World Obesity Day was launched in 2015 with the goal of stimulating and supporting practical solutions to help people achieve a healthy body weight. The theme for this year’s campaign (2017) is ‘treat obesity now and avoid the consequences later’. This raises the responsibility on governments, health care service providers and philanthropic societies to prioritize investments in tackling rising obesity rates.
Indians are becoming more and more familiar with the terms ‘obesity’ and ‘overweight’ as this disorder is spreading like forest fire worldwide and in India, especially.
Obesity and overweight are defined as excessive fat accumulation that may result even in death. Worldwide, obesity has tripled since 1975 and around 1.9 billion adults are overweight (650 million are obese), according to WHO statistics. If the same trend continues, almost 2.7 billion adults will suffer from overweight and obesity by 2025 worldwide. Obesity in children has also increased tenfold in 2016 (124 million) compared to 1975 (11 million). By 2022, more children and adolescents (aged 5-19) will be obese than underweight, if the same trend continues. This calls for some extreme steps to curb obesity and overweight.
How is Obesity Measured?
There are several methods to measure excess adipose tissue and the Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most common among them. BMI is a simple index of weight-for-height used to classify overweight and obesity. Adults having a BMI greater than 30 are said to be obese.
What Causes Obesity & Overweight?
An increased intake of energy-rich foods high in fats and sugars and increased physical inactivity are the two main reasons for this obesity epidemic. We are exposed to umpteen junk foods that contain empty calories with no nutritional value. Burgers, French fries, pizzas and varieties of sweets and chocolates have invaded the supermarkets and it has become almost impossible to stay away from these foods.
Our sedentary forms of work, urbanization and easy transportation facilities have decreased the physical strain experienced by individuals but have increased the physical health problems greatly. Low socioeconomic status is also a risk factor for obesity. Studies also prove that child and adolescent obesity rates are accelerating faster than ever in low- and middle-income countries compared to developed countries.
Effects of Obesity & Overweight
The risk for noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, some cancers and even premature death increases with rise in BMI values.
What is the Solution?
Overweight and obesity are preventable. A change in lifestyle greatly affects obesity. The more active your lifestyle is, the more minimal is the chance of obesity in your life. Some important lifestyle modifications include:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.