All you need to know about obesity
Millions of individuals worldwide suffer from the chronic condition of obesity, which has emerged as a serious health issue.
According to the World Health Organization, it has reached almost every region of the globe and "[obesity] has expanded to pandemic proportions" (WHO).
Each year, more than 5 million individuals pass away as a result of illnesses and other negative consequences linked to obesity.
The Global Obesity Atlas 2023 predicts that by 2035, more than 4 billion people, or more than half of the world's population, may be fat or overweight.
Obesity is a complicated illness that may affect both adults and children and can strike at any age.
Obesity is "abnormal or excessive fat buildup that constitutes a danger to health," according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
1.9 billion persons, or 39% of adults worldwide, were overweight as of 2016, while 650 million adults, or 13%, were obese. The Global Health Observatory of the WHO reports that since 1980, the percentage of individuals who are obese has almost quadrupled. Children are not spared either; more than 340 million kids between the ages of 5 and 19 and over 38 million kids under the age of 5 are overweight or obese.
Obesity essentially results from consuming too many calories, which the body stores as fat. There are a variety of variables, such as social, behavioral, psychological, biochemical, and genetic ones, that might contribute to an imbalance between the calories you consume and the calories you burn, for example via exercise.
Obesity: Not a problem with restraint
Contrary to a persistent misconception, obesity is not brought on by a lack of willpower.
"We are aware that genetics may account for up to 70% of your weight and that both hunger and satiety are hereditary traits. There are several reasons to treat obesity as a persistent, relapsing illness, "According to John Wass, an Oxford University professor of endocrinology, The Lancet.
Internal elements, such as a person's biological and genetic makeup, and external ones, such as environmental and societal situations, such as your income, access to healthcare, or access to safe outdoor exercise locations, may be categorized as the causes of obesity.
Obesity may develop for a variety of reasons, including genetics, lack of exercise, poor eating habits, psychological difficulties, health concerns, social and economic situations, medications, pollution, and more.
Obesity may also be brought on by medical illnesses including Cushing's disease and various drugs, such as some antidepressants and steroids.
What alters your body does obesity?
Exercise difficulties, discomfort in various body areas, and even osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition, are all signs of excess body fat and weight. In addition, sleep apnea, a disorder associated with obesity, may make it difficult to breathe at night.
Due to the increased accumulation of fatty material in the arteries, obesity may result in type 2 diabetes, raise blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, and cause cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
Obesity may have a negative impact on a person's mental health, creating anxiety and poor self-esteem as well as increasing the chance of depression. It has also been linked to specific kinds of malignancies, including endometrial, esophageal, liver, kidney, and colon.
How is obesity measured?
Body mass index (BMI) measurements are often used to identify obesity, which is recognized when a person's BMI rises over 30. According to the WHO, a number more than 25 denotes overweight.
By dividing the square of the body weight in kilograms by the square of the height in meters, the BMI is determined. The National Health Service BMI calculator in the UK may be used to determine your BMI.
Nonetheless, the BMI is a divisive index. Age, gender, and the proportion of body weight that is made up of muscle mass as opposed to fat are not taken into consideration.
A weightlifter with a lot of muscular mass, for example, may have a high BMI exceeding 30 without being overweight.
There are other instruments that can measure the quantity of fat more precisely, but they are not generally used.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most accurate method of assessing body fat, according to Alexander Miras, professor of endocrinology at Ulster University in the UK.
Nevertheless, MRIs are pricey and are mostly used in studies to estimate body fat levels.
Compared to other body fat, abdominal fat is associated with greater health hazards. Medical standards advise considering a person's waist circumference rather than merely BMI when assessing their health as a result.
How is overweight managed and avoided?
Eating a balanced diet that includes more fruit, vegetables, grains, and nuts while consuming less fats and sweets is the greatest method to avoid obesity on an individual basis. The WHO suggests doing 20 minutes of exercise each day as the other component of remaining active.
Yet, the effectiveness of individual initiatives depends on policy and public health level support.
According to Francesco Rubino, head of metabolic and bariatric surgery at King's College London, "if anything, there has been much too much focus on blame and personal responsibility, even from physicians."
Since that obesity is a chronic illness, physicians should recommend a long-term treatment strategy that may include lifestyle changes, such as altering eating patterns, moving to a more balanced diet, and altering people's movement patterns, such as encouraging physical exercise. It's crucial to follow up often.
At beginning, losing weight doesn't have to be drastic. According to studies, a 10% reduction in body weight may dramatically lower the risk of obesity-related risk factors, and with the help of effective treatment plans, this can be done in as little as six months. Following that, you should talk to your doctor about more challenging weight-loss regimens.
What treatments and operations are available?
A few US-approved drugs for the treatment of obesity may be helpful in addition to diet and exercise if diet and exercise are ineffective. Yet, they might have negative side effects.
In addition to diet and exercise, semaglutide, which is marketed under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, or Rybelsus, has just been authorized by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK and the US as a weight reduction medication. The medication, which requires weekly self-injection, might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
By mimicking the GLP-1 hormone that is produced after eating, semaglutide decreases hunger.
If dieting and exercise have failed for persons with extreme obesity, often a BMI greater than 40, bariatric surgery, such as a gastric bypass, may be a successful therapy for weight loss and health improvement. It's crucial to examine the advantages, drawbacks, and consequences of the surgery with a doctor since every situation is unique.