Obesity and overweight – a weighty issue for the modern era

The increasing prevalence of obesity worldwide is concerning – the global incidence of obesity has tripled between 1975 and 2018 – and the negative consequences of obesity start as early as in childhood. According to the World Health Organization in 2016, 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight and of these over 650 million were obese.

Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.

The long-term accumulation of excess body fat leads to many metabolic changes which not only increase the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors, but also affect systems that control inflammation, which may lead to many knock-on effects. Obesity also leads to other health risk factors like as dyslipidaemia, hypertension, glucose intolerance, sleep apnoea, amongst others. Heart failure is also a significant risk in obese persons. Obese patients in a large study were 2 times more at risk of developing heart failure than normal weight individuals: of the 5 881 participants followed in the study for 14 years, 496 of these developed heart failure. The study concluded that there was an increased risk of heart failure of 5 % for men and 7 % for women for every unit increase in BMI.

Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI): BMI is a simple measure of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person ‘ s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in metres (kg/m2).

BMI weight status
Adapted from CDC

Individuals with a BMI less than 18.5 kg/m2 are considered as being underweight, whereas those with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2 are classified as having normal or acceptable weight. Individuals with a BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 are classified as overweight while individuals with a BMI of, or greater than 30 kg/m2 are considered obese. Obesity itself is graded into 3 categories: grade 1 (BMI ranging from 30 to 34.9 kg/m2), grade 2 (BMI ranging from 35.0 to 39.9 kg/m2), and grade 3 (BMI of, or more than 40 kg/m2).

Obesity in Children

Children, too, can suffer from the negative health impacts of obesity and overweight. Childhood obesity impacts the likelihood of death in early adulthood: a high BMI at adolescence is associated with increased mortality rate during adulthood. A high BMI in adolescence (above the 95th percentile) increased the adult mortality rate in men by 80 %, and 100 % in women after a follow-up assessment. But even less severe cases of obesity (between the 85th and 95th percentile) are associated with a 30 % increase in mortality.

Although obesity and overweight carries significant health risks, even a small weight loss and changes to lifestyle can improve wellbeing and health. Weight loss has been shown to not only reduce the rates of premature death, but also prevent the deterioration of health-related quality of life and lead to increases in productivity when just 5 % or greater weight loss is made.

people focusing on weight loss

Weight reducing diets, low in total and saturated fat, for adults with obesity, reduce premature death by 18 % relative to obese adults who maintain their previous diets when the low-fat diets were maintained over two years. Physical activity alongside weight reducing diets are more effective than diets alone, in terms of weight loss and improvements in blood lipids and blood pressure.

Overweight and obesity, as well as the diseases that result from it, are preventable. Supportive environments, like friends, family and support groups, are important in making good choices when it comes to diet and exercise. By making healthier foods and regular physical activity the choice that is the most accessible, available and affordable overweight and obesity can be prevented.

Lifestyle Changes

At the individual level, people can:

  • Limit energy intake from fats and sugars
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts
  • Reduce a sedentary lifestyle and engage in regular physical activity

Maintaining a healthy weight requires a balanced and healthy diet and physical activity to burn energy. It is recommended that adults do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity weekly – for example, 5 sessions of 30-minute exercise. Moderate-intensity activity is any activity that increases your heart and breathing rate, like:

  • A fast walk
  • Cycling
  • Swimming

Diet is the other important side of losing weight. There ‘ s no single dieting rule that will work for everyone, but to lose weight at a safe and sustainable rate of 0.5 to 1kg a week, most people are advised to reduce their energy intake by 600 calories a day. The best way to achieve this is to swap unhealthy and high-energy food choices – like fast food, processed food and sugary drinks (which includes alcohol) – for healthier choices.

healthy diet

A healthy diet should consist of:

  • Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Carbohydrate sources like potatoes, and wholegrain foods like breads and pasta
  • Some milk and dairy foods
  • Some lean meat, fish, and eggs and other non-dairy sources of protein

Supporting Supplement for Weight Management

Garcinia cambogia extract contains 60 % hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which has been shown to interfere with the metabolic formation of fat. Garcinia cambogia also inhibits the growth of fat storage cells and temporarily increases satiety (suppression of appetite), contributing to positive weight management. The use of Vital® Health Science GARCINIA CAMBOGIA is not associated with serious adverse events and is considered to have a good tolerability and safety profile.

Vital® Health Science GARCINIA CAMBOGIA may support weight management as part of an energy-controlled, balanced diet and active lifestyle. 11

BMI: Body mass index