Obesity is a condition where excess fat accumulates in the body to the extent that it starts to adversely affect the health of an individual. There is a difference between being obese and overweight. An overweight person generally weighs too much, but this could be because of factors like extra bone or muscle weight, due to water retention or because of greater muscle mass. Obesity not only increases the risk of several health problems it also reduces an individuals life expectancy. The BMI (body mass index) is a measurement that tells us whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. According to this calculation, if a person has a BMI of 25-30, he is overweight. If his BMI is above 30, he is obese. Obesity increases the risk of several ailments and disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and even several types of cancers. Obesity is a chronic disease and is one of the leading causes of death these days. It is a serious health concern and its prevalence is increasing in both adults as well as children.
Our body requires healthy nutritious food to function properly and the food we eat supplies our body the essential nutrients and calories it needs. However, if we overeat, the additional food converts into fat and gets stored in the body, adding to our body weight. Overeating makes us gain weight and in time leads to obesity and other related health disorders. Obesity is increasing in society these days because of the abundance of food and lack of physical activity. Most people do not have the time to eat healthy meals or exercise regularly and this in turn results in problems like obesity. It is therefore necessary to understand the importance of eating healthy foods and involving yourself in regular physical activities so that you can prevent chronic problems like obesity.
Symptoms of Obesity
In most cases, the physical appearance of an individual itself is the biggest sign of obesity. The additional weight a person carries may result in the development of symptoms that affect day-to-day life. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of obesity include:
- A large body structure or frame
- Disproportionate facial features
- Adiposity in the breast region, especially in the case of men
- Excess fat in the abdominal region (beer belly)
- Excess fat accumulation in the upper arms and thighs
- Early onset of puberty
- Disproportionate and small appearance of the male genitalia
- Knocked knees
- Increased perspiration
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Excessive snoring
- Difficulty coping with sudden physical activity
- Pain in the joints and back
Other medical problems may have symptoms similar to those of obesity and therefore consultation with a good doctor is necessary to make a proper diagnosis. Other problems like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol levels are serious symptoms of obesity that can harm an individuals overall health. Other than physical symptoms, obesity can have psychological symptoms as well in many cases. Some of these psychological symptoms could include:
Low self esteem
Poor self image
Low levels of confidence
Constant feelings of isolation
Poor lifestyle resulting in reduced mobility
These psychological symptoms can affect an individuals relationship with family and friends and can even lead to depression in some cases.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition that develops gradually because of unhealthy eating habits and poor lifestyle choices. In some cases, there could even be a genetic connection. Some of the major causes of obesity include:
- Bad Lifestyle Choices: The choices you make in your day-to-day life influence your overall health and well-being. Unhealthy eating habits such as eating fast foods or processed foods, drinking too much alcohol and carbonated beverages, overeating and comfort eating can all result in obesity over a period of time. Bad eating habits very often run in the family and children pick these up from their own parents. This is one of the main reasons why childhood obesity is such a big health concern these days.
- Lack of Exercise: The lack of physical activity is also another contributing factor to the onset of obesity. Most people lead a sedentary life and have jobs that involve sitting at a desk for prolonged periods. Moreover, most people ignore physical activities like walking and use cars and other vehicles for travelling even small distances. Lack of physical activity simple means that the body does not use the energy it gets from the food we eat and this in turn means that the additional calories get stored as fat in the body.
- Genetic: Some people tend to put on additional weight because of genetic factors that could simply include having a greater appetite or persons body can store more fat as compared to someone elses.
- Medical Reasons: In some cases, medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome and Cushings syndrome can result in weight gain and eventually obesity. Medications like anti-depressants, corticosteroids and contraceptive pills can also lead to weight gain and obesity.
Remedies for Obesity
The main aim of any kind of treatment for obesity is to make a person lose excess body weight and improve his/her overall quality of life. A good combination of a well balanced diet and regular exercise is one of the best treatments for obesity. In addition, there are a number of home remedies for obesity that can help you lose weight in a safe and healthy manner. Some of these simple home remedies are as under:
- Drinking a glass of warm water mixed with lemon juice and honey first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This is one of the best ways to lose weight naturally.
- Similarly, drinking 2-3 cups of green tea or ginger tea everyday as this helps boost both digestion and metabolism, which in turn helps you lose weight faster.
- A good home remedy to control obesity is a mixture of a glass of warm water along with a paste of half teaspoon each of basil leaves and honey. Similarly, ginger paste mixed with honey is also a good treatment for obesity.
- One of the best home remedies to reduce weight naturally is eating raw tomatoes on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. This remedy is also beneficial for controlling cholesterol levels in the body.
- You can soak 2 tablespoons of horse gram overnight in a glass of water and drink this mixture first thing in the morning to lose weight naturally.
It should be pointed out that while some of these home remedies actually do help with weight loss, they are unlikely to be of any use if no changes are made to your diet and lifestyle.
Diet for Obesity
When it comes to treating and preventing obesity your food intake is most crucial, not just in terms of what you eat, but also in the context of meal timings and serving sizes. There are certain important things that you need to keep in mind while following a diet for obesity.
- Avoid nibbling between meals. Instead of eating 3 big meals a day have 5-6 smaller meals at intervals of 2-3 hours.
- Concentrate on eating high fiber carbohydrate based foods such as wholegrain bread, pastas and rice in the right quantity. Eat at least 5-6 portions of fresh vegetables and fruits everyday. You can eat low fat proteins, dairy products and milk in moderate proportions, and limit your intake of foods that are high in sugar, fats and salt.
- The daily diet should include green leafy vegetables, carrots and tomatoes that are low in calories but very high in essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function properly.
- Many obese people follow the lime juice diet to lose weight quickly. Fasting on this diet is quite beneficial in treating obesity. This diet not only helps you lose weight it also keeps your energy and appetite intact.
Suggestion for Obesity
In addition to following dietary guidelines for treating obesity, it is also important to exercise regularly to burn extra body fat. Simple exercises such a brisk walk early in the morning for at least 30 minutes can help burn a large amount of unwanted calories and help tone muscles in the body. Since every individuals body metabolism differ, it is best to seek advice from your doctor for advice on exercises depending on your current weight and overall health status. Physical activities that you can incorporate into your daily routine such as walking, swimming, jogging, climbing and cycling are not just convenient, but also effective ways to lose excess body weight. The intensity of these exercises can be built up gradually to help you lose more weight. In addition to these exercises, you can also try to take up yoga or light aerobics to deal with obesity.
- Thomas A. Wadden, Brian G. McGuckin, Rebecca A. Rothman, Stephanie L. Sargent, Lifestyle Modification in the Management of Obesity, Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Volume 7, Issue 4, MayJune 2003, Pages 452-463, ISSN 1091-255X, 10.1016/S1091-255X(03)00048-9.
- Angela Makris, Gary D. Foster, Dietary Approaches to the Treatment of Obesity, Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 34, Issue 4, December 2011, Pages 813-827, ISSN 0193-953X, 10.1016/j.psc.2011.08.004.
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