loss is a perpetual burden for more
than half of the world’s population.
Weight loss is a desirable situation
for some people and a necessary
solution for those who are severely
overweight and obese. Overweight
and obesity are both labels for
the ranges of weight that are greater
than what is generally considered
to be healthy for a given height.
These terms are also used to define
an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation
in the body that may impair health
and increase the likelihood of certain
diseases. The World Health Organization
(WHO) defines "overweight"
as a BMI (Body Mass Index) of at
least 25 and "obesity"
as a BMI of at least 30. BMI is
a simple index of weight-for-height
that is commonly used to classify
overweight and obesity in adult
populations and individuals. It
is defined as the weight in kilograms
divided by the square of the height
in meters (kg/m2).
Why do people gain weight?
primary cause of weight gain is
that the amount of calories that
are expended is less than the amount
of calories that are consumed. Several
factors can contribute to this energy
imbalance and poor lifestyle choices
have aggravated this problem to
a great extent. There has been a
steep rise in the intake of high
calorie foods that are rich in fats
and sugars but low in vitamins,
minerals, and other micronutrients.
The problem is compounded by the
overall decrease in physical activity
because of sedentary lifestyle,
dependence on vehicular transport,
and increase in urbanization.
Obesity is observed in men, women,
and children alike. Children are
now more interested in watching
television and exploring the internet
instead of in playing outdoors.
The three types of food that
entice most children are those that
are greasy, salty, and sugary. If
children are given a choice, they
would prefer to consume French fries
instead of celery sticks and the
children-centric marketing of processed
food and the abundance of unhealthy
products in our supermarkets have
done nothing to avert this trend.
appears that overeating and obesity
are only problems for people who live
in developed countries, but this is
not entirely true. Ironically, poverty
is also one of the causes of obesity.
Junk food or food with zero or little
nutritional value is cheaper and more
easily available than healthy food.
Therefore, those who are living below
the poverty line, those who are responsible
for providing food for many people,
and those who cannot afford to spend
money on healthy food consume a large
amount of these “filler”
foods with empty calories.
Obesity may also be hereditary. Scientists
believe that some people are born with
“overweight” genes, and
poor living habits such as overeating
and lack of exercise only intensify
this problem. Weight gain during pregnancy
is normal, but some women retain a large
amount of excess weight post-delivery.
Anyone who does not adequately care
for his or her body and abuses it by
overeating, eating unhealthy foods,
and lacking physical activity is at
risk of being overweight.
Overweight and obesity lead to serious
health consequences such as cardiovascular
disease (mainly heart disease and stroke),
diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders
such as osteoarthritis and even cancers
(endometrial, breast, and colon).