestyle
Physical inactivity is a major cause of many lifestyle problems; obesity being one of them. A slower metabolic rate along with sitting for more than 9-10 hours per day has increased the risk of being obese. Busy schedules with almost zero physical activity have been a major factor.
- Junk food & Food addiction
One of the biggest factor that leads to obesity is consumption of junk food. The highly engineered junk foods can cause powerful stimulation of the reward centers in our brains. These foods can be addictive and because of that people continue munching them. Addiction is supposed to be a complex issue with a biological basis that can be very difficult to overcome.
- Certain medications
There are certain medicines that can cause weight gain as a side effect, few of the common examples of these are diabetes medication, antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc.
Health problems due to Obesity
Obesity mostly causes a person’s body weight to be 20% more than what is considered to be the normal weight for a person height. The common health problems caused by obesity are as follows:
How to prevent Obesity?
Obesity is a preventable disease that can also be reversed if taken care of. Few simple changes in the lifestyle including dietary and physical activity can save us from all the above mentioned complications. Here are few does and don’ts:
- You can fight obesity by having food that is low on fat, like salads, pulses, oats, etc.
- Having small and frequent meals every few hours instead of three huge meals.
- Practice breathing exercises every day, this can help in stimulating digestive power and metabolic processes keeping a person fit physically and mentally.
- Try to control the cravings for food that are high in refined carbohydrates and fats like bread, dairy products, fast food and processed food.
- Try to increase the intake of more of citrus fruits like oranges and grapes as they help in dispensing fats.
- Include food rich in Vitamin B12 in the diet.
- Avoid alcohol which is high in calories and also stimulates hunger.
- It is important to drink warm or lukewarm water mostly. This helps in stimulating metabolism and also quenches thirst.
- Exercising is very important to keep oneself active
- Ensure adequate sleep of at least 7-8 hours for a day.
- One should not skip their meals as they trick the body into storing more fat.
- Avoid overeating.
- Avoid late night eating and do not change your meal times very often.
- Do not stress out in trying to lose weight. It will just reverse the efforts.
No one wants to be overweight or obese, so follow the above mentioned things in your daily lifestyles to prevent obesity or being overweight.