While body positivity is undeniably important for the sake of your mental well-being, you cannot ignore the major risk factors obesity can trigger. Having a mindset that you are healthy even if you are eating junk and being careless about your health is a big NO! Self-love is also about prioritising your health and not letting obesity be the downfall of your overall well-being. Being overweight but healthy is not a problem, but for some people, obesity can be the road to several diseases. This World Obesity Day, let’s know the root causes of obesity and how you can fight it.
To take a step further in an effort to eradicate obesity as an epidemic, HealthShots reached out to Dr Anukalp Prakash, Lead Consultant, Department of Gastroenterology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, Haryana.
Know the root causes of obesity
Reports suggest that India is slowly catching up with other countries that are becoming more obese. The rate of obesity in India, according to a study by Annals of Neurosciences, is 40.3 percent, with women at the highest risk. As per Dr Prakash, there are several factors that put you at risk of obesity, which include:
1. Lack of physical activity
No brownie points for guessing this one! Everyone knows that a lack of physical activity can make you gain weight, eventually leading to obesity unless you try to reverse it. As per the National Health Service UK, people who don’t exercise enough, their bodies start to store the additional energy as fat, and they won’t be able to use it. Not just obesity, a lack of exercise can also lead to heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
2. Poor eating patterns
One of the major and well-known causes of obesity is an unhealthy diet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that eating unhealthy food and beverages and highly processed food can lead to weight gain, obesity, and other chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, etc. Not just eating junk, eating too fast, or eating when not hungry, are some examples of poor eating habits that can increase your chances of developing this problem.
Also Read: Fighting obesity? Let’s bust some myths around food and weight loss
3. Bad sleeping routine
One of the cornerstones to excellent health is getting a good night’s sleep, which may also help you keep a healthy weight. There is evidence that those who sleep too little are more likely to gain weight and become obese than those who get seven to eight hours a night.
4. Underlying health problem
National Institutes of Health found that obesity is traced back to medical causes such as thyroid, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Cushing syndrome, etc., in some cases. Certain medications can also make you gain weight. The best thing to do is to talk to your doctor and fix the underlying cause of the disease.
Managing the hustle and bustle of life can make your stress levels to shoot up! Too much stress can lead to cognitive problems, stress eating, high blood sugar levels, increased appetite, high glucose levels, and fat disposition – all of which can lead to obesity. You can try to manage stress by making some dietary changes, doing physical activity and talk to a professional.
Also Read: Is too much stress making you gain weight? Expert clears the air
How to reduce the risk of obesity and health issues related to it?
Dr Prakash states that obesity can put you at risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, liver diseases like fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, heart-related problems, and various cancer, and the list is endless.
The best way to reverse the risk is by changing your lifestyle, adds the expert. Here’s what the expert suggests you can do to reduce obesity risk:
- Go for a walk or include physical activity of at least 45 minutes a day, five times a week would benefit.
- Avoid eating junk food at all costs to avoid gaining weight. You should also reduce the intake of unhealthy fats, carbs, and refined and processed food, as they can lead to the problem.
- Include more fibres and proteins in your diet that not only helps you keep your weight in check but are extremely beneficial for your overall health.
- Sitting for too long is a culprit of obesity. Try to avoid sitting for too long by limiting your screen and television time.
- Stress is one of the biggest culprits of obesity, try to avoid it at all costs. Practice meditation, yoga, music, dancing, or any other activity to reduce stress.
- Improve your sleep habits by going to bed early and getting at least 8 hours of sleep every day. It will reduce stress, which will help you fight obesity.
If natural ways aren’t working, talk to your doctor about other possibilities that reverse obesity and prevent a person from developing various other diseases due to obesity.