Obesity |Status, Causes, Complication and Preventive Measures
Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair the health condition.
Facts about obesity
- Most of the world’s population live in countries where obesity kills more people than overweight.
- Obesity is preventable.
- In case of adult, obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30.
- In case of children, obesity is weight for height greater than 3 standard deviation above WHO Child Growth Standard median.
- In 2016, about 13% of the world’s adult population were obese (11% of men and 15% of women)
- Prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016 worldwide.
Obesity status of Nepal
According to the data of World Bank, prevalence of obesity in the age group above 18 years in Nepal was reported to be 2.7% According to the CIA World Factbook, the prevalence rate of obesity in adult was found to be 4.1% in 2016. Problem of obesity is growing in urban areas of Nepal. As per NDHS 2016, obesity increases with wealth and food security. 32% of men in the highest wealth quintile was found to be obese compared to 5% in the lowest wealth quintile. Same data was observed in the case of women, 45% in the highest wealth quintile was found to be obese compared to 10% in the lowest wealth quintile. As seen in the case of food secure houses, 27% were found to be obese as compared to 16% in moderately and severely food insecure household respectively.
Cause of obesity
The average physically active man needs about 2500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, a women needs 2000 calories a day to maintain it. Many people are not physically active so lots of calories they consume gets stored in the body as fat.
b) Poor diet
Eating large amounts of processed or fast foods, drinking too much alcohol, eating larger portions of food than required, drinking too many sugary drinks, consuming a lot of food when a person is depressed or is having a low self esteem are some of the examples of poor diet.
c) Lack of physical activity
Many people have jobs done while sitting at a desk, rely on cars rather than walking or cycling, choose video games to play rather than other physical activity which leads to obesity due to lack of physical activity.
Some rare genetic conditions can cause obesity such as Prader-Willi syndrome. It may be true that certain genetic traits inherited from parents such as having a large appetite may make losing weight more difficult, but it certainly does not make it impossible to lose weight.
e) Medical reasons
Some underlying medical conditions such as Underactive thyroid gland (a condition where thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones), Cushing’s syndrome (a rare disorder that cause the over production of steroid hormones), if they are treated in time, weight loss is possible.
- Heart disease and strokes: Obesity increases blood pressure and cholesterol level, which are risk for heart disease and strokes.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Obesity affects the way our body uses insulin to control blood sugar levels. This increases risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
- Cancer: Obesity may increase risk of the uterus, cervix, endometrial, ovary, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, pancreas, kidney, gallbladder and prostate.
- Digestive problems: Obesity may increase the chance to develop heartburn, gallbladder disease and liver problems.
- Gynecological and sexual problems: Obesity may cause irregular periods and infertility in women. It can cause erectile dysfunction in men.
- Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is likely to be seen in obese people. It is a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
- Osteoarthritis: Obesity increases the stress placed on weight bearing joints which promote inflammation within the body. This may lead to complications such as osteoarthritis.
- Severe COVID- 19 symptoms: Obesity increases the risk of developing severe symptoms if we are infected with COVID-19. People with severe cases of COVID-19, may require treatment in ICU or even mechanical assistance is required to breathe.
Preventive measures for Obesity
1) Follow a healthy eating plan
Low calorie, nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be consumed. Saturated fat and limit of sweet and alcohol is important. Three meal a day with limited snacking is a healthy diet plan.
2) Exercise regularly
150 to 300 minute of moderate intensity activity a week is required to prevent weight gain. Moderately intense physical activities includes fast walking and swimming.
3) Monitor weight regularly
People who weigh themselves at least once a week are more successful in keeping weight in limit. Monitoring can tell us whether our efforts are working or not.
4) Be consistent
Sticking to healthy weight plan during the whole week and amid vacation, holidays increases chances of long term success to lose weight.
5) Know and avoid food traps that cause to eat more
Identifying the situations that triggers out of control eating is helpful. Maintaining a written diary where notes of what, when, how food is consumed is additional help.
-Esther Budha Magar ,Public Health Student