Obesity is a disease. It is characterized by the excessive and progressive accumulation of fat in adipose tissue among others. This fact causes an overload for the organism and deficient functioning of the different vital organs.
The main cause is an excessive intake of calories and, to a lesser extent, endocrine, psychological and genetic disorders. It leads to the appearance of serious associated diseases such as diabetes, sleep apnoea, heart disease and atrial lesions among others.
The Body Mass Index formula is used, which relates weight and height, to calculate whether a person has a healthy weight, is overweight or obese.
The calculation is made by dividing the weight in kg, by the square of the height in metres. It is considered normal up to 25. We are speaking of being overweight when it is between 25 and 30, and from 30 upwards, of obesity.
Body mass index values
- 18.5 - 25 means the person is considered within a normal weight situation
- 25 - 30 means the person is considered overweight
- 30 - 35 means the person is considered class I obese
- 35 - 40 is defined as grade II obesity
- > 40 is defined as grade III obesity or morbid obesity
We can also measure it by the abdominal perimeter (AP).
It is an anthropometric measure that enables the amount of fat accumulated in the body to be determined.
Fat accumulated in the abdomen promotes metabolic diseases such as diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia and increased uric acid; that can lead to serious cardiovascular disease. The risk increases if the circumference of the waist is more than 90 cm in women or more than 102 in men.
How is the abdominal perimeter measured?
The person must be standing and after having expelled air from lungs, should wrap a tape measure around their abdomen at the height of the abdomen.
Factors that increase the probability of obesity
The main and fundamental cause of being overweight and obese is an energy imbalance between the calories consumed and the calories spent. Presently, there has been a worldwide increase in the intake of hyper-caloric foods and a decrease in physical activity.
Thus, the main factors that trigger the increase in the possibility of suffering from the disease are the following:
- Genetic predisposition
- Poor lifestyle and habit choices:
- Eating in front of the TV: promotes greater food intake in being less aware of the feeling of fullness
- Too little sleep: lack of sleep can generate an increase in hunger and appetite for high-calorie products
- Moods: situations of anxiety or fatigue may trigger an increase in the intake of hypercaloric foods
Prevention and treatment of obesity
The modification or reduction of habitual intake
The health professional advises on the different dietary treatments in an individualized way that enables progressive weight loss by modifying some eating habits that can be maintained over time.
It is not a question of giving up eating well but of modifying the number of meals, the quantity, the culinary techniques, etc.
Increased physical activity
Practicing sports on a regular basis will not only help you control your weight, but it will be essential to staying healthy and avoiding re-gaining weight lost.
The person suffering from the disease must be convinced of the need to lose weight and be able to show the improvements that the treatment brings.
Obesity should be considered a disease with an important risk factor of suffering other disorders and complications. For this reason, beyond the basic parameters mentioned, people can follow the recommendations below on an individual level:
- Limit energy intake of fats and sugars
- Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables and legumes, nuts and cereals
- Perform physical activity periodically. This will only have the desired effect as part of a healthy lifestyle
Obesity can lead, as has been said previously, to other diseases or associated disorders.
A high BMI is a source of risk of noncommunicable diseases such as:
- Cardiovascular diseases, mainly heart disease and stroke
- Disorders in the locomotor system, particularly osteoarthritis
- Some cancers (endometrium, breast and colon)
One of the main public health problems of the 21st century is childhood obesity. It is a worldwide problem that affects low-income countries and mainly urban environments.
Childhood obesity must be given great importance and priority because children and adolescents who suffer from it tend to continue suffering from it in adulthood and, therefore, are more likely to suffer from other diseases.
The causes of childhood obesity are similar to those of obesity and being overweight in adulthood but can also be attributed to the global dietary change towards an increase in the intake of hypercaloric foods and the tendency of decreased activity physical.
It is more complicated to measure being overweight and obesity in children and adolescents because their body undergoes physiological changes as they get older. There are different methods depending on age.
Thus, if a child between 4 and 7 years of age has signs of excess weight, it will be necessary for the health professional and the family to implement the measures required.
In children from 8 to 9 years of age, it is necessary to act more quickly, since from this age, the reversal of the process is more complicated.
The term diabesity refers to a double pathology of diabetes and obesity combined.
Weight gain is the main risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus, since an increase in adipose tissue generates insulin resistance. This causes the hormone is not able to perform its function correctly.
Having diabesity means a substantial increase in the risk of suffering from other diseases and disorders.