Obesity is a condition caused by excessive accumulation of body fat. It has adverse effects on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. Individuals with body mass index (BMI) -an index calculated by dividing someone’s weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters – exceeding 30 kg/m2 are characterised as obese.
Obesity increases the possibility of developing various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, some types of cancer, osteoarthritis and asthma. Obesity is usually due to excessive intake of foods of high in energy density, lack of physical activity and genetic predisposition. In some cases the primary cause are genes, endocrine disorders, medications or psychiatric disease. There is limited evidence supporting the view that some obese people eat little but gain weight due to slow metabolism. On average obese people spend more energy than slim people due to the energy required to sustain their increased body mass.
Nutrition and exercise are the basis for the treatment of obesity. The quality of food can be improved by reducing the consumption of food of high energy density, such as food with high in fat and sugar content, and by increasing fibre intake.
Obesity increases the risk of many physical and mental conditions. These comorbidities are usually manifested by the metabolic syndrome, a combination of health problems including: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high values of blood cholesterol and high level of triglycerides.
The World Health Organization has characterised it as dangerous and serious disease.
It promotes many chronic diseases, including:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Respiratory and venous deficiency
- Hormonal disorders
- Some forms of cancers
Causes of obesity
The reasons causing obesity may be different for each individual. Genetic, environmental, psychological, and other factors can contribute to its onset.
Obesity appears to be significantly influenced by genetic factors. However, the fact that family members usually share a common lifestyle and eating habits makes it difficult to identify the degree of influence of genetic factors. At the same time, within the same family environment they also share common behaviours, ways of conflict and stress management and the combination of all the above makes it difficult to determine the clearly genetic factors of obesity
Apart from genetic factors, several environmental factors seem to play a decisive role in the development of obesity. The level of physical activity as well as the personal choices of food, the number of meals, etc. affect an individual’s weight. For example, Greeks in recent years show a big shift to foods with lots of preservatives and fat, such as “fast-food”, contrary to past generation Greeks who preferred (often out of necessity and due to economic difficulties) the currently widely popular “Mediterranean diet” of olive oil, vegetables and fruit
Psychological factors may also influence eating habits. Many people eat to react to negative emotions: anxiety, sorrow, anger. A recent survey revealed that 70% of people head for the refrigerator when stressed. Food is considered to have a potent soothing – calming effect on strongly negative emotions.
Other causes of obesity
Some diseases can lead to obesity or even a tendency to weight gain. Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, depression and certain neurological problems can lead to overeating or weight gain. Furthermore, drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may cause weight gain.
It activates the metabolism and optimises calorie burning, causing individuals to reach their ideal weight without starvation diets that are ineffective and dangerous.Moreover, individuals can keep their weight stable, without relapses while their overall health levels are significantly enhanced.At the same time, the body becomes firmer, swelling vanishes and there is significant improvement in the energy, well-being and levels of mental and physical health of individuals