Are you clothes fitting too tight?
Does your usual flight of steps feel tiring off late?
Do your knees, hips and back hurt all the time?
These are all signs of weight gain which may slowly lead to obesity. Obesity is a medical condition that occurs when a person carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health.
Research conducted by the World Obesity Federation shows that the percentage of Indian adults living with obesity is set to jump to around 5% by 2025, from 3.7% in 2014. This is especially more applicable to urban Indians.
What is Obesity?
- Obesity means having excess body fat. Adults with a BMI greater than 30 are obese.
- Obesity is not just a cosmetic consideration. It is a chronic medical disease that can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity-associated cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease, gall stones, and other chronic illnesses.
- Obesity is a risk factor for several cancers.
- No medicines can cure obesity. It requires a lifelong commitment to proper diet habits, increased physical activity, and regular exercise.
What causes obesity:
1. Wrong eating habits – This is one of the major causes of obesity. Obesity never develops overnight; it progresses from a poor diet. And wrong eating habits from childhood also make people obese.
2. Less physical activity – Lack of physical activity aided by the technology boom is making us physically inactive and leading to people becoming obese. Make exercise a part of your daily routine.
3. Lack of awareness – A major section of the population still lacks basic knowledge about the right nutrition, which leads to obesity.
4. Genetics – Obesity has a strong genetic component. Children of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than children of lean parents. Some people appear to be genetically susceptible to weight gain and obesity.
5. Junk food diet – Heavily processed foods are often little more than refined ingredients mixed with preservatives and food colours. They lack nutritional value and are highly engineered to get people hooked. They also promote overeating.
6. Sugar Addiction – Sugar changes the hormones and biochemistry of your body when consumed in excess. This, in turn, contributes to weight gain. Added sugar in various foods, desserts, sweets, processed foods cause complex addictions and makes your brain crave for more. They are often compared to drugs cocaine, nicotine and cannabis.
7. Insulin – Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates energy storage. High insulin levels and insulin resistance are linked to the development of obesity. To lower insulin levels, reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and eat more fiber.
How to assess your weight
- Body mass index (BMI): It’s a calculation that classifies your weight status from underweight to obese. It’s computed by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres, and then dividing the sum by your height again. There are several apps and online calculators that can help you.
- Waist circumference: Start at the top of your hip bone, and keep your tape measure level with your belly button. Don’t hold your breath while measuring. A measure of 90cm (men) and 80cm (women) signals abdominal (central) obesity in Asians.
Obesity in India
Globally, over two billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being overweight or obese, and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions. With childhood obesity on the rise—India has the second-highest number of obese children in the world after China. Over 5% of India’s population is now morbidly obese. It is important to eat healthy and maintain an active lifestyle.
Here are a few tips to follow to prevent obesity:
- Burn the calories you eat – The secret to not gaining excess weight is burning as many calories as you consume. Maintain a healthy balance between regular exercise and a healthy diet.
- Do your diet right – Diet is an essential part of your fight against obesity. Choose foods that are rich in fibre like dried beans and raw vegetables. They also help maintain a healthy gut system which, in turn, enhances the absorption of nutrients slowly throughout the day after meals.
- Maintain a food diary – A food diary is a useful way of keeping track of the intake of food and calories consumed. Consult with your nutritionist and work out what diet is the best for you. Use a food diary to follow this plan religiously.
- Track your BMI – Keep your weight in check and maintain it as per your height to keep the BMI within the ideal limit. This would go a long way in keeping obesity away.
- Pay attention to food labels – According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI), a food product with less than 40 calories per 100g of the food is termed low-calorie food. Make sure to read the labels on your food products and select low-fat, high-fibre and low-cal food.
- Say no to refined foods – Refined foods like maida, refined white sugar and refined white salt should be avoided. They are rich in simple carbohydrates that are easily absorbed by the body and stored as fat. Limiting the intake of refined foods will help in long-term weight management.
Are you suffering from extreme obesity? Is your excess weight causing joint problems and general discomfort in your daily life? Consult our expert Bariatric Surgeons to know if you are eligible for bariatric surgery.