OBESITY I: “Societal Impression of Good Life” By Ikuenobe Samuel

Whenever you pass through a busy street in Nigeria now, this is what you will see; out of every ten(10) persons, two(2) are thin looking with a lot of allowances in their dresses, three(3) are looking very ok in their dresses filling up all the spaces and then the remaining three are so big to the extent they will need thrice the material size of the thin two to make a comfortable dress.

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Your conclusion might be that, the thin two are either malnourished or have a bad health condition and so may need attention. While the others are living very ok without any stress (maybe they’re even rich). THE word ‘Obesity’ might be a good guide before one should conclude. Obesity simply means excessive fat accumulation in the body that can cause adverse effects on health & is even life threatening.

Using the Body Mass Index (BMI) – a comparation of the weight & height of an individual, people can be classified as overweight if their BMI is b/w 26-30kg/m2 and obese if their BMI is greater than 30kg/m2. After this calculation, (may be including others like ‘Body Fat Percentage’, ‘Waist – Hip ratio’), you will find that most people are either overweight or obese without knowing it. AM sure now, you will no longer classify the thin persons as the ones that need attention alone, the fat ones will need it too.

Although, some people know they are already overweight or obese & also know the consequences, but they can’t discipline themselves enough to control it, other do not even know it. They think their eating & lifestyle is very healthx and so the weight gain, some say it is “rest of mind”.

Also, there is the societal impression of living well when one is fat. So people want impress and show others they are ok because in Africa & Nigeria particularly, when a man is looking thin, people will conclude he is either drinking too much gin or thinking too much and when a woman is thin, they will say she will not fit into her blouse & two wrapper. Though there is the case of genetic susceptibility to being overweight or obese, but most people are indecisive to start a control.

Statistics has also proved the rate & mortality of obesity in other parts of the world like the US & Europe. Studies have shown hundreds of thousands of deaths per year that are associated with obesity. THE health risks of obesity are life threatening and has been associated with so many conditions particularly Cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Obstructive sleep apnea, Osteoarthritis, some types of cancer & consequently, low life expectancy.

The major causes of obesity includes:

1. Low physical activity.
2. Sedentary life style.
3. Diet.
4. Genetics.
5. Societal factors.
6. Hormone disruptors & environmental factors.

Looking at the causes, one can easily take personal steps to control or manage the first three by exercising, taking a weight loss program & adjusting the diet.

It is therefore advisable that, one who is less than 5 feet 8 inches (5.8″) tall & is weighing more than 75kg should watch his/her weight to avoid health complications.

Goodluck.

Ikuenobe Samuel – Physiologist.

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