Understanding obesity and getting assistance for it

2015-06-10 06:02

IN the current rush of society at the moment­ it becomes easy to buy fast food in the effort to provide a quick meal for the family.

Pranisha Deonarain, a local dietician, said that although there are currently no statistics available on the rate of obesity in Pietermaritzburg, it is evident that some adults and children are overweight, but more seriously obese.

Recent statistics from the Medical Research Council state that 42% of women and 39% of men in South Africa are overweight and obese while 26% of girls and 19% of boys are overweight and obese.

Deonarain describes overweight and obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index 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 his height in meters.

The WHO definition is a BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity. It is the same for both genders but should be considered as a rough guide as each individual is different.

“There are certain medical conditions that make weight loss more difficult, but certainly not impossible. Weight gain is likely to occur when there is an energy imbalance that is the consumption of calories exceeds it expenditure of calories,” said Deonarain.

People should watch their calorie intake by not consuming too fatty foods. “Be mindful of what you drink as energy consumption can be drastically increased by just one or two sugary drinks per day. You should also consider increasing the time spent exercising,” she added.

Deonarain said that people who are obese generally have a low self esteem and can sometimes lead to social isolation.

Seeking help from the relevant health care professional is important.

Obesity is not hereditary.

“It doesn’t mean that if your parents are overweight, you will be too. A relatively new paradigm of treatment is called functional medicine where we look at your gene structure and should tests show that individuals have a regulated gene, then diet and lifestyle changes can be put into place to up-regulate these genes,” said Deonarain.

For more information contact Pranisha Deonarain at Duzimed Medical Centre

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