Obesity is now a severe public health crisis affecting kids and teens as well as adults. Studies have shown more than 1.9 billion adults are obese. In India for instance, over 135 million people are said to be obese, with abdominal obesity being one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
A recent government report shows that more than 40 per cent of people in the United States are obese. The World Obesity Day, which is held on March 4 (as of 2020), encourages practical solutions to help people achieve, maintain a healthy weight and end the global obesity crisis.
The World Obesity Federation has changed the global event from October 11 to March 4. The theme for the World Obesity Day 2020 is ‘the roots of obesity run deep’.
Obesity has been identified as a major risk factor for many non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and various forms of cancer. But there are many ways to prevent or reduce obesity risk in both children and adults.
But before we tell you some tricks and tips to lose weight or maintain an ideal weight, learn what obesity is and whether you’re an obese or overweight or healthy individual.
What is obesity?
The WHO defines obesity as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30. A BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight, whereas a BMI of 40 or above is considered severely obese.
For the uninitiated, BMI is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight and it applies to adult men and women. In other words, BMI is defined as an individual’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres (kg/m2).
In the case of children, a child specialist can help find out whether or not your child is obese using the growth charts, BMI and, if required, other tests.
How to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
Taking actions to lose weight and improving health is extremely important if you think you’re overweight or obese. Here are a few tips to help you shed those extra pounds and stay in shape:
Since obesity is often a result of too little activity and too many calories from foods and drinks, making healthier lifestyle choices remain the mainstay of treatment and are important for keeping weight in check.
Adopt a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. Eating healthy foods as a family can go a long way in preventing diseases and obesity-related conditions.
Encourage slow eating
Eating too quickly not only increases your risk of overeating, which leads to weight gain. It is also linked to a higher risk of insulin resistance, which is characterised by high blood sugar and insulin levels. So, encourage your children to eat only when they’re hungry and chew food more slowly for better bowel movements.
Limit unhealthy food items in the household
Your family may be more likely to give in to unhealthy food habits, which are a major risk for obesity – a very complex health issue. Avoid or limit bringing processed and sugary foods and drinks into the household. Instead, stock your fridge with whole and colourful foods loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
Limit screen time
Many parents may not realise the link between prolonged screen time and obesity. The bitter truth is that sedentary activities such as screen time put you at risk of obesity, Type-2 diabetes and other chronic health problems.
Limiting screen time means more time for physical activity and good sleep, both of which are important for maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle.
Include physical activity in daily routine
For most of us, 150 minutes of physical activity per week may sound like a lot of time, but it’s not – this could be just 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The WHO recommends that children and teens get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Incorporating fun activities such as games and sports, or even outdoor chores into your family routine is a great idea to help your entire household stay fit and healthy.
The bottom line is maintaining a healthy weight is vital for your overall health and well-being. Making simple lifestyle changes every day and sticking to them will help you and your loved ones stay in shape.
This World Obesity Day, pledge to choose a healthy lifestyle for a happier, fitter and longer life.