World Obesity Day 2024: World Obesity Day: Debunking Myths On This Dangerous Health Disorder

Stigmas attached to obesity have made us lackadaisical towards health care Obesity is a pressing global health concern that has seen a significant increase over the past few decades. A body mass index or BMI over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese. According to the World Obesity Atlas 2023, the number of obese people is expected to increase to 4 billion people, which means more than 51 per cent of the world’s population, by 2035. Specifically, the number of people with obesity is projected to rise from 988 million in 2020 to 1.9 billion in 2035. These horrifying statistics highlight a significant and concerning trend of increasing overweight and obesity globally. 1 Experts believe one of the major risk factors is elevating symptoms of Covid-19 as high adiposity rates during the pandemic have drawn more attention to its prevalence and causes. Unfortunately, stigmas attached to obesity have made humans lackadaisical towards health care. Let’s debunk a few myths and beliefs regarding obesity. Myth 1 Obesity is caused by overeating Fact While is it popularly believed that eating food can make you overweight and obese, experts tend to disagree. “While excessive calorie consumption can contribute to weight gain, obesity is influenced by various factors. The obesogenic effect of macronutrients is dependent on the quantity, quality, and caloric density of food, not exclusively the gram quantity of food,” Dr. V. Mohan, Chairperson of Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, told Times Now. Dr. Mohan added that other factors like genetics, hormonal imbalances, and environmental factors also play a crucial role. Many people struggle with obesity despite maintaining a balanced diet, highlighting the need for a holistic approach to address this issue. 2 Myth 2 Only those with severe obesity are at risk for health problems Fact Even those who live with milder grades of obesity can still be at risk for obesity-related health issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The health implications of obesity can affect a broad spectrum of individuals, not just those who are living with severe obesity. Myth 3 Crash diets can reduce obesity Fact No, they do not. While there can be a sudden increase in the rate at which the weight can go down, however, it may not remain so in the long run.According to experts, setting realistic goals for weight loss is more important than crash or fad diets that may just reduce water weight and cause severe health implications in the long run. Appropriate nutrition accompanied by routine physical activity and constant monitoring is the key to staying fit. Myth 4 People with obesity lack willpower and discipline Fact Obesity is often the result of an imbalance in physiologic forces affecting hunger that strongly resist weight reduction and weakly resist weight gain. many factors contribute to nutrition and physical activity behaviors, well beyond willpower. 3 “Biological factors like genetics and metabolism impact weight regulation. Additionally, socio-economic factors, mental health, and access to healthy food options also contribute to obesity. It is essential to approach the topic with empathy and understanding rather than judgment,” said Dr. Mohan. Myth 5 Obesity is not a disease but a lifestyle choice Fact According to Dr. Mohan, a disease is defined as adverse anatomic changes or dysfunction of, an organ or system of the body that results from genetic or development errors, inflammation, or infection. “The signs, symptoms, and pathophysiology of obesity fulfill each of these disease-defining criteria.” Myth 6 To be fit and healthy you need to lose a lot of weight Fact Experts say modest weight loss – even as little as 5 per cent, can yield significant health benefits for individuals dealing with obesity. Among these benefits, a reduction in blood pressure and improvements in blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia are notable outcomes observed within the 0-5 per cent weight loss range. Progressing to a 5-10 per cent weight loss can play a crucial role in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. Further weight loss, is associated with reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease, as well as improvements in conditions such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. These findings underscore the importance of incremental weight loss in achieving various health benefits and reducing the risks associated with obesity-related complications.

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