OBESITY: How Societal transitions influence our perception and solution to weight loss

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The various changes in every area of our society today which varies from educational, industrial to even nutritional transitions has largely contributed to changing our opinion about obesity. Once upon a time in Nigeria up until the late 1980s, obesity (with a special note on belly fat) was synonymous with affluence and fat people were seen and even celebrated as being prosperous or seen as the economically buoyant. However, in more recent years, obesity is now seen as “bad” in the light of continual learning from ongoing reports and medical researchers that have implicated obesity in so many illness and diseases. The ever-increasing influence of the media trends has always glamorized the thin body images within the entertainment industry. Severe obese kids often grow up taunted, creating feelings of inadequacy and sometimes may not even be accepted in some circles.

Our bodies are a reflection on what we eat no doubt, however, this has largely leaded to the one-sided general notion that obese people have self-control issues (aka gluttony). On the other extreme, our quest for quick fixes plus sleek supplement marketing campaigns have people adopting weight loss programs/regimen that are may even detrimental to their health in the long run.

In other not to join the band wagon, here is the right way to go about this:

  • First of all, it is important to have a holistic view of obesity and body composition.
  • We also need to look at fitness levels and not merely body weight.

For instance, two individuals with the same body weight may remarkably differ in their health status or health risk because of their varying degrees of fitness. If one engages in physical activities and the other does not, then their health status will definitely be different because regular physical activities help to lower blood pressure and increase glucose tolerance.

I will run this as a series on obesity and weight loss with articles coming up weekly. Let’s get started on a proper definition of obesity.

OBESITY: Obesity is the accumulation of excessive weight (body fat) above 20% or more in excess of the ideal body weight.

Therefore, before you declare someone as obese, you must take cognizance of the individual’s body composition which includes the lean body mass (muscle), fat, water and bone. Some individuals have large bones and frame size. This invariably constitutes a major part of their weight and therefore will have more weight than a person of the same height. Similarly, trained athletes naturally have a bigger muscle build and will weigh more than regular people in spite of being more physically fit!

UNDERSTANDING BODY MASS INDEX, BMI

To be continued…

 

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