Health: The burdens

Overweight is an excess of body weight compared to set standards. It can come from muscle, bone or bodily water. Obesity is specifically having an abnormally high proportion of body fat. A person can be overweight without being obese, as in the example of a bodybuilder or other athlete who has a lot of muscle. However, many people who are overweight are also obese.

Overweight is an excess of body weight compared to set standards. It can come from muscle, bone or bodily water. Obesity is specifically having an abnormally high proportion of body fat.

A person can be overweight without being obese, as in the example of a bodybuilder or other athlete who has a lot of muscle. However, many people who are overweight are also obese.

Doctor Richard Munyaneza at Rwinkwavu district hospital says that obesity is linked to many health complications. The consequences of overweight and obesity can also be psychological.

He says that complications linked to overweight include; Hypertension, dyslipidemia (high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides), Type 2 diabetes, Heart disease, Stroke, Gallbladder disease,  Osteoarthritis,  Sleep apnea and respiratory problems. 

Some cancers can be linked to obesity. Most health professionals believe that the more overweight an individual is, the higher the risk of developing health complications.

By losing even 10 percent of body weight, an overweight individual can improve his or her health, provided the weight loss is maintained.

The doctor further explains that weight gain occurs when calories consumed from food and beverages exceed calories expended through basal metabolism, thermal effect of food, and physical activity.

The rise in overweight and obesity can be attributed to an imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended or a shift away from healthful food and lifestyle choices.

These have resulted from gradual changes in a complex set of social and environmental factors. Individuals have become less active in all areas of their lives that, is to say work and free time have become much more sedentary.

New food habits such as diet composition, increased eating away from home, and larger portion size have also had an impact. There has also been a societal shift in the way communities are designed and built.

Often, there is a lack of resources or foresight to design urban and suburban environments that encourage active lifestyles. There is need to study relationship between genetics and psychological factors to overweight and obesity.

Advancements in nutrition, hygiene, and the control of infectious disease are being replaced in developing countries by new health threats such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

As urbanisation and incomes rise, traditional diets that are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber are gradually replaced by western diets that are lower in these nutrients and high in calories.

Thus, obesity often coexists with chronic under nutrition in the same population, creating a double disease burden.

Contact: josephmunich06@yahoo.co.uk

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