Obesity Epidemic – Understanding and Control
Obesity has struck the modern world in this third millennium. Obesity has assumed epidemic levels in some Western countries and strict measures are being taken to control it. But, the Eastern countries are also not far behind. While everything is overtly blamed on imitation of the Western culture and practices, the reality is that just playing a blame game is not enough. If obesity is to be controlled from reaching epidemic levels throughout the globe it needs to be understood and some concrete steps need to be taken.
Understanding the Extent of Obesity Epidemic:
WHO information states –
- There are over 1 billion adults, who are overweight. No less than 300 million qualify as obese.
- There is an increased occurrence of childhood obesity.
- Obesity creates several physical, mental, emotional, and social problems of humongous nature.
- Obesity increases risks of several lifestyle diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, stroke, and even some types of cancer.
- Obesity can strike people of all ages and of all socioeconomic groups.
- Obesity is a complicated situation of the extremes. It is seen existing simultaneously with under-nutrition in several mal-nourished populations.
- Obesity is a worldwide phenomenon. It is as prevalent in the less industrialized societies as in the highly developed societies. In fact, it could be even penetrating the developing societies at a much faster rate.
- Since the year 1980, there has been recorded a three times increase in obesity in some areas of North America, USA, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Pacific Islands, Australasia and China.
Understanding the Causes of Obesity Epidemic:
- One major reason of obesity reaching such amplified levels is increased consumption of energy-dense foods that are also high in saturated fats and sugars.
- The other reason is lessening of physical activity in the human population.
- Obesity is the resultant of several lifestyle changes and behavioural patterns that have been slowly seeping into our societies in the last few decades.
- Human bodily functions are governed by metabolic rates and genetic makeup. And at the same time the calorie burnout of energy-dense foods is also governed by levels of physical activity. In the modern times people are eating high calorie foods in more quantities with lesser physical exertions. This is the prime cause of obesity.
- Globalization of the food industry with massive spurt in urbanization and boom in the packaged foods industry has made food products reach far corners of the world. Consumption of foods laden with fats including saturated fats and sugars is on the rise.
- Lifestyle modernizations have increased usage of automobiles, physically passive recreational activities and technologically advanced home appliances, which reduce physical hard work. This has tremendous drawbacks.
Controlling the Obesity Epidemic:
- Creating awareness about benefits of eating foods that are low in saturated animal based fats, low in sugars, high in fibre, and increase in physical exercise for at least half an hour daily.
- Encouraging healthy patterns of eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, vegetable oil based fats, natural foods and less or preferably no intake of processed and packaged foods.
- Creating effective weight management strategies for individuals, groups, societies and countries.
- Initiating sustained clinical response to existing situations of obesity and developing long-term strategies to counter further escalation of the obesity epidemic.
Obesity epidemic can strike you and your loved ones too. Take good care of your lifestyle patterns and remain close to natural food products.
Reference: World Health Organization website (http://www.who.int/en/)
Written by Neena Dayal, firstname.lastname@example.org
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