Obesity has been defined by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – the apex health body in America to mean “Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese”.
As per statistics from CDC, from 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity in the USA increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.
So, how do you know if you are obese?
Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), for which you need the following:
- Your weight,
- Your height, and
- Google or a mobile app (Just 1 out of > 1000s available on android and apple platforms)
Today, BMI is considered as a “gold standard” test for us to assess if anyone is:
- Normal weight, or
- Overweight, or
Why is obesity so crucial?
Obesity is a significant health risk, especially in youth today.
CDC Studies show the prevalence of obesity in the USA was 40.0% among young adults aged 20 to 39 years, 44.8% among middle-aged adults aged 40 to 59 years, and 42.8% among adults aged 60 and older.
Figure 1. Prevalence of obesity among adults aged 20 and over, by sex and age: the United States, 2017–2018
Obesity makes people prone to health disorders, including but not limited to, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, cancer, depression, etc. it also affects their mental and physical well-being. Obese people suffer from stigma and enter a vicious circle of a stressful life caused due to such stigma and disrespectful treatment by others.
In fact, obesity in children has become so rampant that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it an epidemic and a threat to public health. Children who are obese face humiliation and suffer from emotional distress and psychological problems.
What has caused obesity to become so rampant?
Lifestyle changes, high consumerism, dietary deviations are a few causes that have led to an increase in obesity. Worldwide one can see a huge surge in desk jobs, eating out, less physical activities, more reliance on technology, etc. These have made people not only lethargic but also lead them to the consumption of unhealthy food.
WHO points out that “as incomes rise and populations become more urban, diets high in complex carbohydrates give way to more varied diets with a higher proportion of fats, saturated fats, and sugars. At the same time, large shifts towards less physically demanding work have been observed worldwide. Moves towards less physical activity are also found in the increasing use of automated transport, technology in the home, and more passive leisure pursuits.”
How can you control obesity? What can you do?
Diet and lifestyle changes (including a reduction in intake of saturated fats, increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, etc), regular exercises, outdoor activities are a few ways to control obesity.
It is essential that one understands how obesity is a disease that needs to be countered on a daily basis. The urge to eat highly fatty food than fruits, or the urge to be a couch potato than to join some outdoor activity are choices one makes on a regular basis! Only when one makes lifestyle changes, can they beat obesity!