Obesity is the excessive accumulation of fat. It can have negative affects upon the overall health of an individual. A person is considered overweight or obese based on his Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is calculated by dividing the weight of an individual by the square of the height (lbs/in2). According to the World Health Organization (WHO):
*A person with a BMI of 25 is overweight
*An individual with a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese.
These numbers and indexes should be treated as indicative since the level of fat, weight of the bones and muscle in all adults can vary on the basis of sex, race and environment.
Given that obesity is a serious concern among kids and teens, the WHO is also investigating the issue of developing a growth reference index for children and adolescents.
Obesity is a major health risk, which is directly proportionate to the BMI of a person. It is a major cause for heart disease and stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis and some types of cancers.
The statistics of 2005 paint an alarming picture with regards to obesity. There are over 1.6 billion overweight people above the age of 15 years and 400 million adults who have been diagnosed as clinically obese. The World Health Organization is aware of this horrifying trend and issued guidelines, for individuals as well as nations for countering the menace.
*Choose a balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
*Shift from consumption of saturated fats to unsaturated fats.
*Restrict sugar intake.
*Strike a balance between energy intake and spending energy.
*Adopt an active lifestyle that includes at least half an hour of moderate to intense physical exercise.
*Strive for easy availability of low fat, high fiber content foods through public policies.
*Increase opportunities for physical-related activities.
*Create healthy residential environments.
*Address the problems of crime, road safety, street connectivity, footpaths and cycleways to promote physical activities like walking and cycling.
Providing programs for treating the existing obese population needs to be addressed. It requires persistent determination to meet the challenge head on as there are no quick-fix weight loss solutions. Promoting natural weight loss for kids and adults and motivating fat children and individuals to adopt solutions that help in managing obesity in a healthy manner is one option. Herbal weight loss for children and individuals is another option that should be explored.
Obesity was once thought to be a problem of rich people. It was more prevalent in the developed countries. But today one can sees the problem taking its roots among the low and middle income groups in urban areas and in underdeveloped countries as well. The problem needs to be addressed on a war footing for fear that it may surpass the projections of the World Health Organization.
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