Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or extreme fat build-up that presents a danger to health and well-being. The state of excessive overweight is called obesity.

Obesity is known to be one of the biggest health problems in the modern world. Statistics have shown that obesity worldwide has almost tripled   since 1975. The issue has become of an epidemic size, with over 4 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese in 2017.  

Obesity World statistics

According to a World Health Organization study in 2022, there are countries like Nauru, the Cook Islands and the Marshall Islands, that have more than 50% of obese adults; Countries like Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati and Micronesia fall between 40-50%, and Kuwait, USA, Qatar, New Zealand, Turkey, Fiji are among the countries that have 30-40% of obese adult population. Canada, Australia, Mexico, Algeria, South Africa fall between countries with 20-30%, whereas Greece, Croatia, Luxemburg, Norway, France, Serbia and Barbados are among countries with 20-30% of obese adult population. Thailand, Malaysia, Moldova, Switzerland and Denmark fall among countries with 10-20% while China, Indonesia, Mali, Liberia are among the countries that have less than 10% of obese adult population.

There are different types of obesity that can be grouped into:

  1. Food obesity – Obesity that is caused by massive intake of food; 
  2. Obesity caused by nervous stomach – some people reach for food when stressed;
  3. Gluten diet -wheat gluten diet causes weight gain;
  4. Metabolic obesity -an inactive lifestyle can slow down metabolism, which can cause weight gain over time;
  5. Inactivity obesity – caused by a passive lifestyle and lack of physical activity.

Health Risks of Obesity

Health risks of obesity include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • high level of triglycerides
  • stroke
  • gallbladder disease
  • fatty liver
  • type 2 diabetes
  • coronary heart disease
  • osteoarthritis
  • death

Overweight and obesity, as well as related diseases are preventable.  Choosing healthier foods, or at least avoiding “junk foods” and sugary drinks is among the easier steps. Physical activities such as walking, swimming, gardening, cycling not only prevent obesity, but greatly contribute to general health.

The WHO recommends that people at the individual level limit their energy intake from total fats and sugars, increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains and engage in regular physical activities. To be able to accomplish that, people must have access to a healthy lifestyle.

The food industry should play a role in promoting a healthy diet by reducing the fat, salt and sugar in processed foods, ensuring that healthy choices are available and affordable to the public, limiting unhealthy food marketing and promoting physical activity in the workplace – according to WHO recommendation.

How to prevent obesity?

In conclusion, to prevent obesity  we need to consume less “bad” fats and more “good” fats, avoid sugary and processed foods, eat more fruits and vegetables, eat lots of dietary fibers, consume low GI foods, consume smaller amounts of food, engage in regular physical activities. Choosing and living a healthy lifestyle will make you happier, you will feel lighter and more cheerful your brain will be clear, you skin condition will improve, your energy levels will increase, your digestion will recover. So start today: take one small step and go step by step.

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➥ DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to replace medical treatment. The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.