How to prevent obesity

Cases of obesity, which most people thought were not common in Nigeria and other developing countries, are on the rise. Obesity is defined as an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in the body that presents a risk to health.

When we eat more calories than we burn, our bodies store this extra energy as fat, this can increase the chances of having high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

The Body Mass Index is one way to tell whether one has normal weight, is overweight or obese. The BMI is the measures square of the weight (Kg) in relation to the height (M). A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is in the normal range. A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and someone with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.

Risk Factors

Family: Research shows that obesity tends to run in families, suggesting that genes may contribute to obesity. Families also share diet and lifestyle habits that may affect weight.

Lifestyle: Where people live, play, and work may also strongly affect their weight. Many people drive rather than walk. Many people eat out, which may lead to eating more calories.

Culture: A person’s culture may also affect weight: Some cultures have foods with a lot of fat or sugar, making it hard to manage weight. Family events, at which people eat large amounts of food, may make it tough to control portions.

Sleep: Research suggests that lack of sleep is linked to overweight and obesity. Recent studies have found that sleeping less may make it harder to lose weight

Medicine: Certain drugs may cause weight gain. Steroids and some drugs used in  treating depression or other mental health problems may make you burn calories more slowly or feel hungry.

Health risks linked to obesity

Obesity may increase the risk for several health problems. It also may contribute to emotional and social problems. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, arthritis, and certain cancers are some of the diseases linked to excess weight.

Obese men are more likely than other men to develop cancer of the colon, rectum, or prostate. Obese women are more likely than other women to develop cancer of the breast (after menopause), gallbladder, uterus, or cervix.

Other diseases and health problems linked to excess weight include breathing problems, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, gallbladder disease and gallstones, pregnancy problems, such as gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy), high blood pressure and increased risk for caesarean section. Since physical beauty is highly valued in society, obesity may also contribute to emotional suffering.

Treatment: The best way to control your weight may depend on how much excess weight you have, your overall health, and how ready you are to change your feeding habit and other activities. If lifestyles changes do not lead to enough weight loss improve may, additional treatment may be required, including weight-loss drugs. In some cases of extreme obesity, doctors may recommend bariatric surgery.


Weight Loss:  Weight control is a lifelong effort. Starting now with small steps may improve one’s health. A healthy feeding plan and regular physical activity can be steps to achieving a healthier life. Think positively, exercise daily, eat healthy, work hard, stay strong, worry less, dance more, love often and be happy.

Health care providers generally agree that people who are considered to be obese or overweight may improve their health by losing weight, Try to lose weight if you have two or more of the following: High blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, low HDL (good) cholesterol levels, high triglycerides, and high blood sugar.

Men who have large waist sizes greater than 40 inches and women who have waist sizes greater than 35 inches are at higher risk of diabetes, unhealthy blood fats (high cholesterol and triglycerides), high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Although you cannot change your genes, you can work on changing your lifestyles by eating habits, levels of physical activity, and other factors. Try the ideas below.

Get regular physical activity: Get at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) of moderately aerobic activity each week that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. Brisk walking, jogging, biking (with a helmet), swimming, and playing tennis or basketball are fun choices that you can do with others for support.

Eat well: Eating healthy foods has vital health benefits, too, including weight loss. To start eating better, try these tips: Eat the rainbow. Make half of what’s on your plate fruit and vegetables. Replace refined grains with whole grains, like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice .Get your protein from healthy sources, like seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, unsalted nuts, and seeds. Instead of sugary drinks, choose unsweetened tea, low-fat milk, or water.