Contributed by- Dr. Snehal Singh
Did you know that obesity is a medical condition? As per WHO there are more obese people than underweight, obesity is indeed a global epidemic. Obesity can lead to various health issues and complications. One in five Indians is either overweight or obese.
Our unhealthy lifestyle is a major culprit behind those extra kilos and increasing waistline. Gluttony is a major sin and most of us fall victim to it almost everyday. No good comes out of obesity; being overweight will only make you sick sooner or later. Being overweight completely shatters your self confidence and everyday is a battle. There are several obesity myths that defines how we feel about obesity and obese people. These myths are often used as excuses by many.
It is time to separate fact from the fiction. So, let us debunk the obesity myths and make a start towards healthy living.
Myth 1 – I am a healthy obese
What does healthy obese mean? Am I a healthy obese person? Are you wondering the same thing? Well you are not alone. Recently the concept of healthy obese has become really popular. This supports the belief that it is okay for people to be obese, as long as they are healthy. But is that true? Are obese people really healthy? Or it is just an excuse.
Fact – The concept of healthy obese is a big fat lie. If your weight is much more than required, it does increase your risk of obesity and other lifestyle problems. Obesity makes you much more prone to heart problems. Also, an active but fat person may have many underlying health issues. Obesity is in itself a disease, it is an alarming condition and healthy obese is a myth. Let’s not get stuck with such excuses and risk our health and life.
Myth 2 – Chubby children have baby fat, will outgrow it
We all love those chubby rosy cheeks. But it is also important to pay attention and make sure that the kid does not grow into an obese adult. Childhood chubbiness or extra weight should not be ignored as all kids do not over grow the baby fat.
Kids nowadays spend most of their time in front of the television or surfing internet, they are also fond of all kinds of junk food which are a major source of unhealthy lifestyle. It is important to encourage your child to eat healthy and home made food. As a parent it is necessary to recognise the signs of obesity and fight them on time.
Fact – Chubbiness needs to be dealt properly and timely to prevent obesity in children. An appropriate diet and active lifestyle is important even for children to stay fit and healthy. Encourage your kids to participate in physical activities and play outdoors as staying active is the key to a healthy life. Try to inculcate healthy eating habits in your kids from the very start, fun yet nutritious recipes are a great option. Do not overindulge your kids instead teach them the value of healthy lifestyle.
Myth 3 – Breastfeeding protects kids against obesity
Breast milk is extremely essential, it has various nutrients which are necessary for a child’s health. Breast feeding has innumerable benefits for the baby and the mother as well. A lot of people advocate the belief that breastfeeding can also protect the kid against obesity. Is it true?
Fact – Breast feeding can not defend or protect a child against obesity. Only healthy lifestyle and good diet can do the trick. Although breast feeding is a blessing for kids and is highly advisable it does not play any role in protecting against obesity.
Myth 4 – Eating more causes weight gain
If you eat more you will be more fat. The quantity of your meal size defines how fat you are. A fat person will always eat more. Well it is time to bust the most common obesity myth. Eating more does not always lead to more weight gain. What you eat is more important than how much you eat.
Fact – It is not the quantity but the quality of foods that matters. Infact starving and skipping meals can cause obesity. Timely meals, type of foods and the portion size plays a major role in fighting obesity. People who consume fat burning foods, eat more often and yet lose weight. A balance between what you eat and what you burn is important. The amount of calorie intake matters, thus healthy foods like fruits, salads, foods high in fiber will only boost your digestive system and help you stay fit. Avoid processed food, oily or spicy food as they are a major source of obesity.
Myth 5 – Obesity is hereditary, so blame your genes
Obesity is genetic and can be transferred through generations. It is a general belief that your genes define your looks and also your size. Well, it is not always true. It is not always necessary that obese parents will have obese children.
Fact – Genetics can be a contributing factor, but your lifestyle says it all. You are obese not because obesity runs in the family but because no one runs in the family. Healthy lifestyle is the answer, if you stay active and eat right nothing can stop you from staying fit.
Myth 6 – Only obese people are prone to high cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is the fatty substance present in our blood and too much cholesterol poses serious risks of heart and cardiovascular diseases. It is often considered that only obese people have high cholesterol or are more prone to it. This is not at all true.
Fact – High cholesterol levels can be due to various reasons; obesity is just one of them. Not all obese have high cholesterol and not all those who have high cholesterol are obese. Nobody can eat whatever they want and stay healthy. Anybody can have high cholesterol thus it is really important to get your cholesterol checked regularly.
Myth 7 – An obese person is inactive as well
Its is a common notion that a fat person has to lazy, dull and inactive. Don’t we all have a family member or friend who instead of being fat does a lot of work involving physical activity. So, we cannot really define that an obese person will always be lazy.
Fact – Let us not confuse between obesity and lethargy. Lethargy and laziness are the culprits behind lesser physical activity not obesity. Obesity can be due several reasons and lack of physical activity may not always be the reason. An obese person can be active and also work towards losing weight with the correct life choices and determination. Did you know that lack of exercise kills more people than obesity? It is important to workout regardless of weight or size. Lack of physical activity is not an option if you want to live healthy.
Myth 8 – All obese people are more prone to diabetes
Diabetes is a serious health disorder that affects a majority of population. Regardless of the weight anybody can be diabetic and it is important get yourself checked regularly. Obesity is one of the risk factors of diabetes but not all obese are diabetic.
Fact – Diabetes has its own set of causes and risk factors and can be seen in lean people too. Being fat does not mean that you will eventually acquire diabetes. Being physically active and following a healthy lifestyle is more important to reduce such health risks. Know your risk of diabetes with regular bloods glucose tests to ensure good health and stop disregarding the other risk factors.
Myth 9 – Dairy products lead to obesity
Diary products are basically all the foods produced from milk. Since childhood we have been advised to consume milk and diary products daily. So are our mothers and grandmothers wrong? Does diary products really make us fat? It is really important to bust this obesity myth.
Fact – Dairy is rich in protein, calcium and other essential nutrients, which should not be missed. In fact, for many, the right type of dairy helps to lose weight. It is important to monitor the amount of diary intake rather than blaming it for the extra kilos and increasing paunch. Over indulgence of anything can be harmful. Modify the forms of diary intake in your diet but do not eliminate them completely.
Obesity is a rising problem that needs to be dealt in time. In addition to an appropriate diet and exercise plan, obesity treatment may also include the use of prescribed weight loss medications and weight loss surgeries for those who are extremely obese or when other methods of weight loss have failed.
It is best to prevent obesity in both adults and children. In order to prevent obesity we need to combine a healthy diet with daily physical exercises:
- Ideally, our diet should be low in calories, while avoiding saturated fats and simple sugars. It is important to have balanced meals that include the required calories in the healthiest form.
- It is best to include complex carbs and high fiber foods, lean protein or meat, low fat milk and milk products and plenty of fruits and vegetables in our diet.
- Drinking plenty of water helps to maintain hydration and also flushes toxins out of our body.
It is also important to avoid junk and processed or refined foods, sugary drinks and other food items. Similarly, daily exercises not only help burn excess calories and fat, but also keeps our body strong and supple. Simple physical activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or aerobics can be performed for at least 30 to 40 mins a day. Other full body exercises can also be performed, is possible.
People who are very obese and those having health problems should begin exercising only after medical advice. Prevention and treatment of conditions that can cause obesity is extremely important. Such factors must be treated with timely medical advice and monitored with necessary laboratory investigations.
Considering all the facts, even if a person is not suffering from any disorder, it is better to avoid being obese. Instead of falling prey to any obesity myth, let us understand the causes of obesity and learn ways to prevent or treat it.
Eat right! Be more active! Healthy living is the wisest way to live.