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Take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain, related health problems

Take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain, related health problems

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Last week, there were many activities surrounding World Obesity Day 2018. The focus of World Obesity Day this year was on weight stigma. Weight stigma is one of the last socially accepted forms of discrimination. The World Obesity Foundation aims to change this and end obesity stigma once and for all.

Obesity is a serious public health problem. In fact, it is considered a disease and a risk factor for many other diseases. Obesity is a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on their health. If a person’s bodyweight is at least 20 percent higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. If the Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 then this is considered overweight. If the BMI is 30 or over, then this is considered as obese.

Obesity is due to many causes. Contrary to what is the common belief, obesity is not caused just by eating too much. There are many reasons why a person will become obese and as such, in order to tackle obesity, we must think beyond eating.

Firstly, a major cause of obesity is the consumption of too many calories. When this happens, the excess is stored as fat. If this happens and you do not live an active lifestyle to burn the fat then it accumulates and lead to obesity. Therefore, living a sedentary lifestyle is another cause of obesity.

Another cause of obesity is not having enough sleep. Research has suggested that if you do not sleep enough your risk of becoming obese doubles. Other causes of obesity are; endocrine disruptors, such as some foods that interfere with lipid (fat) metabolism, smoking cessation, genetic conditions, among others.

Obesity can cause a decrease in the overall quality of life. You may not be able to do things you used to do, such as participating in enjoyable activities. You may avoid public places. Obese people may even encounter discrimination.

Whether you’re at risk of becoming obese, currently overweight or at a healthy weight, you can take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain and related health problems. Not surprisingly, the steps to prevent weight gain are the same as the steps to lose weight: daily exercise, a healthy diet, and a long-term commitment to watch what you eat and drink.

Dr. Rosmond Adams, MD, MSc. (Public Health), M.S (Bioethics) is a medical doctor and a public health specialist with training in bioethics and ethical issues in medicine, the life sciences and research. He is a lecturer of medical ethics.

He is the Head of Health Information, Communicable Disease and Emergency Response at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He is also a member of the World Health Organization Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

(The views expressed here are not written on behalf of CARPHA nor the WHO). You may contact him at adamsrosmond@gmail.com

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