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The epidemic of overweight and obesity has been a pressing health issue around the world in the last decade. World Health Organisation defines overweight and obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight for the height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults . Studies by WHO reveals that worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
According to WHO, in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, were overweight. Of these 650 million were obese. Overall, 39 per cent of adults were overweight in 2016 and 13 per cent were obese. Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. 38 million children under age 5 were overweight or obese in 2019 . However, it is important to note that this obesity is preventable.
As per the World Obesity Organization, obesity-related conditions seem to worsen the effect of COVID-19. Another emerging health issue that demands serious attention nowadays is lockdown induced obesity. In the current scenario, the need for self-isolation is prompting us to rely on processed food with a longer shelf life. Covid-19 has landed us in a situation in which all routine exercises such as gym workout, weight loss programmes etc have been severely curtailed. This ultimately leads to an increase in obesity rates. People might have started to notice the increase in their weight, size and shape. If this pattern of lifestyle prevails for a longer time, it certainly will lead to many health conditions including the dreaded cardiovascular diseases and the silent killer diabetes mellitus.
When a person with obesity becomes ill and requires intensive care, it challenges patient management as it is more difficult to intubate patients with obesity. Furthermore, it is challenging to obtain good diagnostic imaging. The measures taken in some countries during lockdown will have an impact on mobility and physical activity, which in the long run, enhances the risk of metabolic diseases. This is applicable to the healthy population as well.
What Causes Obesity And Overweight?
WHO says, "The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is the imbalance between energy or the calories consumed and calories expended". Globally there has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars. Moreover, there has been a tremendous increase in physical inactivity due to the changing modes of transportation and increasing urbanization. These factors contribute immensely to overweight and obesity.
How To Tackle Lockdown-induced Obesity?
- Healthy Diet: A well-balanced diet is key. It not only makes us healthier but also builds a stronger immune system. This limits the risk of chronic illness and infectious diseases. A body needs necessary vitamins, dietary fibres, proteins and antioxidants in the right proportions to stay healthy. Too much sugar and salt can be avoided.
- Hydration: Always keep the body hydrated. Drink a minimum of 3 litres of water daily.
- Mental Health: Mental health is the key to physical health. Make a positive mindset.
- Try To Be Engaged In Some Activity: Keeping your mind active can be beneficial for positive mental health.
- Stay Physically Active: Avoid sitting all the time, try to move your body every 30 mins for 3-5mins. While working out in the open area is not an option now, there are a lot of home workouts that can keep our physical and mental health in good condition.
- Yoga: If not tried yoga yet then start now. This is the time to explore the power of yoga and you will realise the changes it can bring to you. It is the most precious tool for body and mind. Yoga can help you burn calories, tone muscles and gives you strength, flexibility and an awareness of your mind and body.
- Get Enough Sleep: Maintaining a proper sleep cycle should be a top priority during this period. A night of good sleep will help our bodies repair the damaged cells, clear toxins, consolidate our memories and process information. Sleep deprivation can have a huge negative impact on our psychological health and emotional intelligence.
- Stay In Touch With Friends And Family: Try to call your friends and families more often to just relax your mind. This will reduce a lot of stress. This is actually like rebooting your computer. The huge advancement in technology and the benefits that come from it can actually become a powerful tool for bringing us together.