Obesity is a common but often underestimated condition of clinical and public health importance in many countries around the world.

Obesity is a condition resulting from accumulation of excess body fat. This fat deposition takes place over a period of time. The amount of excess fat is deposited either around the waist and trunk or peripherally around the body. Earlier it was considered as a problem of developed countries but now it’s a worldwide health concern. Increasing prevalence of obesity is a cause of grave concern.

Over a long period of time, if we eat more calories than we burn through body functions, daily activities and exercise, then it causes obesity. Sometimes it is coupled with a combination of inherited factors and medical conditions. But the biggest culprit is high calories intake through easily available sweets, fast foods, outside food, high calorie beverages etc. It makes one eat more calories before feeling full and feel hungry sooner. Sometimes obese persons eat more due to stress or anxiety.

Measuring body fat is practically difficult. A ratio of height and weight called body mass index (BMI) is the most useful method for assessing obesity. BMI value between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered as healthy weight whereas BMI between 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. Obesity is diagnosed if body mass index (BMI) is 30 or greater and the extent of abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in adipose tissue is to such an extent that the health is impaired. In many societies’ plumpness has acceptance as a sign of well-being or a symbol of high social status, but BMI of 18.5-24.9 is the ideal weight to remain healthy and enjoy a quality life. BMI in general provides a reasonably fair estimate of body fat. However, BMI doesn’t directly measure body fat, and in some muscular individuals, BMI may be more showing them obese even though they don’t have excess body fat. Nevertheless, it a simple and good method for assessment of obesity.

Obesity is not just a cosmetic concern but a complex health issue. It increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, fatty liver, arthritis, infertility, sleep disorders and certain cancers.

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 behavior changes can help you lose weight. Even if you are prone to obesity due to some genetic or hormonal or medical condition, it is not a reason to give up on losing weight. A loss of as little as 5-10 percent of body weight results in significant improvement of overall health and helps in minimising severity of risk factors associated with obesity. Dietary modifications, physical activity and lifestyle modifications help in weight management journey. Diet is a game changer.


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