By Dr Oti Esimaje, Chief Medical Director
The food we eat contributes to our wellbeing by providing nutrients, which keeps us healthy, and calories which provides us with energy. However, if we consume more food than is required, the excess calorie is converted to fat which is stored in our body. If we overeat regularly, we gain weight and run the risk of being obese.
The word "Obesity" means too much body fat. Obesity is a chronic disease, like high blood pressure or diabetes which has many serious implications to our health, if not well controlled, and is a leading cause of deaths in many countries. Let’s explore the causes, symptoms and signs, diagnosis and treatment of obesity.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity is caused when we overeat. The excess calories consumed are converted to fat, which would increase in size. When the fat can no longer expand, they increase in numbers and causes increased fat around our bodies leading to obesity or an individual being overweight.
The imbalance between the food we consume and the calories obtained varies by individuals. Our age, gender, genes, psychological makeup, socioeconomic, and environmental factors all may contribute to excess calorie consumption.
Symptoms and Signs
The symptoms of obesity go beyond excess body fat. For example, in adults’ symptoms would include skin problems, shortness of breath and trouble sleeping. In children, fatty tissue deposits in the breast area, sleep apnea and the appearance of stretch marks on the hips and back are signs of obesity.
Body mass index (BMI) is used to assess our weight relative to our height and determine whether we are overweight. BMI is defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2). Our BMI can also be calculated for weight in pounds, and height in inches. It is important to note that obesity, which is a BMI over 30, has been confirmed in both adults and children.
Treatment of Obesity
For most people who are overweight or obese, the safest and most effective way to lose weight is to eat less ‘High Calorie’ foods and exercise more. However, we can also include medical and surgical approaches (bariatric surgery), along with decreasing caloric intake and exercising.
There are no magic pills for losing weight, although people often look out for quick fixes. Nevertheless, it is advised that we look at a diet low in calorie with our doctor and a nutritionist, and try to stick to the meal plan. Some recommended foods that are low in calorie and healthy for our body include: Oats, Spinach, Celery, Raspberries, Apples, Cucumbers, Carrots, lettuce, lemon, pumpkin and much more. Do remember, food must be eaten in moderation or according to the nutritionist recommended daily portion size to obtain maximized results.
By paying attention to the causes, symptoms and signs, diagnosis and treatment of obesity, we should be able to prevent ourselves and our loved ones from being overweight, or manage the weight properly if it develops.
For further information, you may contact us at Newtown Medical Center via email: frontdesk.nmctt@gmail or via telephone: 1 (868) 241-2056. We are willing to explore Obesity, other health issues, and more important, the solutions with you so that you can live with optimized health.