The war on obesity is actually a war on ‘fat people’ basing on the way the campaigns for weight loss are being conducted today. Perhaps some questions we need to ask ourselves are; who would not like to look thin? Going to a wedding or reunion? Want to get into those jeans that fitted so well just a few years ago? Well, it is common sense that we cannot escape the changes that happen to our body over the years. But being overweight has consequences beyond how we look or how we might not fit into old clothes. The war on fat people is not just about how many people are overweight or obese. It’s also about the biology, physiology, and complications related to obesity. Certain genes are involved. Being fat is not just a result of a person’s lack of willpower. The problem of weighing more than one should, has many factors. These factors include biology, the environment, society, and even cultural issues.
Environmental factors that promote overeating include; Fast foods, foods high in calorie content, impulsive eating, increased food selection, and skipped meals- all have an impact on overeating. Stress and mood changes can also cause a person to have abnormal eating habits. Even boredom, fatigue, and just habits can cause one to eat more than the body needs.
However, it is also cardinal to also analyze as to whether it is carbohydrates, protein, or fats that make us fat? The bottom line is that, if we eat too much of any or all of these nutrients, we will gain weight. There’s nothing magical about low-carb diets, the glycemic index, or excessive amounts of protein. Calories are what count, and fad diets work (at least in the short term) because they lower the total amount of calories we eat, plain and simple.
Therefore, most accomplished researchers promote a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables and discourage refined carbohydrates, sugars, trans fats, and saturated fats.
No matter what else we eat, there’s no such thing as a healthy diet without a large dose promoting disease protecting substances like antioxidants, phytochemicals, isoflavones, etc. In the same vein, there is no food that tastes as good as feeling healthy. Hence, each of us needs to take responsibility for our own health and that parents need to teach their children through good example. Still, schools should teach about healthy foods and more physical education.
Restaurants and food companies should be responsible about advertising and encouraging consumers to choose healthier foods that are competitively priced. This is for the simple reason that, Obesity is a complex problem and not the fault of any one group, food, company, or advertisement. Instead of blaming one another, we need to help individuals take responsibility for what they eat and motivate them to get some exercise. Prudently carried out research and researchers urges us to strap on pedometers and walk, walk, walk, adding extra steps to our daily lives any way we can. A combination of 10,000 steps per day or 30 minutes’ walk with a healthy diet is enough towards improving our health and losing weight.
The costs of obesity in society are high. Obesity-related disorders include diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and certain cancers. These disorders increase the costs in our healthcare system. Consequently, this is something on everyone’s mind nowadays. But alas, it is rear that we are promoting healthy meals at social functions rather we are still seeing the usual high-fat entrees and sweet desserts. So, with all of this information, why on Earth have we not made more progress in fighting the war against obesity ? For some time now, obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled. No corner of our society is spared. Obesity affects all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, education levels, and parts of the world.
Now instead of waging a war on ‘fat people’, the focus now should be on “implementation.” Implementation means how we as a society can use the above information to produce change for the better. Education about healthy lifestyle, scientific discoveries to create new anti-obesity drugs, and technologic innovations for procedures to change our physiology are needed. Also needed are economic rewards for healthy behavior and penalties for unhealthy behavior. Banning Trans fats and posting calories on menu items is a great start. But the future will need to include bolder efforts.
For instance, the approach of “behavioral economics” may hold some answers. As adults, we all have the ability to make choices. Sometimes our choices can be poor, such as eating junk food and having unhealthy lifestyles. However, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to make better choices if our environment would promote a healthy lifestyle, be more affordable, and would be more available and certainly more interesting. It would also help if we could be well-informed about choices that go with this healthy lifestyle.
In the meantime, we need safer and more effective drugs. These drugs need to at least help someone stick with a healthy lifestyle and get “ahead of the curve” by losing weight and improving their metabolic profile. Many factors cause obesity. Biological processes in people with obesity are complex. These future safer, more effective drugs can target appetite, hormones, and/or fat cell function. Our government must support school health programs like physical education and anything they may help promote healthy life style at tender age.
Ultimately, public health specialists and medical scientific writers like the author of this article need to be supported by the government to help improve the aspects of our society so that each of us can live longer and more high-quality life. At the same time, access to quality healthcare costs needs to come down. The battle against obesity involves all of us! The food industry, government, health-care professionals, teachers, communities, and parents all need to join hands if we are going to make a difference. If not, we’ll all pay dearly with our money as well as our health. The economic drain caused by obesity-related health problems is devastating.
The take-away message from all this is that there is no single solution to the fight against obesity. Each of us needs to find the healthy eating plan that works best for our lifestyles and to develop healthier habits including regular physical activity. Success will depend on how ready each of us is to commit to a lifetime of healthier habits. We have learned that weight control is not just about education; most of us know that the road to better health is through a nutritious diet and regular exercise. Now, we just need to do it and to get our friends, family, and neighbors to join us in the fight against obesity.
PROBLEMS THAT COME WITH OBESITY
Ninety percent of people who develop type 2 diabetes will have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 23.
The risk of getting type 2 diabetes is highest if the weight is gained during childhood and there is a family history of diabetes, abdominal obesity (central obesity), or mother having had gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy).
If you have obesity, the chance of developing high blood pressure is up to five times greater compared to someone with a normal weight.
Eighty-five percent (85%) of those diagnosed with high blood pressure have a BMI above 25.
Increasing cholesterol levels are associated with weight increases above a BMI of as little as 21.
High cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and the presence of diabetes in turn lead to increased heart disease.
In a study with over 300,000 people followed-up over 7 years, every unit increase in BMI led to a 9% increased risk for heart attack.
In the same study there was an 8% increased risk of stroke.
In women with obesity plus high blood pressure, 70% will develop an enlarged heart and 14% will get heart failure.
Breathing capacity can be affected by having obesity.
Sleep apnea (halted breathing during sleep) is much more common in those who have obesity.
Asthma is more common as BMI goes up.
Collapse of lung tissues and more lung infections are more common after anesthesia for surgery in patients with obesity.
In joints that carry excessive weight, such as the hips and knees, arthritis tends to be a problem. There is also evidence that other joints, like the ones in the hands, might also be more involved. And gout is also more common. Not as well known is that many cancers are more common in patients with obesity.
Obese candidates have also a higher risk to developing hemorrhoids than an individual who is thin. Sitting for a long time like for long distance track drivers , and long standing like for the police officers at checkpoints predispose them to the same condition.
The World Health Organization International Agency for Research into Cancer has estimated that being overweight (and also sedentary) might account for up to 25-30% of cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, kidney and esophagus.
About 10% of all cancer deaths that are not from smoking are related to obesity.
In women who have obesity there are more thyroid cancers, leukemias, multiple myeloma, and pancreatic cancers.
In men who have obesity there are more thyroid cancers, malignant melanomas, multiple myelomas, gallbladder cancers, and leukemias.
Even fertility is decreased by obesity.
In women, 6% of those who are obese have trouble conceiving.
When a pregnancy occurs, the chance of a serious event requiring hospitalization is 4-7 times greater for a woman with obesity compared to a woman who is lean.
Gestational diabetes, difficulty with blood pressure control (pre-eclampsia), difficulties while in labor and delivery, higher c-section rates, and more deaths of the mother and/or fetus, are all associated with obesity.
Children born to mothers who have obesity are more likely to be large. Large birth weight increases the risk of infants developing diabetes in later life.
Men are also affected by obesity. Obesity causes erectile dysfunction (impotence) and lower fertility. Many men have low testosterone (male hormone) because they have excess abdominal fat.
Gallbladder disease is more likely in obesity.
Compared with women who are lean, women with a BMI of over 32 have three times the risk of gallstones.
In women with a BMI over 45, this risk is seven times higher.
Changes in the liver that resemble alcoholic liver disease (known as fatty liver) can be seen with obesity. In 50% of patients, these changes will lead to fibrosis of the liver. In 30% cirrhosis will develop, and 3% will go on to develop liver failure.
Being obese also can affect kidney function. The kidney cannot filter well in people with chronic obesity. So kidney function is decreased by having excess weight alone.
Finally, the effect of obesity on emotional well-being is important to understand. In most societies, people with obesity are viewed as less desirable marriage partners, less likely to be promoted in their jobs, and tend to earn less than their more ideal-weight peers. Obesity can cost more, for example, many airlines now charge for two seats for a person with obesity. It is not surprising that obesity increases the risk of major depression. In turn, depression can lead to binge eating disorder and night eating disorder. Depression causes a vicious cycle leading to more weight gain.
Obesity is a health condition because it causes problems with your physical, mental and metabolic wellbeing. We have discussed examples of the complications of obesity. If you are unable to lose weight on your own, get help from health personnel especially a nutritionist near your area. Chances are that it is not just the weight but you may have complications of obesity. Everyone who has obesity deserves a thorough medical exam at least yearly.
Clearly, the risk for many medical complications is increased with obesity. Even Hippocrates wrote so many years ago: Corpulence is not only a disease itself, but the harbinger of others. In other words, let’s eat healthy and exercise to maintain an ideal body weight so that our weight does not predispose us to health problems. Obesity on it’s on is not the cause but associated with the conditions we have discussed here-in, hence the need for all of us to have manageable weights that does not potentiate a syndrome of the diseases in this discussion. Amigos, if the article addressed any issue that may be affecting you directly or indirectly, we remain committed to discussing those issues on the contact given at the bottom of this article.
Jones H. Munang’andu
Professional Scientific Medical Writer
Contact; mobile 0966565670
Email; [email protected]
It is not what i have said but you understood that matters- by jones munang’andu
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