Don’t go with the trend. A growing number of people from all over the globe are succumbing into obesity and being overweight. It has been noted as a phenomenon that could take over the populations of the world if not averted. The World Health Organization (WHO) is among the first organizations that issued a wake-up call and campaigned to start this disease, if you can call it that. The organization reveals there are over one billion overweight adults and at least 300 million of them are obese!
With the rate rapidly growing, you got the know what are its causes and how you can educate your household and your sphere of influence so that the numbers will stop increasing.
How can we say that a person is obese or overweight?
The primary means of evaluating overweight and obesity is through the body mass index (BMI). It is the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres (kg/m2). For instance if you are a male, 35 years old, weighing 78 kg and with a height of 1.727 meters, your BMI is 26.1 kg/m2. The BMI chart of WHO and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you are overweight.
The level of obesity in UK is alarming as in other developed countries. The Health Survey for England (HSE) revealed that almost one in four adults are obese. Another predictive report by Foresight noted that if level of awareness is not raised more men, women and children would be obese by 2050! The study said based on the population count of that year, 60 percent of the men, 50 percent of the women and 25 percent of the children will have the disorder.
The problem of obesity does not only have a personal emotional, psychological, and physical impact. UK’s health department said obesity in the population can incur costs for the government. It estimates that it can reach up to £4.2 billion per year and can double in 2050.
As the proverbial saying goes “Like father, like son.” It’s a proverb that goes well if we are to describe the weight problems of the present generation. As the adult population becomes overweight of obese, the children follows suit. While one in every four adults are obese over one in 10 children aged 2-10, are obese. Another statistics from the health department revealed around 27 per cent of children are now overweight.
This can be measured through a child’s body mass index (BMI). It is calculated by using the same formula used for adults. However, adult BMI figures should never be used to predict whether a child is overweight or even obese. Specific age-adjusted charts are needed.
Based on numerous researches, the root of the problem on obesity and overweight among children is lack of exercise. Normally, the parents of these children are also couch potatoes. The parents usually develop an unhealthy habit and lifestyle. Other factors would include poor diet, too much intake of high-fat and sugary foods, genetic (inherited) conditions, and a lot of research also suggest not being breastfed could result in obesity.
Obesity in adults and children alike have serious health implications. If we are going to name a few these would include gall bladder disease, high blood pressure, high levels of fats, joint and bone problems (femoral epiphysis is an example), hypoventilation, asthma, sleep apnea and diabetes. Specifically, it develops type 2 diabetes, a form of diabetes that develops insulin resistance.
An obese or overweight child can also develop a lot of insecurities including low-self esteem. They are the children who are usually bullied, the outcast in their school or even their community. It can have profound and long-term effects on the life of the kid. Without any intervention these risks continues to snowball into adulthood.
How to prevent obesity and overweight problems
With the rising awareness on obesity and overweight problems, nutritionists , dieticians and other health experts came up with various ways to avert the phenomenon. There are two ways to look at it, treating those who are already suffering from the malady, and preventing those that have a big probability of belonging to the obese and overweight category.
The treatment of obesity starts with a visit to the doctor. Depending on the age, whether adult or child, and other circumstances revolving around the life of the person, treatment can be offered. However, consulting a physician is always necessary since complications might arise if there is a sudden change in the lifestyle. The intervention for a ten-year old child is different compared to a 30-year old adult. The changes in lifestyle should be coupled with strict monitoring.
The World Health Organization consider overweight and obesity as a noncommunicable diseases which means it is very preventable. There has to be a thorough knowledge in eating healthier foods, having regular exercise, and less inactivity.
Healthier food means capping the intake of fats and food with a lot of cholesterol. It would be helpful to read labels upon purchasing food to know the ingredients and levels of fats, cholesterol and even sugar. If possible, eat at home where you can have the freedom to tweak the ingredients for your baking, and cooking to suit your needs.
There should also be an increase in the consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts.
The exercise regime should not just be going to the gym. It can be channelled through your favourite sports and even in outdoor activities. What’s important to remember is to get out of the habit of inactivity. A regular one-hour power walk in the park everyday or a three-times a week, 20 minutes jogging can be a good start.