Excess amounts of body fat leads to being overweight or obese, and this is becoming more and more common. Obesity is calculated by using the body mass index, or BMI, which is obtained by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres. A BMI of more than or equal to 30 diagnoses you as obese Obesity is a serious and costly matter. Obesity is associated with numerous health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several cancers. Sleep apnea and breathing disorders are also more common in obese people. Obesity may also make a woman infertile and pose difficulties in her pregnancy. The medical cost burden on obese people is also greater. As such, serious and effective efforts are required to bring about the much needed changes that support healthy eating and an active lifestyle.
Cause of the obesity epidemic
Lifestyle of modern era has changed to encourage eating more and doing less physical activity. Societies and communities have changed and are now encouraging obesity. The space and time for physical activity are now limited and unsafe. Parks and recreation centres are not accessible easily. Cars and motorized transport has made left little scope for biking or walking. Schools are no longer educating children about health and physical education. People now have less access to healthy affordable foods like vegetables and fruits. Instead shops, restaurants, and vending machines dole out food which is high in calories and fat as compared to home cooked food. Sugar consumption is very high in today’s diet. The market is full of advertisements that makes us consume food that is rich in salts, fats and sugars. Unhealthy snacks, foods and drinks are very accessible and relatively cheaper then healthy foods.
Solutions to combat the obesity epidemic
The obesity epidemic is complex and requires addressing at many levels for both children and adults. Physical activity must be encouraged with equal focus on nutrition to control obesity. Supermarkets and farmers should get incentives for promoting healthy foods. The government must promote changes by launching “fit movements” that aim to eliminate obesity. Bicycling and public transportation should be included in policies. Communities should be re-designed to be safe for physical activity for all ages with numerous parks and playgrounds for children. Schools and childcare facilities should have a good quality physical education program.
Parents and caregivers must be empowered to provide healthy food in schools and encourage improved access to healthy foods which is affordable. Fruits and vegetables should be supplied with encouragement in schools, businesses and communities. These programs should be supported by the communities. Breast feeding programs should be highlighted in hospitals with support from peers in communities.
People should increase their dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables and lower their intake of sugars and fats. They should say no the sugary drinks and opt for drinking water instead. Limiting the hours of TV watching or sedentary activities to no more than 2 hours per day. Have no TV in the bedroom and do talk a brisk 10-minute walk, at least thrice weekly for a minimum of 5 days per week.