Archive for May 2014

The Importance of Diet in the Fight against Obesity

May 28, 2014

Obesity, the presence of excess amounts of fat in the body, is a medical condition that can lead to adverse health effects, such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac problems. More than simply a cosmetic concern, obesity can contribute to the considerable shortening of an individual’s life. More and more physicians are taking the initiative to engage in respectful dialogue with patients about strategies for maintaining a healthy weight.

Obesity can stem from or be exacerbated by any number of factors, including lack of adequate physical activity; a largely fast-food, high-calorie diet; pregnancy; certain medications; and even lack of proper rest and sleep.

While prescription medications and even surgery can be effective in addressing the problem of obesity, dietary changes and regular exercise often produce the most long-lasting positive effects. Most physicians and nutritionists believe that the best way to achieve permanent, healthy weight loss is to take the simple step of reducing the amount of calories consumed and increasing physical activity to an appropriate level.

Even moderate changes that result in small amounts of weight loss can show health-boosting results. For example, an individual who is overweight at 200 pounds and loses only 10 to 20 pounds can achieve noticeable benefits. People who obtain the longest-lasting results lose weight slowly and steadily, by about one or two pounds per week.

In addition to a low-calorie diet, a nutrition plan that focuses on eating significant quantities of fruits and vegetables is best. These foods tend to result in a full feeling throughout the day, thereby reducing the likelihood of people experiencing hunger pangs and the urge to indulge in unhealthy snacks.

An individual concerned about obesity should consult his or her physician or nutritional team, who can recommend an individual program of nutrition and exercise and discuss any risk factors involved.

Obesity – A Serious World Health Problem

May 13, 2014

The World Health Organization has called obesity an epidemic worldwide. According to WHO statistics, the number of people who die each year from complications associated with being overweight or obese is approaching 3 million. The problem is no longer confined to wealthier populations in the developed world: it has now become a matter of increasing concern among people of low and middle incomes in many developing nations, especially in population-dense urban centers.

In the WHO definition, the terms “overweight” and “obese” refer to an excess amount of fat that significantly impairs an individual’s health. The term “overweight” denotes a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater, with the criterion for being “obese” a BMI of 30 or greater. People who are overweight or obese are more likely than their peers are to develop cancer, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Recent studies have found that the rate of obesity in the United States has remained largely unchanged over the past decade. While incidences of obesity in young children from the ages of 2 to 5 decreased by more than 40 percent over that period, the overall rates for adults have stayed the same, or even risen. Today, close to one-third of American adults, and more than 15 percent of children, are clinically obese. In addition, obesity rates for women over age 60, in particular, rose significantly during the period measured by the study.

Medical professionals point to a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as moderate, regular exercise, as key components of a healthy weight-loss program for most people. In certain cases, medication or surgery can assist people struggling with obesity to lose weight when other means cannot.