Understanding Obesity

World Obesity Day is marked on 4 March every year and is held in an effort to raise awareness on the health issues caused by obesity.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), 39% of adults aged 18 and older, with 39% of men and 40% of women, are overweight.

Additionally, 13% of the world's population is considered obese, consisting of 11% of all men and 15% of all women.

Obesity, despite its negative health issues, can also negatively impact a person's life due to the judgement and critique received from other people.

Commonly, people tend to assume that obesity is linked solely to a person's personal choice as well as their lack of willpower towards food but it is, in reality, a complicated condition to deal with.

Lina Shibib, Clinical Nutritionist at Medcare Hospitals said that in turn the quality of a person's life is reduced as the person experiences depression, social isolation, does not want to go to public places, lower work achievement as well as faces shame and guilt.

As mentioned by Lina Shibib, Clinical Nutritionist at Medcare Hospitals, obesity is a complex condition characterised by an excess of body fat usually caused by a combination of genetic, physiological and environmental variables combined with diet, physical activity and exercise choices.

Mona Joumaa, Clinical Dietician at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital said that the impairment in your energy balance and your appetite control system, in addition to some socioeconomic factors, genetic predisposition and psychological events are the main reasons for obesity.

Awareness for obesity is spread due to the high number of health issues linked to it including:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Unhealthy Cholesterol
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Kidney Stones
  • Infertility 
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Asthma
  • Gallstones
  • Can cause 11 types of cancer

Although it is prevalent in many people, with a reduction of 5% to 10% in weight, the quality of a person's life increases and the health issues faced decrease. 

As mentioned by Mona Joumaa, Clinical Dietician at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital, with the help of dieticians, psychologists and doctors, an attainable plan can be set to help achieve their goal. 

Individuals with obesity can manage it by maintaining a balanced and healthy diet as well as by exercising for at least 30 minutes every day.

Often these two changes can help make a difference, however, if needed, weight loss devices and medication are recommended and prescribed by doctors to help aid in the journey.

Additionally, people that struggle with weight loss and have serious health issues also opt to get bariatric surgery, which uses various procedures to reduce hunger and increase the sense of feeling full after eating.

Dealing with obesity is extremely difficult for the person and it is key to help raise awareness as well as support the person on their journey.

Negative comments and remarks can affect their self-esteem and it is important to help motivate them in a kind and supportive manner.

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