Obesity is known to be a disease, when your body fat percentage is more than normal.
Obesity is a complex multifactoral disease involving environment, family history and genetics, metabolism, behavior or habits and more.
Even though genetic and hormonal factors are not under human control, obesity can be best prevented by a healthy life style which includes consumption of optimum calories and increase activity to the maximum.
Reaching and staying at healthy weight is a long term challenge for people who are overweight or obese. But it is also the chance to lower your risk for other serious health problems.
Scientifically approved treatment and commitment will be successful in lowering and maintaining weight and thereby lowering your long term disease risk.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO OBESITY?
- Excess calorie intake: - Even though it is thought that increased calories “in” and less calories “out” can treat obesity, it rarely happens .However reduction in calorie consumption is always beneficial.
- Sedentary lifestyle: - sedentary lifestyle not only leads to overweight and obesity but also raises your risk to coronary heart disease, increased BP , diabetes, colonic cancer and many other health problems.
- Environmental factors:- westernization in consuming high calorie food , and westernization in every type including use of internet, comfort, etc is the major contribution to the pandemic of obesity.
- Genetic factors: - Family history of diabetes and obesity does predispose the siblings to have the same disease. Genetics affect the body fat composition and distribution. Indians are more prone to have more fat even at a lower BMI and a typically prone for central / truncal obesity. Hence truncal obesity is known to contribute to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease then just obesity alone.
- Endocrine factors contributing to obesity: - Various endocrine factors like Cushing’s need to be investigated in a patient with a morbid obesity before initiating treatment. Even though hypothyroidism is known to increase weight, the effects are known to reverse once the thyroid function is reverted to normal. However it is important to understand and explain that hypothyroidism when treated is rarely a cause for severe obesity.
- Medications: - Certain medications like corticosteroids, antidepressants, seizure medicines can induce weight gain and hence patient should be counseled to take necessary preventive measures while taking such medicines.
- Depression and emotional eating: Both these are known to provoke weight gain. However published reports suggest that surgical treatment of obesity can improve depression and such behavior.
- Ageing: - hormonal changes are known to decrease your lean body mass. Hence increase in activity is recommended as age advances.
- Lack of sleep: - research shows lack of sleep increases risk of obesity. Sleep helps in maintain a healthy balance of hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin) .Lack of sleep results in higher levels of blood sugars also and may increase your risk for diabetes.
WHO IS AT RISK OF GETTING OVERWEIGHT & OBESE?
Overweight and obesity affect people of all ages, sexes and racial/ethnic groups. This serious health problem has been growing over the last 30 years to reach almost an epidemic. Among Asian adults 76% of women & 74 % of men are overweight. This problem has not spared the children and teenagers also. Obesity has tripled among school children and teenagers, 1 in 6 between age 2 to 19 are either overweight or obese.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS YOU CAN GAUGE FOR YOURSELF.
- Cloths fitting tight and needing larger size.
- Scale showing you have gained weight
- Having extra fat around waist
- Higher than normal BMI & waist circumference
- Onset of diabetes , hypertension , dyslipidemia
- Joint pains
WHAT IS BMI ?
BMI is body mass index it is calculated as below
BMI = Weight in Kgs / ( Height in meters)2
Asian consensus of BMI (JAPI Feb 2009)
- 18 to 22.9 : Normal
- 23 to 24.9 : Overweight
- >25: Obese
WHERE TO FIND SOLUTION FOR THIS DISEASE?
You should seek treatment at expert obesity clinics with multidisciplinary team of
- Registered dietician
- Exercise physiologist
- Bariatric surgeon
- Clinical social worker.