Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may cause negative effects to one’s health. Obese people are more prone to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and stroke. 39% of adults are considered to be overweight worldwide. A study in Dar s Salaam has shown that majority of the obese people, are unaware of their condition.
BMI & Obesity
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a useful tool in categorizing a patient as Obese or not. It is calculated by taking the subject’s weight and dividing it by the square of their height. Generally, A BMI of above 25 and above 30 is when a person is considered to be overweight & obese respectively.
Obesity & Other Diseases
Obesity is a common risk factor for numerous diseases, some of which are;
– Ischemic heart disease – Cellulitis – Diabetes mellitus – Stroke
– Congestive heart failure – Intertrigo – Infertility – Depression
Causes of Obesity
Obesity can be caused by numerous factors including; genetics, hormonal, insufficient sleep, medications, pregnancy or an underlying medical condition. However, the major cause for obesity is an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. A lot of people eat an unhealthy diet which is full of fat and high in calories. This combined with a lot of inactivity, less or no exercise leads in the buildup of the fat stores in the body and the increase in calories leading to obesity over time.
Prevention of Obesity
- Dietary Changes
- Behavioral Changes
Dietary changes are the key towards losing weight. A diet full of healthy foods and low on fats is a good start. It is advisable to meet a dietician and reduce the calorie intake. Generally, a reduction of 1,200 to 1,500 calories in a diet is recommended. Another way to reduce calorie intake is having foods with low energy density, these are foods that have large volume and low calories in proportion such as; fruits and vegetables. Avoiding full-fat foods and foods high in carbohydrate will also help reduce the total calorie intake drastically.
Exercise is a key factor and lack of it is what causes obesity in many people. Obese people need to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. This includes; brisk walking, swimming and dancing. Small changes like using the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to the nearest local store instead of taking a bike would also aid in burning calories.
Behavioral changes are mostly overlooked upon but are important in losing weight. Scheduling time for exercise and getting enough time to sleep are all key factors. Late-night eating should be discontinued. Some people end up over-eating due to stress and depression. Many children have the bad habit of eating full-fat foods such as cheese crisps and fried potato crisps while watching television – this causes obesity in many children. Hence, this behavior should be discouraged and replaced with better eating habits. The help of a counsellor and support groups should be taken to help with emotional and behavioral factors related to eating.