OBESITY: CAUSES, TREATMENTS AND PREVENTION

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The rise of obesity can be seen on a global scale, without distinction of wealth or poverty. In 2016, the WHO counts in the world, 1.9 billion of adults in overweight and 650 million defined as "obese". Globally, the number of obesity cases has almost tripled since 1975. In France, one in eight people suffer from obesity. 15% of children and 40% of adults are overweight, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). What are the causes of obesity? What treatment for obesity? What means of prevention to adopt against obesity?

WHAT IS OBESITY

Obesity and overweight are characterized by an abnormal or excessive accumulation of adipose tissue (containing fat) that may represent a health hazard.
The body mass index (BMI) is the main indicator to detect obesity or overweight in an adult:
A person is considered overweight when their BMI is between 25 and 30.
A person is considered obese when his BMI is greater than or equal to 30.
BMI CALCULATION:
The BMI is calculated as follows: weight (in kg) / (height (in m)) ²
For example: 61kg / (1.57m x 1.57m) = 24.7

CAUSES OF OBESITY

The causes of obesity vary from one individual to another.
Generally, obesity follows the combination of several factors:
  • excessive consumption of caloric foods is the main cause of overweight and obesity;
  • genetic predisposition;
  • insufficient or no sporting practice;
  • environmental factors (economic and / or social, family situation);
  • food marketing, advertising ...

THE RISKS OF OBESITY FOR HEALTH

  • Obesity severely degrades the quality of life of an adult individual and can have serious health consequences:
    • an increased risk of cardiovascular disease;
    • a reduction in life expectancy;
    • an increased risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer or breast cancer.

    In children and adolescents, overweight and obesity also have negative consequences:
    • increased risk of breathing problems;
    • an increased risk of developing diabetes in adulthood;
    • high risk of fractures;
    • the development of insulin resistance.

    In both adults and children, overweight and obesity can also contribute to depression.
    Treating overweight and obesity is therefore essential to preserve the health of those concerned.

THE TREATMENT OF OBESITY

WEIGHT LOSS THROUGH HEALTHY EATING

  • This is the main way to fight overweight and obesity.
    The loss of weight must be done in a reasoned manner; a balanced diet and regular sports practice allow to lose weight gradually without putting the person concerned in physical and psychological danger.
    It is advisable to have a suitable therapeutic follow-up.

TREATMENT OF OBESITY BY SURGERY

  • The treatment of obesity by surgery (or "bariatric" surgery) is aimed at adults suffering from "massive" (BMI greater than or equal to 40) or "severe" obesity (BMI greater than or equal to 35). ), combined with a disease.
    These people must justify several unsuccessful attempts at weight loss and must not present medical contraindications.
    There are two types of surgeries:
    • restrictive surgeries that reduce the size of the stomach (gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy, calibrated vertical gastroplasty);
    • Restrictive and "malabsorbative" surgeries that reduce the size of the stomach and reduce the assimilation of food by the body ("bypass", bilio-pancreatic derivation).

    Stomach surgery is not without risks and the patient must have a regular postoperative follow-up. Surgery will only be effective if the person undergoing surgery adopts good eating habits and changes his lifestyle. It is important to do psychological work on oneself in order to learn to live with a new image.

THE TREATMENT OF OBESITY WITH DRUGS

  • To date, there are no miracle drug treatments for obesity.
    Some drugs, however, help to reduce weight and limit the absorption of dietary fat by the body.
    The effects of these medications vary from one individual to another and will not necessarily give the expected results.
    In addition, their intake must be combined with a balanced diet.

PREVENTION OF OBESITY: THE GOOD REFLEXES TO TAKE

  • Prevention of obesity is one of the public health priorities. A "National Health Nutrition Plan" has been in place for some years to prevent obesity.
    In everyday life, it is recommended to adopt certain actions:
    • practice a regular sports activity: 30 minutes of sports a day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A more sustained sporting practice may be necessary in case of proven overweight;
    • have a diversified and balanced diet;
    • limit consumption of saturated fats;
    • limit sugar and salt consumption; 
    • consume fruits and vegetables daily;
    • increase calcium intake in children;
    • regularly monitoring the evolution of the weight curve of children and adolescents is a means of prevention against obesity.

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