Explained | What is Obesity 3? Symptoms, precautions and more

Dr Rashi Chahl: Obesity is the most common yet neglected public health problem. Obesity is strongly associated with many metabolic disorders like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dyslipidaemia, mental issues etc. India is a highly populated country once ruled by undernutrition; in years, it has been replaced with Obesity due to urbanization and industrialization. As a result, the availability and accessibility of processed food have increased.

Anyone can develop Class 3 obesity, including children and adults. It is a complex disease that has several contributing factors. For example, the imbalance between calories consumed V/S the body of the calories used in a day for digestion, resting, respiratory system, physical activities, and other physiological processes determine how much fat a body will store, resulting in weight gain and, over some time Obesity.
Obesity can be measured following two steps-:

● Measuring the waist circumference

● Measuring skin thickness at the back of your upper arm – triceps, front of your upper arm – biceps, shoulder blades and above the hip bone.

Body Mass Index is a screening tool that measures your height to your weight ratio. It is calculated using weight in kg divided by height in square meters (m2). This helps in determining or asses that whether an individual is of Normal BMI or normal weight, Underweight, overweight or obese.

As per WHO global standards:

● less than 18.5kg/m2 is – underweight

● 18.5- 24.9 – Ideal range/ optimum range

● 25-29.9 – overweight

● 30-34.9 – class 1 obesity

● 35-39.9- class-2 Obesity

● More than 40 – class 3 obesity.

Whereas Asia specific guidelines are:

● Less than 18.5 kg/m2- underweight

● 18.5 – 22.9 – optimum range or ideal range

● 23 – 24.9 – overweight

● 25 – and Above – Obese

● More than 30 – obesity class 3

Several other factors also play a vital role in developing Obesity, such as:

● Genetic factors- Every individual is born with a set number of fat cells that one gets genetically from their parents. It runs in the family.

● Hormonal imbalance -our body uses hormones for unique and vital functions, e.g. dopamine balance, to keep you on the bright side of your well-being. Many hormones can affect how your body signals that you need food when it is enough and how your body uses energy. For example, cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, creating a surge for power in the body, increasing one’s appetite and leading to cravings and, ultimately, weight gain.

● Socio-economic and geographical aspects. Financial comfort and easy access to junk food compared to nutritious whole grains, which are expensive and not readily available, leads to weight gain.

● Lack of movement – due to urbanization, limited walking space in neighbourhoods has led to one restricting themselves to action, which slows down metabolic rate and increases weight storage.

● Advertisements and catchy marketing for calorie-dense foods/junk or promotions on processed foods also contribute to over- indulgent and eventually Obesity.

Treatment for Obesity III:

Treatment for class 3 obesity is individualized. Everyone is different and requires a personalized plan to help combat the underlying causes of Obesity. Together with the proper diet, motivation, counselling and exercise can overcome Obesity. Management includes:

● Healthy lifestyle changes – to follow a proper sleep routine and wake up at the right time. To eat on designated hours and in between physically be active. Physical activity has many benefits – it helps burn extra stored calories in your body that can help you bring your weight to the optimal range and helps in mobilizing joints and regularising hormones.

It must include water that helps flush toxins and keeps your metabolism up. Stress management is essential. There are many ways to cope with stress, like breathing and dwelling on one’s passion, like painting or music. So it’s best to find your balance and do what it takes to cope with stress.

● Limit calories by limiting simple carbs, sugar and fats. Increase consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, millet, and legumes. Add nuts and seeds in between meals in small portions.

● Psychological and behavioural therapy – proper consultation with certified individuals is a must to regularise a routine, to make sure you don’t fall out.

● Medications or surgical procedures only if necessary or your doctor finds it fit.

The author is a Chief Dietician at Rosewalk Healthcare in New Delhi.

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