Obesity is a common term that we hear today, but too many people fail to recognize the impact that this condition has throughout the world. Weight gain can happen quickly. You gain a pound or two during the summer holidays. You think nothing of this weight gain and continue your normal habits. Before you know it, you have gained another ten pounds.
As weight continue to add to your waist, stomach, arms, legs, buttocks, and other areas of your body, you are really exposing yourself to many health risks.
Let’s take a look at just how much of a burden obesity is causing throughout the world. We’ll consider the prevalence of the condition, the health risks you are exposed to with excess weight, and other factors that you should be ware of.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is considered a disease today, even though the term really refers to excess weight in the body. The primary reason why obesity is now called a disease is because of the many ways that it affects your health – in negative ways.
When you have too much fat in your body, then you are either considered overweight or obese. Your classification depends on your BMI. BMI is also known as your “Body Mass Index” and is a calculation that can help you determine if you are at a healthy weight, underweight, or perhaps overweight.
If you do not know your BMI, then don’t worry – there are many free BMI calculators that you can use. You simply need to enter a few details, such as your age, gender, height, and weight.
If you have a BMI that is below 25, then you are at a healthy weight (it should also not be too low, however). If your BMI is between 25 and 29, then you are overweight – being overweight does not mean you are in the clear. Any excess weight in your body could lead to potential health problems. A BMI of 30 or higher means you are obese.
The Global Impact Of Obesity
Obesity is a major issue throughout the entire world. According to the World Health Organization, there has been a triple increase in the global rate of obesity and overweight since 1975 to 2016.
There are almost two billion people worldwide who have a BMI of 25 or higher. An estimated 650,000 of these individuals are obese – with a BMI that is 30 or higher.
Studies have found that people who are obese have an average of 39% in increased health care costs on an annual basis. The same study found that obese patients have 19% higher costs in terms of primary health care services compared to healthy people. Prescription costs may also be up to 105% higher for obese individuals when compared to the healthier counterparts.
The Health Impacts Of Obesity
People who are obese often find that they lack self-confidence. This is, in part, due to the image that gets imprinted in our heads by society regarding the “perfect body”. Society often seem to look down on those with excess weight in their body – and prefer those with a “bikini body”.
The fact that obesity tend to affect the confidence and self-worth of a person also means it has a psychological impact. Many studies have looked at the possible connection between depression and obesity. One study published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine & Public Health explains that the social isolation that is associated with obesity might be one possible trigger for depression in this population.
On the other hand, some studies have also found that the presence of depression symptoms may actual contribute to excess weight gain – ultimately leading to obesity. Thus, the connection goes really deep – and there seems to be a connection that goes both ways.
Obesity also puts more pressure on the joints, causes fat to collection around internal organs, and have many physiological effects.
There is a strong link between obesity and joint-related conditions, including osteoarthritis. Other physical health effects of obesity that should be a concern include type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These are, however, only a few of the many chronic health ailments that obesity is known to cause.
Targeting The Obesity Epidemic
The fact that obesity causes so many adverse effects in the body means there is a need to target this problem – and to look at obesity as a disease in the modern world.
Physical inactivity, combined with the modern-day western diet, are some of the most important factors that are causing people to gain more-and-more weight. By targeting these two particular issues, there can already be an improvement in the prevalence of obesity.
The obese population need to become more active. A minimum of 150 minutes in moderate activity is needed on a weekly basis, preferably in the form of aerobic exercise. This amount helps to keep the body active and fit, while also contributing to weight loss.
In addition to aerobic exercise, Mayo Clinic experts report that there is also a need for strength training. This helps the body build lean muscle mass – something that both men and women can greatly benefit from. Even people who do not wish to build rock hard abs need to get their dose of strength training exercises. Muscles are crucial for supporting various structures in the body, including bones and joints.
Diet is another area that needs modification in the average person’s diet today. Fast food joints have made it incredibly easy to pick up dinner when you have little time on your hands, but the foods you buy at these chains are unhealthy, does not contain the nutrition you need, and they will certainly add to your already-concerning body fat percentage.
A diet should ideally be rich in plant-based foods and whole foods. Fruits and vegetables should become a crucial part of every meal. Meat should also be included, but it is important to opt for free-range and organic options whenever possible. Fatty fish is one of the most beneficial meats, along with Turkey, but meats like pork, beef, mutton, and chicken also have a role to play in a healthy diet.