What is Obesity?
Obesity is one of the most common health disorders worldwide. It is a condition where a person has excess body fat. It is measured by your Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out what weight is healthy for your specific height.
It is calculated as follows:
BMI= Body Weight (Kg)/(Height in meters) 2
A normal BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is overweight and anything above 30.0 kg/m2 can be referred to as obesity. This can be measured at any Clinic and there are several mobile phone applications which will measure your BMI if you enter your weight and height in fields (Below is the website and chart for easy calculation)
Causes of Obesity
Common causes of obesity.
- Physical inactivity or an inactive lifestyle.
- Regular overeating as well as diets high in carbohydrates/fat and sugar.
- Genetics where one or both parents are overweight or obese.
Other causes of Obesity
- Medications such as some antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives and oral contraceptives are also associated with weight gain.
- Diseases such as hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) also cause weight gain.
- Hormonal factors/events such as pregnancy.
What can long-term obesity lead to?
- Obesity increases the risks of certain cancers especially cancer of colon in men and women, prostate and rectal cancer in men and breast and uterus cancer in women.
- Osteoarthritis of the knees, hips and back due to carrying the heavy body weight for long periods.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) which is a blood pressure above 140/90mmHg.
- High blood cholesterol level which forms fat deposits in blood vessels which narrows the blood vessels. The narrowing of blood vessels leads to:
- Strokes due to clogging of blood vessels in the brain with fat deposits.
- Heart attacks due to clogging of blood vessels in the heart with fat deposits.
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart failure
Simple tips to prevent being overweight which have been shown to work:
- Leading an active lifestyle with regular exercise, at least 30 minutes of walking 4-5 days a week has shown to have great effect not only in reducing weight but also keeping you healthy.
- Maintain a balanced diet with less fatty foods/carbohydrates and sugars. Soft drinks, fruit juices sold in supermarkets contain a lot of sugars (even though the label may read “Contains no artificial sugars”. Fast foods such as chips, pizzas, burgers, bhajias which have become common part of our diet are a major cause of overweight and obesity. Reducing the portion of food helping helps.
Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet helps.
There are many “special diets” which are popular however many of these diet “fades” have not been proved to work. Another popular trend is use of “herbal teas” which are marketed for weight loss. Many of these teas contain unknown ingredients which may damage the kidneys.
These simple tips not only help you loose weight but improve your overall health and reduce reliance on medications.
Calculate Your Body Mass Index
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.
- Enter your weight and height using standard or metric measures.
- Select “Compute BMI” and your BMI will appear below.
Calculate Your BMI – Standard BMI Calculator (nih.gov)
BMI chart for adults
This is a graph of BMI categories based on the World Health Organization data. The dashed lines represent subdivisions within a major categorization.
Eat Healthy Stay Healthy – Fight Obesity
Written by: Dr. Ali Khatau, M.D
17th May 2021