What is Obesity ?
Overweight and obesity are the result of an energy imbalance where too many calories are eaten and not enough physical activity takes place. Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person’s weight is greater than what’s considered healthy for his or her height. Obesity and overweight have in the last decade become a global problem – according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The scale of the obesity problem has a number of serious consequences for individuals and government health systems. An obese person accumulates so much body fat that it has a negative effect on their health. If a person’s body-weight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. Most cases of obesity are caused by eating too much and moving too little. If you consume high amounts of energy from your diet but do not burn off the energy through exercise and physical activity, the surplus energy is turned into fat.
What are the consequences of overweight and obesity ?
• Coronary heart disease
• Type 2 diabetes
• Cancer (endometrial, breast, and colon)
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
• Liver and Gallbladder disease
• Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
• Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
• Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
How to prevent Obesity ?
• Follow a healthy eating plan. Make healthy food choices, keep your calorie needs and your family’s calorie needs in mind, and focus on the balance of energy IN and energy OUT.
• Focus on portion size. Watch the portion sizes in fast food and other restaurants. The portions served often are enough for two or three people. Children’s portion sizes should be smaller than those for adults. Cutting back on portion size will help you balance energy IN and energy OUT.
• Be active. Make personal and family time active. Find activities that everyone will enjoy. For example, go for a brisk walk, bike or roller-blade, or train together for a walk or run.
• Reduce screen time. Limit the use of TVs, computers, DVDs, and video-games because they limit time for physical activity. Health experts recommend 2 hours or less a day of screen time that’s not work or homework-related.
• Keep track of your weight, body mass index, and waist circumference. Also, keep track of your children’s growth.