What is Obesity?
While “obesity” simplistically means too much body fat, an understanding of what too much body fat is necessary. Weight terms such as underweight, overweight and obesity are based on a term called body mass index, abbreviated as BMI which is a comparison of your body weight to your height which can be easily calculated using BMI calculators which are easily assessible on the internet.
Obesity cannot be discussed without checking into overweight which has a BMI of between 25 to 29.9.
When BMI exceeds 29.9 in adults, medically the person is declared to be obese. That is to mean a BMI of 29.9 indicates overweight. Obesity in children is confirmed in relation to normal weight values and clusters medically.
How many people are affected?
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 on a global scale. The following estimates from the WHO indicate the burden of obesity worldwide making obesity an epidemic.
To focus on children in the African context: in 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that an estimated 41 million children under the age of five years were overweight or obese globally. The report further stated that in Africa alone, the number of children under five years who were overweight had increased by nearly 50 per cent since 2000.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity is complex in the way in which it arises because it involves a combination of an individual’s genes and the environment ranging from social factors, behavior, cultural aspects, and prevailing economic status including modernization, urbanization and globalization of food markets.
The basis of obesity is imbalance between consumed calories and expended calories.
In addition to imbalance in calories, causes of obesity can be broadly classified as and include:
Certain medical conditions may also lead to weight gain and eventually obesity.
Clinical effects of obesity
Obesity can lead to the following clinical conditions:
Complications often arise when obesity is not well managed.
The following conditions are common complications:
How is diabetes diagnosed medically?
For obesity to be treated, it ought o be diagnosed by medical professionals experienced in weight problems:
Diagnosis of obesity involves:
Assessment – this is the determination of the degree of obesity and the risk status. Assessment includes:
Management of Obesity
Following assessment and confirmation of obesity, management of obesity is necessary and should be initiated early to reverse the excessive weight and avoid occurrence of obesity-related complications.
Reduction of excess weight at individual level will include:
In addition to managing obesity at individual level, measures can be instituted at the societal level through engaging people in undertaking regular physical level and healthier dietary choices through institutions including family, schools, prisons to effectively and sustainably prevent those those are predisposed to being obese from getting obese and maintain a relatively low weight .
Treatment of obesity is pursued when an individual is not been able to lose weight on their own following medical intervention. Weight specialist are involved and may include a dietitian/nutritionist, therapist, and in some cases a surgeon
Treatment options include: