Obesity: The silent killer
The socio-economic development of any society also changes the disease pattern. For example, in developing nations, infectious diseases are a significant issue. However, in developed countries, non-communicable diseases are the primary cause of death.
Malaysia is a fast-progressing middle-income country. It is also fast becoming urbanized. Therefore, disease patterns in the country are also changing. In Malaysia, quite like developed economies, non-infectious diseases dominate.
At present, about 50% of the people in Malaysia are overweight, with about one-fifth of the population being obese. As Malaysian society prospers, the number of obese individuals will only rise. For example, in countries like the US, almost half of the people are obese.
What is obesity?
Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem. It considerably increases the risk of non-infectious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even several cancers (like breast cancer and intestinal cancer). Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes about six times in men.
Obesity is generally described by using Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated by measuring the height of the person and body weight. Thus, BMI = body weight in kg/height m2. One may also use online calculators for calculating the BMI.
Thus, obesity is when BMI is above 30, and severe obesity is when the BMI is above 40. However, a person is considered overweight if BMI is between 25 and 30.
Further, it is vital to understand that 18 to 25 BMI is normal, but some studies show that Asians are prone to metabolic disorders even when living with mild overweight. Thus, some experts suggest that for Asians, a maximum BMI of 23 should be regarded as normal, and anything above that as overweight.
It appears that Indians, Malays, Filipino, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese are all prone to cardiovascular ailments even when moderately overweight. Even a slight increase in body weight above BMI 23 considerably increases the risk of cardiovascular conditions in Asians.
Is obesity a disease?
In recent years, there has been lots of debate regarding obesity. Is it just a risk factor for diseases or a disease in itself? In the US, they are already classifying obesity as a disease.
Whereas WHO is still unclear if to treat obesity as a disease or not, nevertheless, most healthcare organizations now agree that obesity should be managed.
Reducing body weight
Losing bodyweight is essential to prevent irreversible damage to various organs. For example, studies show that reducing just 5-7% of body weight may considerably reduce the risk of diabetes. More significant weight loss may be even more beneficial.
Similarly, even minor weight loss will help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, non-alcoholic fatty liver, pancreatic disease, and much more.
Exercise is good for health. However, reducing body weight is not possible without cutting down the total calorie intake. Thus, one needs to consume low-calorie foods and control the portion size.
Additionally, most overweight people should undergo complete screening before starting any extensive exercise or weight loss program. It is essential to prevent unforeseeable side effects of any extensive efforts. In addition, the screening will help diagnose existing disease conditions or comorbidities.
Apart from dietary measures and exercise, it would be good to consider weight loss supplements for fast weight loss. There are many weights loss supplements, but very few of them work. Thus, it is good to get advice from a specialist before buying any such supplement.
Is there any medication for treating obesity or for fast weight loss?
Yes, there are many approved medications for fast weight loss. These medications help control appetite, reduce total calorie intake, and boost metabolism. For example, a medication Saxenda (liraglutide) is approved for such use. It is even safe for teenagers. It is an injectable drug that helps suppress appetite and help lose bodyweight faster.
It is worth understanding that losing bodyweight is quite challenging. Thus, for those looking to lose weight faster, it is always better to do it under the supervision of a specialist. A specialist can also help overcome other issues like preventing micro nutritional deficiencies, worsening of disease conditions, preventing stress and anxiety, reducing the risk of gastric disorders, and much more.