Sadly, there is new information from weight loss researchers and nutritionists showing that more than 300,000 people die each year from complications resulting from obesity. Obesity is a major problem in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is fast becoming the leading cause of death and cause of hospitalizations.
Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat (mayoclinic.org). It is where the body accumulates more fat than is being burned by normal metabolism and this causes fat deposits to begin to build up in the belly area, thighs, buttocks and waist. The problem of obesity in children is so acute that some schools have began to offer strictly vegetarian diets to their students and the students have embraced this diet well.
So what causes obesity?
- One cause of weight gain is genetics – some people with genetic maladjustment can cause a problem with the way the body processes food.
- Another is hormonal influences. An under-performing thyroid gland for example can cause the body metabolism to slow and so accumulate fat.
- Some people might have an eating disorder. In the same way that there are eating disorders which cause bulimia, there are disorders that run in the opposite direction and cause compulsive eating and an abnormal appetite. A disorder called Pica for example results in a craving for non-foods (earth, pens, pencils and anything close by). These eating disorders can be treated and the person can resume normal eating habits.
- Leading a sedentary life of little or no activity. This is common in the West where people use cars to go even short distances.
The fundamental cause of most obesity is however an energy imbalance. Too much energy taken in by way of calorie-dense foods and not enough energy expended by way of exercise and activity. It seems a simple equation but within that simple in-vs-out model lies a plethora of issues and opinions.
The good news is that being overweight is not necessarily anyone’s fault. They are not necessarily to blame. But taking responsibility for weight gain is a necessary step to taking action to resolve it. Learning about nutrition, nutritional value of foods, product labels, focusing on eating quality fresh foods and less processed foods, certainly less takeaway or pre-prepared food where you don’t know what’s in it or how it was prepared. Being vigilant to what goes in the body. Making efforts to increase daily activity.
Obviously the more obese one is the greater the challenge to overcome it. It is by no means easy otherwise we wouldn’t have an overweight population. It is however achievable. If one person has reduced their weight and gained greater health then another person can do it, and another, and another. Support, knowledge and a big enough reason to make the behavioural changes needed are key.Please share ..