Obesity and obesity-related implications

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. Obesity can be measured by both body fat percentage and using Body Mass Index (BMI). In general, Wwomen with 32-41% and men between 27-37% are called over-weight while men with 38% plus fat and women above 42% are considered obese. By using the BMI chart, we are also able to identify obesity and health risk.

Let’s look at how Singapore and America fare:


From these two set of data, we can tell that over the years, the increase of obesity rate in both Singapore and America has a similar trend. This is slowly turning into a world-wide epidemic.


So what are the implications related to obesity?

  1. Diabetes, a disorder where the pancreas is not producing enough or sometimes not any insulin. Diabetes can lead to a whole host of other medical issues and obesity is one of the main causes.
  2. Cancer has many different forms and types; many of them could be prevented with more attention to eating healthily and avoiding obesity.
  3. Congestive heart failure is a condition in which your heart can’t pump enough blood to your body’s other organs.
  4. Enlarged heart is another heart condition where the muscle of your heart becomes larger due to being overworked, which naturally happens if you are overweight.
  5. Pulmonary embolism is a sometimes fatal blockage of an artery. Being overweight causes most people to reduce activity, and after time lack of activity can result in an embolism.
  6. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition in which cysts develop in your ovaries. These can burst, causing even further problems.
  7. Gastro-esophageal reflux disease happens when stomach acid and juices flow from your stomach back up into your esophagus. It is common in overweight people.
  8. Fatty liver disease is a reversible condition in which large pockets of fat accumulate in liver cells.
  9. A hernia is caused when the hole in the diaphragm weakens and enlarges.
  10. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to develop or maintain an erection, which can be caused by a medical problem due to obesity.
  11. Urinary incontinence is the inability to control urination. It is frequently associated with obesity, weak bladder and pelvic floor muscles
  12. Chronic renal failure, meaning your kidneys fail to work, is a much greater risk to those who are overweight or obese.
  13. Lymph edema is a condition that occurs from a damaged or dysfunctional lymphatic system, sometimes caused by people suffering from obesity actually crushing their own lymphatics.
  14. Cellulitis is a spreading infection, involving both the dermis and subcutaneous skin tissues, resulting from poor lymph flow caused by obesity.
  15. Stroke is caused by a lack of blood supply to your brain.
  16. Pickwickian syndrome is characterized by sleep apnea resulting from obesity placing an excessive load on your pulmonary system.
  17. Depression is a condition where a person feels miserable constantly, even to the point of being suicidal. It can be worse for someone who also has a weight problem.
  18. Osteoarthritis is a clinical syndrome in which low-grade inflammation results in pain in your joints. It is caused by abnormal wearing of the cartilage, oftentimes due to obesity.
  19. Gout occurs when uric acid accumulates in your blood. Nerve endings then become irritated, causing extreme pain, which is made worse by carrying extra weight.
  20. Gallbladder disease commonly affects overweight people as a result of high blood cholesterol levels, which cause gall stones.
  21. Increase in health care costs
  22. Lost productivity due to medical leave


What actually causes obesity? These are just a few examples:

Dietary Practices
-Availability of food such as high complex carbohydrates, higher proportion of fats, saturated fats and sugars (fast food) can cause changes to energy balance.

Physical activity
-Increased sedentary lifestyle due to passive leisure pursuits. Not only does this promote a positive energy balance, it can reduce your fitness level and potentially cause health implications in the future.

-Efficient transport system(motor vehicles) and advanced technology (escalators, lifts, remote controls) reduce the calories expended for the sake of convenience.


What are the strategies to counter obesity?

The National Healthy Lifestyle Program (NHLP), which was launched in 1992 focused on four lifestyle pillars:
1. not smoking;
2. being physically active;
3. eating right; and
4. managing stress to combat major chronic diseases and their risk factors.

However, we have to recognize that preventive strategies in dealing with obesity are often multi-faceted. It involves both individual motivation and the lifestyle/environment management to facilitate and sustain weight loss. In other words, it is a shared responsibility. How so? Let’s have a look below.

Here are some small tips that I, as a fitness professional can provide for you:

· Remove junk food entirely from your diet. Junk food is high in its fat content and gives too many empty calories to the body, something that it does not require.
· Try and also reduce the amount that you eat, gradually. Do not do so all at once as you might suffer bouts of tiredness or dizziness.
· Take in only the amount of food that is required by your body to perform its daily activities. All extra food taken in just keeps collecting around your abdomen and poses several threats to your heart.
· Regular exercising is essential while fighting obesity. Other than aiding in weight loss, exercising would also help in the overall functioning of the body.
· Set small weight loss goals that are easy to achieve. Realistic goals, when achieved, would help you gain the incentive to lose even more. Reward yourself with something that you had wanted for a long time once you achieve a milestone.
· Maintain the healthy diet plan even after you lose all that extra flab. Obesity has to be fought with on a regular term as all the weight that you lose is bound to come back if you do not maintain it. You could talk to a diet counselor to form a diet plan for you.

You could also form a support system to fight against obesity. By a support system we mean that you could ask your family members or your friends to join in your struggle to lose weight. Ask all your support system members to check you whenever you slacken and stop following your diet and exercise plan.


Remember that fighting obesity is not a destination, but a life-long journey. And we can work together to achieve optimal health and fitness!


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