According to WHO, Overweight and Obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A crude population measure of obesity is the BMI which is defined as a person’s weight(in kilograms) divided by square of his/her height in meters. A person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered obese. A person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight. Almost one sixth of world’s population is putting on weight. It is a sad reality but people are more and more getting prone to this epidemic. So here are some important facts that every individual should know to overcome this pidemic. Obesogens Recent studies have shown that obesogens, chemicals hidden in our foods that contribute obesity. Obesogens are also known as endocrine disruptors, essentially hijack the regulatory system that controls your weight and promotes obesity by increasing fat cells, decreasing metabolism and altering the brain’s ability to manage feelings of hunger. Solution: Obesogens are present in fish and meat if they contain hormones and antibiotics. So avoid taking these food products. Frozen and fresh foods are better to consume as they are free from obesogens. To avoid obesogens in food do not warm water bottles or plastic dishes in microwaves because that increases the likelihood that these chemicals leak from plastic.
A Sedentary lifestyle
Calorie intake equal to Calorie output is very important equation and if one learns to balance it, obesity can not attack that person. So diet balance and exercise is of utmost importance in life.
Solution: A person should take at least 10,000 steps daily to burn their calories. Otherwise any form of aerobic exercise should be done for half an hour to burn excess calories. Moreover if the diet consists of raw fruits, salads and oups, improves the nutritional status of an individual.
Not Sleeping Enough
The epidemic of obesity is resultant of reduced sleep duration. Sleep deprivation may lead to obesity through increased appetite as a result of hormonal changes. If you do not sleep enough, the body produces ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. Lack of sleep also results in less secretion of Leptin hormone, which works in the body to suppress appetite.
Solution: Sleep duration in adults should be 6-8 hours for a healthy body. And timely intake of food is good to balance hormones in the body.
Biologically women have less muscle mass than men. Muscle burns (metabolises) more calories than the other tissues which includes fat. As a result women have slower metabolism than men. Hence women have a greater tendency to put on weight than men. Weight loss is more difficult for women than men. As the age increases, we tend to lose muscle and our metabolism slows down, therefore we tend to gain weight as we get older particularly if we do not reduce our daily caloric intake.
Solution: To boost up metabolic rate in the body exercise and diet is necessary. The more a person exercises higher would be the metabolic rate. And diet moderation is also a key to achieve weight reduction.
A person is more likely to develop obesity if one or both parents are obese. Genetics also affect hormones involved in fat regulation. One genetic cause of obesity is leptin deficiency. Leptin controls weight by signaling the brain to eat less when body stores are too high. If for some reason if body cannot produce enough Leptin or Leptin cannot signal the brain to eat less, the control is lost and obesity occurs.
Solution: The role of leptin replacement as a treatment for obesity is currently being explored.
A Diet high in Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates increase glucose levels in the blood, which in turn stimulate insulin release by pancreas, and insulin promotes the growth of fat tissue and thus causes weight gain. Simple carbohydrates contribute to weight gain as they are more rapidly absorbed in blood stream and increases release of insulin than the complex carbohydrates.
Help your self: The complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be included in diet so as to control the secretion of insulin. These food groups are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. While the simple carbohydrates such as sugar, rice refined flour and its products only yield energy and require vitamin B complex in their digestion. So nutritionally also complex carbos are good to consume. Fads and Fallacies associated with Diet: Fad and mono diets should not be followed to achieve weight loss as it will disturb the metabolism of the body. Further more starving diet could induce psychological disorders such as Binge eating and anorexia nervosa. Nutritionally adequate diet and exercise are successful methods for weight loss.
Obesity is a very wide concept and also an emerging problem in the world. So if we become slightly conscious about our food and daily routine this problem will never arise in our life.
*Dietician, wellness mantra, Noida.
*Visiting faculty, Amity University, Noida.
**Chairperson, Home Science Deptt. Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra.