Today, about 10% of people – including a large proportion of children – suffer from overweight that damages their health.
What are the causes and consequences? Are there solutions?
> Obesity, what is it?
Obesity is a severe form of over-weight associated with excess body fat.
The threshold for obesity is taken when the body mass index (BMI = weight / (height x height)) is greater than 30.
Such overweight is now considered by global health authorities as a serious medical condition.
Thus, for a BMI over 40 is referred to as morbid obesity, that is to say, that it can cause death.
> The causes of obesity
According to experts, obesity would not have a single origin, but result from several factors, most often associated with:
– A genetic predisposition:
Recent research has shown that some genes alter appetite and the storage and use of fats.
– The inappropriate behaviour:
Overeating, abuse of fat, sugar and salt, destructuring of meals, snacks, and physical inactivity are (we are sure now) totally implicated in obesity. It seems that obese people have lost the natural signals of hunger and satiety.
– Psychological disorders:
Anxiety, depression, stress or trauma can cause some people a compensation mechanism for encouraging excessive intake of food. However, there is no kind of psychological profile in the obese people.
> The consequences of obesity
– Health problems:
Obesity leads to a marked decrease in life expectancy. The most serious risks faced by obese people are accidents of cardiovascular and cerebral.
From a certain level, obesity results in respiratory failure, which increases the risk of accidents during intervention requiring anaesthesia.
It also seems to increase cancer risk. Finally, it increases the incidence of gallstones and aggravates osteoarthritis of the knees and hips.
> How to cure obesity?
Although there is still no miracle cure, different tools can fight against this scourge. The first step is to call a health professional (general practitioner, nutritionist, dietician, endocrinologist …) which will consider one or more measures, including:
– An appropriate diet.
Restore balance is necessary. Fewer calories, fat and sugar, more fruits and vegetables and starchy foods. If necessary, the patient will receive menus and recipes adapted to his case.
– A resumption of physical activity.
In general, walking, cycling or swimming to get started.
– Behavioural therapy or analysis.
Understand and change their relationship with food with the help of a specialist in psychology is often essential.
Treatment reducing appetite or fat absorption by the intestine may be considered. It must be associated with a diet and exercise program adapted. Most of these drugs should be allowed for temporary use, a few months to a year, and reserved for obese people whose life is in danger.
– The gastric surgery.
Various techniques exist to reduce the volume of the stomach and limit food intake: gastric banding, gastroplasty, gastric bypass. Prescribed by doctors, they are reserved for adults or morbidly obese people with a BMI above 35. Accompanied by vomiting, depression or eating disorders, it is difficult to handle and require medical assistance.
– A spa treatment.
Some spas offer a global treatment of overweight people, reimbursed by social security.