HealthKnowledge

Obesity Across The Globe – a worldwide challenge

The World Health Organization estimated that by the end of 2016 1.9 billions adults (18 years and older) were overweight. Out of this number 650 million were obese. The number of overweight children under the age of five by the end of 2019 was 38 million.

These figures are alarming when one considers that since 1975 worldwide obesity has nearly tripled. A simple way to determine if a person is overweight or not is to measure your body mass index (BMI). It a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).

One can find various BMI calculators online that determine your BMI. One can find a BMI calculator on the web site of the Centers for disease control and Prevention (CDC). Now if your score is between 25 and 29 it means you are overweight and a BMI which is greater than 30 it means you are obese.

Checking your BMI is important because action can be taken to prevent from gaining more weight. I like to make an important point here those athletes, especially sprinters and body builders checking the BMI this way is not useful because muscle weigh more than fat. Checking the BMI with this formula is useful for the general population.

If you are serious in measuring the amount of body fat various other ways exits but they are expensive. These are:

• Skinfold Callipers
• Body Circumference Measurements
• Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA)
• Hydrostatic Weighing
• Air Displacement Plethysmography (Bod Pod)
• Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)

All these tests have to be done by a professional who is an expert in the field of testing using such equipment.

What causes obesity and overweight?

What causes obesity and overweight and what tools can help you with weight loss?

If a person is consuming more calories than he is using there is a great chance of being overweight ultimately being obese. In simple terms one has to make sure that he is not consuming foods that are rich in fats and sugars. That way one has to be very careful about the calorie intake. One has to make sure that there is a balance between calorie intake and calorie expenditure. Fighting obesity might sound easy but it takes will power to change habits. People have to make choices to consume healthier foods. Checking food labels will help you to make the right choices to abide with a healthy diet. Avoid foods that are high in fats and saturated fats and foods that contain simple sugars. Exercise can also help to reduce overweight and obesity. You don’t have to be engaged in intense physical training regimes, a 45 minute brisk walk (three or four times a week) for those who are leading a sedentary lifestyle will be enough. Include vegetables and fruits in your diet.

Ritchie & Roser (n.d.) point out that according to the Global Burden of Disease study in 2017 4.7 million people died prematurely in 2017 as a result of obesity. They continue to state that this number is four times that of road accidents and nearly five times to that of HIV/AIDS deaths. A high BMI will increase non communicable diseases which include:

• Cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack
• Type 2 diabetes
• Musculosketal disorders such as osteoarthritis
• Some cancers

Obesity is a complex problem and there exist not a simple and single solution to combat this epidemic. This epidemic has become worldwide and related health costs are substantial (Chan & Woo 2017). Constant education is essential to promote an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle. It all comes down to the individual to have will power to make a change for better lifestyle. Family support is also very important to combat obesity. Providing family dynamics that include healthy eating practices that control weight management will help to make things easier. We cannot expect that a person following a healthy has to endure his family members eating junk food. Recognizing the importance of family behavior in the development of weight control and weight loss activities is essential (Gruber & Haldeman 2009).


References

Chan, R. S., & Woo, J. 2010, “Prevention of overweight and obesity: how effective is the current public health approach”, International journal of environmental research and public health, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 765–783. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph7030765.

Gruber, K. J., & Haldeman, L. A. 2009, “Using the family to combat childhood and adult obesity”, Preventing chronic disease, vol. 6, no. 3, A106.

Ritchie, H. & Roser, M. n.d., Obesity, Our World in Data, viewed 7th June 2020, <https://ourworldindata.org/obesity#obesity-is-one-of-the-leading-risk-factors-for-early-death>

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