Obesity is a problem that affects millions upon millions of people in the developed world, and the number continues to grow. Obesity is a condition that adversely affects the health, increasing risks for life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancers.
Obesity is defined as having an abnormally high accumulation of fats in the body. People who have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 kg/m (squared) are considered obese. The condition can be caused by a number of factors including genetics, excess dietary calories, endocrine disorders, inactive lifestyle, or psychiatric illnesses. Experts view obesity as one of the leading health problems of our time and in fact it is named the number one preventable cause of death worldwide.
Obesity was once thought of as only a problem in developed nations but now the problem seems to be evident even in developing countries. In the USA, a projected 9.1% of the total annual health expenditure is dedicated to obesity-related treatments for the 237 million Americans who are considered overweight.
The condition is preventable and steps can be undertaken to reverse obesity, but not a lot of obese individuals seem to be very keen on taking steps to reduce their weights to a more manageable level—as evident by the growing number of obese people year after year. More alarmingly, obesity seems to be on the upward trend in younger people, including children.
So what are the possible solutions to obesity?
Avoid fast food, junk food and sugary drinks. Place more effort in actually preparing the food you eat instead of driving through a burger joint or buying pre-packaged meals. Drink juice or water instead of colas or sweetened drinks that contain a lot of empty calories that can convert straight to fats.
Read about creative cooking with healthier ingredients. We all know that healthy eating i.e. fruits and vegetables is good for us, but sometimes everyone not just obese individuals, just have a hard time choosing healthy over yummy. By researching how you can turn healthy ingredients into tasty meals that you will like, it will be easier to ditch the chips for the salad.
Make food preparation a family affair. By involving the whole family, you get the sense that you are not only doing this for yourself or by yourself, and losing weight becomes a group activity.
Turn off the TV. It is so easy to fall into the couch and just while away time in front of the TV after meals. What happens is that the food that you have just eaten stays within your body instead of being converted into energy. Instead of staying in a seated position after meals, move around. Wash dishes, take a stroll, play with your kids—this will increase your metabolism and allow you to prevent food from turning into fat.
Educate yourself. Know the principles of calorie counting and carbohydrate counting. The more you know how much of this stuff you are putting in your body, the more you are able to regulate the portions you eat.
Go for a checkup. Obese people usually do not go for a checkup unless they feel that there is something wrong. You may not feel bad, but being obese means that there already is something bad going on in your body. Sometimes a good reality check is a trip to the doctor, in order for you to hear what you are at risk of having and what you could do to prevent it.
Seek the help of a counselor. In many obesity cases, the underlying causes are psychological problems which can only be addressed with the help of a psychological counselor. Your counselor may also be able to help you determine the best techniques to say no to food, or the best motivational techniques to go to the gym.
For the morbidly obese, bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is a kind of surgery aimed at helping people lose weight. This is performed only on people who have sought many other ways of losing weight to no avail, and whose lives are already threatened by the excess weight. Bariatric surgery is currently treated only as a last resort because of the risks involved.