OBESITY II: How can Diet and Exercise Help?” By Ikuenobe Samuel

Overweight, mild obesity, severe obesity or whatever you may call it, the truth is that it is dangerous & a leading cause of death, yet preventable.

The major causes of obesity signifies that there is hope in its control & management, talking about diet and physical activity.

There’s much that can be done with respect to thd use of drugs and surgery.

For instance, some obesity drugs helps by inhibiting fat absorption in the small intestines, bariatric surgery helps to reduce the volume of the stomach thereby reducing the surface area that comes in contact with food – which leads to reduced absorption & a feeling of satiation. But the major set back is that none of these can be done without encountering complications. And they can only be done with strict clinical protocols.

So, the easiest & personal steps that can be taken in obesity prevention & management are diet adjustment, increased physical activity & a weight loss program.

ng-obesity

Diet
It is true that our staple food in Nigeria are carbohydrate. And too much consumption of carbohydrates leads to excess calories in the system, carbohydrates are energy source which can be in excess in the system when not expended. Another source of calories are sweetened beverages, fast food & increased portion of energy-densed foods. Eating carbohydrates and fatty meals all the time leads to excess storage of energy in the muscles as glycogen, and increased circulation of tryglycerides which can lead to a bad heart condition & increased fat cells which can lead to insulin resistance.

Excessive eating is a major factor in weight gain and as it is also the present situation now that people take food & drink as a “reward”.

Food is supposed to be taken for vitality and energy needs or replacement for daily activities. It is true that, if you want to loose weight, you might have to start eating as a diabetic.

Physical Activities
Sedentary lifestyle plays a significant role in obesity. I’ll like to draw a thin line between physical activity & exercise. Exercise is done willingly but getting physical is getting the daily routines done. Forinstance, research has it that, to maintain a healthy weight, one has to take 10,000 footsteps a day, but we usually take about 3,000 – 4,000 footsteps. This is where exercise is suppose to come in and help. But then, it can’t because most people still don’t even take up to that 3,000 steps a day, the exercise will only just increase the steps to the average 4,000 – 5,000 steps.

During a series of contraction & relaxation, muscles consume energy derived from stored glycogen & fat.

The major cause of less activity is the prevalence of labour-saving technology. Mechanised transportation, automatic controllers like that of the television & household appliances that you don’t have to get up to switch channels e.t.c. It is recommended that to increase daily activities, some of these things can be done manually e.g making your car park a bit distant from the entry door of the office building or home so you can walk more, using the staircase some times instead of the elevator e.t.c.

Exercise
In this context, exercise should be an additional time for strength training, muscle conditioning, stretching, jogging & other aerobics. This can be done in a stipulated time every week outside every other physical activities that are just the normal routines.

Weight-Loss Program
Dieting, increased physical activity or exercise can be taken independently and some changes will be achieved. But a weight loss program is harmonising all of them together and adjusting your lifestyle at the same time so greater success can be seen. This can be done with other people who have the same goal & it will help to get one connected & also be encouraged to do more.

Remember, “every step you take in opposite direction against a cause, you have achieved twice that step far from the consequences”. That is to say, which ever one you decide to start with today, there is a benefit.

Good Luck.

IMARALU IKUENOBE SAMUEL – Physiologist.

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