Have you been wondering whether you are obese or not? What really is this animal called obesity? What causes it? What are the symptoms and is it curable? Probably you have had so many myths and misconceptions concerning body weight. In this article, I am going to share with you all the information that you want to know about obesity.
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern, it is a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.
Obesity in Zimbabwe – How it Affects People
There are many reasons why some people have difficulty avoiding obesity. Usually, obesity results from a combination of inherited factors, combined with the environment and personal diet and exercise choices.
The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. Dietary changes increased physical activity, and behaviour changes can help you lose weight. Prescription medications and weight-loss procedures are additional options for treating obesity.
What is Obesity?
Weight that is higher than what is considered a healthy weight for a given height is described as being overweight or obese. The majority of people in Zimbabwe are obese, some are aware and others are ignorant. Statistics have shown that almost 90% of people in Zimbabwe who are known diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus type 2 patients are obese.
What Causes Obesity in Zimbabwe?
Eating more calories than you burn in daily activity and exercise (on a long-term basis) is the main cause of obesity in Zimbabwe. Over time, these extra calories add up and cause you to gain weight.
Many people in Zimbabwe do not care about number of calories contained in every food they take. Avoiding regular meals and opting for junk food such as chicken inn, pizza, lately common take away Shawarma etc places you at risk of being obese.
Other Common Specific Causes of Obesity in Zimbabwe:
- eating a poor diet of foods high in fats and calories
- having a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle
- not sleeping enough, which can lead to hormonal changes that make you feel hungrier and crave certain high-calorie foods
- genetics, which can affect how your body processes food into energy and how fat is stored
- growing older, which can lead to less muscle mass and a slower metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight
- pregnancy (weight gained during pregnancy can be difficult to lose and may eventually lead to obesity)
Certain medical conditions may also lead to weight gain. These include:
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): a condition that causes an imbalance of female reproductive hormones
- Prader-Willi syndrome: a rare condition that an individual is born with which causes excessive hunger
- Cushing syndrome: a condition caused by having an excessive amount of the hormone cortisol in your system
- hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid): a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones
- osteoarthritis (and other conditions that cause pain that may lead to inactivity).
Types of Obesity
Studies reported that there are six clusters of obese individuals. These were:
- young healthy females – women who were obese, but generally had fewer obesity-related complications, such as type 2 diabetes
- heavy-drinking males – as above, but with higher alcohol intake
- unhappy and anxious middle-aged – predominantly women with poor mental health and wellbeing
- affluent and healthy elderly – generally positive health, but defining characteristics of higher alcohol intake and high blood pressure
- physically sick but happy elderly – older people with more chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, but good mental health
- poorest health – people who were the most economically deprived and had the greatest number of chronic diseases
What Are the Symptoms of Being Obese?
Obesity symptoms include the following
- increased sweating.
- inability to cope with sudden physical activity.
- feeling very tired every day.
- back and joint pains.
- low confidence and self esteem.
- feeling isolated.
Treatment of Obesity
Reducing calories and practicing healthier eating habits are vital to overcoming obesity. Although you may lose weight quickly at first, steady weight loss over the long term is considered the safest way to lose weight and the best way to keep it off permanently.
Exercise and Activity
Increased physical activity or exercise is an essential part of obesity treatment. Most people who are able to maintain their weight loss for more than a year get regular exercise, even simply walking.
A behaviour modification program can help you make lifestyle changes and lose weight and keep it off. Steps to take include examining your current habits to find out what factors, stresses or situations may have contributed to your obesity. Counselling and support groups are essential.
Prescription Weight-loss Medication
Losing weight requires a healthy diet and regular exercise. But in certain situations, prescription weight-loss medication may help.
Keep in mind, though, that weight-loss medication is meant to be used along with diet, exercise and behaviour changes, not instead of them. The main purpose of weight-loss medications, also known as anti-obesity medications, is to help you to stick to a low-calorie diet by stopping the hunger and lack of fullness signals that appear when trying to lose weight.
Endoscopic Procedure for Weight Loss
There are several different types of endoscopic procedures used for weight loss. One procedure involves placing stitches in your stomach to reduce its size and the amount of food you can comfortably consume. In another endoscopic procedure, doctors insert a small balloon into your stomach. The balloon is filled with water to reduce the amount of space available in your stomach. This helps you feel fuller faster.
In some people, weight-loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, is an option. Weight-loss surgery limits the amount of food you’re able to comfortably eat or decreases the absorption of food and calories, or it does both. While weight-loss surgery offers the best chance of losing the most weight, it can pose serious risks.
Diagnosis of Obesity
- Taking your health history.Your doctor may review your weight history, weight-loss efforts, physical activity and exercise habits, eating patterns and appetite control, what other conditions you’ve had, medications, stress levels, and other issues about your health. Your doctor may also review your family’s health history to see if you may be predisposed to certain conditions.
- A general physical exam.This includes measuring your height; checking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature; listening to your heart and lungs; and examining your abdomen.
- Calculating your BMI.Your doctor will check your body mass index (BMI). A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obesity. Numbers higher than 30 increase your health risks even more. Your BMI should be checked at least once a year because it can help determine your overall health risks and what treatments may be appropriate.
- Measuring your waist circumference.Fat stored around your waist, sometimes called visceral fat or abdominal fat, may further increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Women with a waist measurement (circumference) of more than 35 inches (89 centimeters, or cm) and men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches (102 cm) may have more health risks than do people with smaller waist measurements. Like the BMI measurement, your waist circumference should be checked at least once a year.
- Checking for other health problems.If you have known health problems, your doctor will evaluate them. Your doctor will also check for other possible health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Your doctor may also recommend certain heart tests, such as an electrocardiogram.
- Blood tests.What tests you have depend on your health, risk factors and any current symptoms you may be having. Blood tests may include a cholesterol test, liver function tests, a fasting glucose, a thyroid test and others.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Mass Index (BMI) is used as a screening tool for overweight or obesity. BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness.
- If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.
- If your BMI is 18.5 to <25, it falls within the normal.
- If your BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.
- If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.
Obesity is frequently subdivided into categories:
- Class 1: BMI of 30 to < 35
- Class 2: BMI of 35 to < 40
- Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. Class 3 obesity is sometimes categorized as “extreme” or “severe” obesity.
Complications of Obesity
Obesity leads to much more than simple weight gain. Having a high ratio of body fat to muscle puts strain on your bones as well as your internal organs. It also increases inflammation in the body, which is thought to be a cause of cancer. Obesity is also a major cause of type 2 diabetes.
Obesity has been linked to a number of health complications, some of which are life-threatening:
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- certain cancers (breast, colon, and endometrial)
- gallbladder disease
- fatty liver disease
- high cholesterol
- sleep apnea and other breathing problems