Obesity is a state in which there is generalised accumulation of excess adipose tissue in the body, leading to more than 20% of the required body weight.
Factors responsible for obesity:
- Hereditary: Although genetically, the child is not determined to be obese, yet obesity in parents influences obesity in the child owing to the the food habits of parents.
- Social and cultural: People in the upper economic strata tend to be more obese mainly due to their rich food intake and luxurious lifestyle, which involves minimum physical activity.
- Emotional: The correlation between obesity and emotional factors has been well established. Overeating may result from boredom, loneliness or a sense of social rejection.
Body Mass Index (BMI): BMI is a common measure expressing the relationship of weight and height. It is a mathematical formula in which a person’s body weight in kilos is divided by the square of her/his weight in metres (i.e. wt/(ht)2).
Grades of obesity:
GRADE 1: People having a BMI of more than 25 but less than 29.9.
GRADE 2: BMI is between 30 and 39.9.
GRADE 3: BMI is above 40.
Causes of obesity:
- Excess weight and obesity are a result of energy imbalance over a long period of time.
- An energy imbalance arises when the number of calories consumed is greater than the number of calories used by the body.
- Weight gain usually involves the combination of consuming too many calories and not expending enough through physical activity, although weight gain could result from one or the other.
Health consequences of obesity:
- Mechanical disabilities like osteoarthritis, gout, hernia and pulmonary disease
- Cardiovascular problems like stroke and cardiovascular disease
- Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Gall-bladder disease
- Psychological disturbances
Dietary guidelines for obesity:
- Eat more fibre. Fibre gives you a satiated feeling, helping you to curb food cravings. It also keeps your colon healthy and aids in proper digestion.
- Skip the low-fat food products. Most of the low-fat, processed foods in grocery stores are typically high-carb foods that are loaded with sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners and synthetic fat substitutes.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits. Not only are they a good source of fibre, but they also contain many naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and amino acids necessary for maintaining optimal health and weight.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Fasting activates the starvation response, slowing your metabolism and increasing the chances that excess fat will be stored to fuel your nutrient-depleted body.
- Eat frequent meals. Eating five to six small meals throughout the day helps to speed up your metabolism. On the other hand, eating large meals only once or twice a day will actually slow it down.
- Keep a note of your eating pattern.
- Exercise daily for 45 minutes.
- Drink 2 – 3 litres of water daily.