- Excess body mass is related to the development of more than 100 different diseases.
- In 2018 alone, there were 1.9 billion overweight adults in the world and more than 650 million were obese.
- Adopting a healthy diet from an early age and practicing physical activities regularly are the main recommendations that must be followed.
Obesity has become one of the most serious health problems of the 21st century. It is by no means a simple question of aesthetics or vanity, but a factor that is related to more than 100 different diseases. Although the worst thing is that every year at least 2.8 million people die from having excess body mass.
A big problem
However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 34 percent of the global population suffers from diabetes, that is, one in 11 people. While 23 percent suffer ischemic heart disease and between 7 percent and 41 percent are associated with some cancers. In all cases there is a direct relationship with overweight and obesity.
Fact 1: The overweight and obesity They are defined as an abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat that can be detrimental to health. The body mass index (BMI) – weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2) – is an index frequently used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. The WHO defines overweight as a BMI equal to or greater than 25, and obesity as a BMI equal to or greater than 30.
Fact 2: In 2018, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight and more than 650 million were obese. Every year, at least 2.8 million people die due to obesity or being overweight. The prevalence of obesity has nearly tripled between 1975 and 2019. Although previously considered a problem limited to high-income countries, obesity is now also prevalent in low- and middle-income countries.
Fact 3: In 2019, 41 million children under the age of five were overweight worldwide. Overweight children are more likely to become obese adults and, compared with non-overweight children, are more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease at earlier ages, which in turn are associated with an increased likelihood of premature death and disability.
Fact 4: Globally, overweight and obesity cause more deaths than underweight. 57 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where overweight and obesity cause more deaths than underweight. These countries include all high- and middle-income countries. Diabetes, ischemic heart disease and certain cancers are attributable to being overweight and obese.
Fact 5: Obesity is usually the result of an imbalance between calories ingested and calories expended. Increased consumption of very high-calorie foods without a commensurate increase in physical activity leads to weight gain. The decrease in physical activity also produces an energy imbalance that leads to weight gain.
Fact 6: The support of the community and the environment are essential to influence personal choices and avoid obesity. Individual responsibility can only fully exert its effects when people have access to a healthy lifestyle and are supported to make healthy choices. WHO mobilizes all stakeholders who have a crucial role in creating healthy environments and in the affordability and accessibility of healthier dietary options.
Fact 7: Children’s choices, their diet and the habit of doing physical activities depend on the environment around them. Socioeconomic development, agricultural, transportation, urban planning, environmental, educational, and food processing, distribution, and marketing policies influence children’s dietary habits and preferences, as well as their physical activity. These influences are increasingly fueling weight gain that is causing a continued increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity.
Fact 8: A healthy diet contributes to the prevention of obesity. It can:
1. Maintain a healthy weight.
2. Reduce total fat intake and replace saturated fats with unsaturated ones.
3. Increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
4. Decrease the intake of sugar and salt.
Fact 9: Weight loss surgeries. Metabolic surgery helps people suffering from morbid obesity to combat different diseases. Today it is the best treatment option for people who cannot lose weight by any means, in addition to being proven to help improve the quality of life of patients with diabetes, regulating insulin in the body.
Fact 10: Comprehensive treatment against overweight and obesity. Due to the complex and multifactorial nature of obesity, there is no single treatment for its management and the intervention of various health professionals (physician, nutritionist, psychologist, medical specialist, etc.) is required to jointly identify and treat the related aspects.
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