By Dr. Parveez Siddiqui, Internal Medicine
What is Obesity?
Obesity is basically the mother of most chronic diseases. It is measured as excess weight as compared to the height of an individual and usually measured in terms of BMI (Body Mass Index). Obesity is defined as BMI more than 30 as per the western population is concerned and more than 28 as per Asian population is concerned. However, even a BMI of more than 23 for Asian population and more than 25 for the western population is considered as abnormal and defined as overweight which is considered as a harmful state. Other methods to measure obesity is waist circumference and waist to height ratio. A waist circumference of more than 80 in women and more than 90 in men is considered abnormal irrespective of BMI.
What is the prevalence of obesity?
Obesity is rapidly becoming a common problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were about 1.6 billion overweight adults aged 15 years and above and at least 400 million adults are obese worldwide. It is a serious public health problem that is growing in countries with low or middle income. According to IOTF (International Obesity Task Force), it was estimated that the prevalence rate of obesity could reach 45% to 50% in the USA, 30% to 40% in Australia, England and Mauritius and more than 20% in Brazil by 2025. Of note, many developing countries like India, face the double burden paradox of obesity and undernutrition.
What if I am obese?
Obesity is not a single disorder but is a starting point of various disorders. In the long run, it can lead to increase chances of Diabetes, hypertension, PCOS in women, infertility issues in women, heart disease, sleep difficulty. It also causes osteoarthritis especially of the knee joint, breathing difficulty and many other diseases with increased chances of certain cancers in the long run. Overall being obese can be a costly affair.