Obesity can be a silent killer

Some 40 years ago, you wouldn’t have seen many obese people on the streets. Now, you often come across obese people jostling for space in overcrowded pavements of every city. Obesity means excess fat, with a host of ailments such as cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, sleep apnoea, dyslipidemia, depression, fatty liver, atherosclerosis, reproductive diseases, chronic kidney diseases, reduced life expectancy and cancer in its fold. There is increased mortality and considerable morbidity associated with obesity. 

Vital stats
A body’s simple engineering lies in the input-output theory. If your food intake is excessive and physical activity does not counteract your intake, you are sure to gain weight turning overweight and later an obese. Only a handful in the crowd can blame their genes, metabolic disorders, medications and mental status for this. In 2015, WHO data mentions that 600 million adults and 100 million children are obese worldwide.

So, how powerful is this disease? It’s very powerful indeed, it is silent and kills us softly. Owino and Cornelius, in 2018, have made surprising discoveries, ‘Double Burden of Nutrition’, a quick shift from plant-based nutrition to energy-packed ones like milk, animal fats, meat and vegetable oils drive us to obesity. 

In this day and age, it is still surprising to find people depriving themselves of food to treat obesity. It is foolish to reduce sugar intake drastically as memory, thinking and other cognitive functions of the brain are closely related to glucose levels in the body. As there is little medicine available till now to treat obesity, it is better to treat this disease by oneself. 

Exercise, regulated quality consumption of food is the mantra now. When there is no other way out or when everything fails, bariatric surgery is the final word.

(The author is a doctor at a state-run hospital)

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