Obesity or overweight is recognized around the world as one of the major health concerns. In fact, large percentage of people die due to obesity rather than malnutrition. This caused great alarm among different health groups, especially the Department of Health, in many countries around the world, leading them to create various health programs to increase awareness on obesity and other health risks associated with it.
What is Obesity?
Obesity refers to an excessive amount of body fat accumulation that may eventually impair a person's health. It happens when you eat more calories than what your body use. The amount of calories intake is different from one person to another, but the usual factors leading to obesity are the same – overeating, unhealthy eating, and inactivity. Some factors such as genetics, other medical condition (i.e hypothyroidism), and certain medications (i.e. steroids) may also cause obesity for some people.
Obesity is a major risk factor for various diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, menstrual problems, infertility, liver disease, erectile dysfunction, cancer, osteoarthritis, and a lot more. Obesity may also lead to heart attack and stroke and immobility (in extreme cases).
How is it Measured?
World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed scale of Body Mass Index (BMI) to measure obesity. To calculate BMI, weight in kilograms is divided by height in meters squared. The table below shows the classification of weight categories using BMI.
|Underweight||Less than 18.5|
|Overweight/Pre-obese||25.0 – 29.9|
|Obese||30 and over|
Note: World Health Organization endorsed BMI as a measure, but warns that it should be considered as "rough guide" because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals.
Measuring Obesity in Children
Due to height and growth variations, measuring obesity in children is a bit more complex. Because children's body composition varies as they age, there's no general agreement exist as how to define obesity in children unlike for adults.
According to WHO, "It is difficult to develop one simple index for the measurement of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents because their bodies undergo a number of physiological changes as they grow."
How to Prevent Obesity
There are many successful strategies that greatly help in preventing obesity. Some of the things you can do include:
- Taking fewer calories which means eating 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables as they contain less calories compared to chocolates and and junk food.
- Avoiding highly-processed food (made with white sugar, flour, saturated fats) and choosing whole grain foods (brown rice, whole wheat bread) instead.
- Accumulating at least 30 minutes up to 1 hour of moderate-intensity activity everyday such as walking or weeding the garden burns calories.
- Taking health supplement product to help you lose weight the natural way and help increase your endurance and stamina, thus, pushes you to exercise more often.
Obesity is not just a concern of the obese person only, it's definitely a problem of the whole society. If we have the initiative to reduce other health problems, we also have to have an initiative to reduce obesity.