Obesity is undoubtedly one of the most significant public health challenges faced by humanity in the 21st century. In The Old Continent, as Europe is fondly called, the prevalence of obesity has tripled in several countries since the 1980s and, sadly, the numbers of overweight and obese individuals continue to increase at an alarming rate with children the most affected among all cohorts.
Impact of Obesity
The public health issue has several faces, so to speak, to it – physical, social and economic, among others. On the physical side, excess weight increases the risks for the development of a wide range of non-communicable diseases including chronic degenerative disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers. In fact, the risk of developing one or several of these diseases increases with increasing body weight!
On the social aspect, obesity is associated with low self-esteem and self-confidence usually borne of feelings of insecurity, not to mention the results of bullying from others, from criticisms about weight and figure. Many obese persons would rather stay at home than engage in social activities for fear of rejection, which can lead to other problems like a dysfunctional relationship with food.
On the economic side, the alarming prevalence of obesity among many European countries has strained their healthcare systems. Obesity is responsible for at least 8% of health costs and 13% of deaths across the region – truly, a significant strain on any country’s resources (i.e., monetary and manpower assets).
Sadly, Europe is giving the United States a run for its money in obesity prevalence. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development report, over half of European adults are either overweight or obese while 1 in 7 children are also obese. The member countries in the European Union have seen an increase in obesity rates for the past 20 years – double, in fact.
Such alarming trends have also uncovered significant disparities between countries. For example, the prevalence of obesity in the United Kingdom and Malta is greater then 20% but it is less than 10% in Italy and Romania.
Causes of Obesity
Just as obesity has several types of impact, it also have several causes. Most cases are the result of eating too much coupled with moving too little – consuming high amounts of calories (i.e., energy) from your diet yet being unable to burn these off via exercise results in the surplus energy turning into fat.
• High calorie amount. Obese individuals tend to eat more calories than the recommended number of 2,500 for an average adult.
• Poor lifestyle choices. Keep in mind that obesity is not an overnight occurrence because it gradually develops from several poor lifestyle choices particularly a poor diet; eating high-fat foods, skipping on healthy options like fruits and vegetables, and drinking alcohol in excess are just a few of these ill-advised choices.
• Lack of physical activity. Exercise is necessary to burn off excess energy, to keep the muscles toned, and to keep the bones healthy, among other benefits.
While genetics and medical reasons (e.g., Cushing’s syndrome) can also lead to weight gain, the above mentioned factors are the most common culprit behind obesity.
Reasons to Hope
Fortunately, there are many reasons to hope for better health even among obese individuals. Health experts suggest the following weight loss tips:
• Enroll in a weight loss program. Think of programs like weight loss trend in Spain (called Carbuloss Espana)that have been proven safe and effective in shedding off excess pounds. The program involves the use of a weight loss supplement with safe ingredients like acai coupled with healthy lifestyle choices.
• Watch what you eat. Eating more fish and less snack is a guaranteed way to lose weight because fish contains healthy nutrients for proper functioning without packing on the calories. Less snacks will also mean lesser empty calories entering your body.
• Engage in moderate exercise. Even a 30-minute brisk walk every day – divide it into 3 10-minute walks, if you want – will make a difference in your weight.
• Get sufficient amounts of sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and excess of stress can contribute to weight gain.
Indeed, you can lose weight and regain your healthy body and mind!