There are multiple causes for obesity. These include:
- Family history and genes
- Lifestyle habits
- Too little sleep
In essence, obesity means that we are carrying too much fat in our bodies. A screening test for obesity is an index of weight-for-height called the Body Mass Index (BMI). It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of a person’s height in metres (kg/m²). Other assessments may include cholesterol and blood sugar tests.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO):
- Overweight for adults is a BMI greater than or equal to 25; and
- Obesity for adults is a BMI greater than or equal to 30.
The excess accumulation of fat is what can impair one’s health and place strain on the functioning ability of the body, including an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and even some cancers.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in their National Nutrition Month campaign in March this year: “Making just small shifts in our food choices can add up over time.”
Preparing more home-cooked meals with a variation of your favourite healthy foods is a better option than ordering out and eating meals that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. Keep in mind though that portion size is as important as what we eat.
Increasing activity levels and getting moving can also vital be to a healthy body. It is very easy to fall victim to a sedentary lifestyle as our physical activity levels drop from sitting behind a desk all day. Challenge yourself to get more active a few days a week. Better still, enroll the help of a friend or partner so you can keep each other motivated.
The Heart Foundation recommends that once an individual decides to lose weight, they need to develop a strategy to reach their goal. Changes need to be able to be sustained over the long-term, so create a plan that works for you.
To have your BMI, cholesterol or blood sugar checked, visit your doctor or pharmacy.
All the best!