Obesity: why is it dangerous and what should be done?
What is obesity?
Obesity is defined as excessive body weight, associated with health risks. It is defined according to BMI - a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (BMI=kg/m²) – obesity calculator.
In the case of adults, we have:
- overweight: BMI ≥ 25
- obesity: BMI ≥ 30
For obesity in children, the charts and growth tables are taken into account World Health Organization.
Obesity is often classified into categories:
- Obesity degree 1. BMI 30-34,9
- Obesity degree 2: BMI 35-39,9
- Obesity degree 3: BMI ≥ 40 (morbid obesity)
The fundamental cause of obesity is a energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned through physical activity: caloric intake too high compared to the level of physical activity. Genetics can also be a risk factor for obesity in some cases. There are also some health problems that can occasionally contribute to weight gain, such as hypothyroidism.
Obesity is a major risk factor for a variety of problems and diseases, such as:
- cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, high cholesterol;
- musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis);
- some types of cancer;
- gall bladder diseases;
- sleep apnea and breathing problems;
- liver problems;
- bodily pains and locomotor problems.
Living with overweight and obesity can also affect quality of life and contribute to mental health problems such as depression. It can also affect self-esteem.
The main treatment measure for obesity is simple: reducing caloric intake, adopting a healthy and balanced diet, in association with regular physical exercises. The healthy and balanced diet focuses mainly on limiting the consumption of unhealthy fats, sugars and ultra-processed foods, along with increasing the intake of vegetables and fruits. Everything must be consumed in moderation, following a food plan.
Medicines for obesity
In some cases, when lifestyle changes are not enough, drugs can also be recommended, especially for high degree obesity. For example, in addition to a weight loss regimen for morbid obesity, anti-obesity drugs can also be prescribed. Sometimes drugs are also indicated for lower degree obesity, when lifestyle changes are not enough.
The most well-known drugs for weight loss are orlistat and liraglutide. Liraglutide (active ingredient in Saxenda) is a slimming agent that increases satiety and reduces hunger. Saxenda is an injectable solution and it is taken only according to the doctor's instructions. It is suitable for people with BMI 30 or higher usually, but also for those with BMI between 27-30 and more weight-related health problems.