Childhood Obesity:- Causes, Complications, Diagnosis, Hazards and Home Remedies of Obesity
During the past 20 years, obesity among adults has risen significantly in the United States. The latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that 30 percent of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older-over 60 million people-are obese. Obesity is perhaps the most prevalent form of malnutrition in developed countries, both among adults and children. It is extremely difficult to assess the size of the problem and compare the prevalence rates in different countries as no exact figures are available and also because the definitions of obesity are not standardized. Further, there has been an increased awareness of the problem in recent years. However, it has been estimated to affect 20 to 40 per cent of the adults and 10 to 20 per cent of children and adolescents In developed countries. It is a misconception that obesity is primarily a problem in the affluent countries; in fact, it is found in all countries in varying degrees.
Definition of obesity
Increase in body weight of 10-20% above the normal, caused by excess accumulation of fat is termed obesity. Healthy young men and women have a total body fat content below 20% and 25% respectively. When excess calories are supplied in any form, they are stored as fat. In addition to general appearance and weight, measurement of skin fold thickness over the biceps, triceps, sub scapular and suprailiac regions is helpful in the assessment of obesity. The skin fold thickness over the triceps for normal Indian subjects is below 20 ml. The proportion of body fat can be assessed from the skin fold thickness using nomograms. People who are obese are very overweight and at risk for serious health problems.
Difference between obesity and overweight
Obesity may be defined as an abnormal growth of the adipose tissue due to an enlargement of fat cell or an increase in fat cell numbers or a combination of both. Obesity is often expressed in term of body mass index. A body mass index of 30 or more in males and 28.6 or more in females indicates obesity.
The term "overweight" means a weight in excess of the average for a given sex, height and age. Overweight is usually due to obesity but can arise from other causes such as abnormal muscle development or fluid retention.
Epidemiological factor / Etiology/ Causes of Obesity:-
Complications in Obesity
Middle-aged persons are more affected though no age is immune. Women outnumber men and the male to female ratio is 1 :5. Multiparity is associated with increasing . grades of obesity. The patient may not complain of her obesity on account of its gradual development and, therefore, it has to be identified during general examination. Common symptoms include exertional dyspnea, sluggishness, angina, arthralgias of knees and hips, or any of the complications.
Complications: These develop invariably in all cases depending on the severity and duration of the disorder.
Diagnosis of Obesity
Diagnosis of obesity is made by comparing the patient's weight with ideal weight charts. A direct measure of body fat can also be made with an instrument known as calipers. Calipers are a scissor-shaped device used to measure the thickness of a person's flesh at the back of the upper arm. Women whose body weight consist more then 30 % of fatty tissue considered as obese. Man whose body weight consist more than 25% of fatty tissue considered as obese. Clinical diagnosis is based on weight, physical appearance and measurement of skin fold thickness. Sophisticated methods are available to establish the diagnosis in a borderline case. Increase in weight occurring during pregnancy, tluid retention, hypothyroidism, hypothalamic lesions, and other endocrine disturbances should be differentiated from obesity due to nutritional causes. So also overweight may be caused by excessive muscular development in wrestlers, weight-lifters and boxers.
Hazards of Obesity
Obesity is a health hazard and a detriment to well- being which is reflected in the increased morbidity and morality.
Obesity is a positive risk factor in the development of hypertension, diabetes, gall bladder disease and coronary heart disease.
There are in addition , several associated diseases, which although not usually fatal, cause a great deal of morbidity in the community, e.g. variscose veins, abdominal hernia, osteoarthinis of the knee, hips and lumbar spine, flat and psychological stresses particularly during adolescence.
Obese person are exposed to increased risk from surgery.
Obesity may lead to lowered fertility.
The Framingham Heart Study of United States showed a dramatic increase in sudden death among men more than 20 % overweight as compared with those with normal weight. The increased morality is brought about mainly by the increased incidence if hypertension and coronary heart disease.
There is also an excess number of deaths from renal diseases.Obesity lowers life expectancy.
Prevention and Control of Obesity
Prevention should begin in early childhood. Obesity is harder to treat adults than it is in children. The controI of obesity centres round weight reduction.This can be achieved by dietary changes, increased physical activity and a combination of both .
The following dietary principles apply both to prevention and treatment :the proportion of energy-dense foods such as simple, carbohydrates and fats should be reduced; the fibre content in the diet should be increased through the consumption of common un-refined food; adequate.levels of essential nutrients in the low energy diets (most conventional diets for weight reduction are based on 1000kcal dailv model for an adult) should be ensured, and reducing diets should be as close as possible to existing nutritional patterns.
The most basic consideration is that the food energy intake should not be greater than what is necessary for energy expenditure. It requires modification of the patient's behaviour and strong motivation to lose weight and maintain ideal weight. Unfortunately, most attempts to reduce weight in obese persons by dietery advice remain unsuccessful.
lncreased physical activity :- This is an important part of reducing programme. Regular physical exercise is the key to an increased energy expenditure.
Others:- Appetite suppressing drugs have been tried in the control of obesity. They are generally inadequate to produce massive weight loss in severely obese patients. In short one should not expect quick or even tangible results in all casesfro obesity prevention programmes.
Home Remedies of Obesity
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