Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. It isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It’s a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. There are many reasons why some people have difficulty losing weight. Usually, obesity results from inherited, physiological and environmental factors, combined with diet, physical activity, and exercise choices.
Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk. A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese. The issue has grown to epidemic proportions, with over 4 million people dying each year as a result of being obese in 2017 according to the global burden of disease.
Obesity is one side of the double burden of malnutrition and today more people are obese than underweight. Once considered a problem only in high-income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The vast majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries.
The most obvious symptom is the increase in weight therefore the symptoms that may be presented arise from this increase in weight that, among others, other symptoms may include:
The main signs also derive from the magnitude of the excess weight, the most common:
Several factors can play a role in gaining and retaining excess weight. These include diet, lack of exercise, environmental factors, and genetics.
The best way to treat obesity is to eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet, and exercise regularly. To do this you should:
You may also benefit from receiving psychological support from a trained healthcare professional to help change the way you think about food and eating. If lifestyle changes alone don’t help you lose weight, a medication called orlistat may be recommended. If taken correctly, this medication works by reducing the amount of fat you absorb during digestion. Your GP will know whether Orlistat is suitable for you.
The drug is used with an individualized low-calorie, low-fat diet, and exercise program to help people lose weight. Orlistat is in a class of medications called lipase inhibitors. It works by preventing some of the fat in foods eaten from being absorbed in the intestines.
In rare cases, weight loss surgery may be recommended.