One-third of the world’s population is overweight. From 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults (39%) were heavy, and 650 million (13%) were obese. According to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the case of the youngest. 41 million children under five years of age were overweight. And 340 million children and adolescents between 5 and 19 years of age were overweight or obese. In Spain, specifically, 53% of the population weighs more than it should. As for childhood, the latest data puts 12% of children overweight and 14% of those suffering from obesity.
Obesity is much more than an aesthetic problem. It is a disease behind 2.8 million deaths a year worldwide, generating a high cost to health. In Spain, obesity treatments account for 7% of health spending.
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Causes. What is Behind Overweight and Obesity?
The excess or accumulation of fat is known as overweight or obesity. To find out if a person suffers from one of these two diseases, the Body Mass Index (BMI) is taken as a reference, an indicator that relates weight (kg) to height square (m2). An adult is consider overweight if their BMI is greater than or equal to 25 and obese if their BMI is greater than or equal to 30.
There are many factors behind this disease. Genetic inheritance and the existence of an imbalance between the calories ingested and those consumed, as well as little physical activity, are two of the leading causes. To these factors are add others, such as socioeconomic or environmental ones. Unhealthy eating, leading a sedentary and inactive lifestyle, or changing habits such as quitting smoking often leads to weight gain.
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They are overweight, and obesity are not just limited to a few extra pounds. On many occasions, they cause other diseases such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, or respiratory disorders.
One of the consequences of obesity is high blood pressure. The increased pressure forces the heart to pump blood with more force. This effort causes the heart to gain muscle mass, which can cause angina pectoris or a heart attack.
In addition to cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure, being overweight is also behind type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease characterized by excess glucose in the blood and urine due to a shortage of insulin.
Beyond physical health, obesity can also affect mental health, triggering depression or low self-esteem.
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The treatment to be follow by a patient is not the same for all cases but will depend on the type of obesity or overweight suffered and the assessment made by the doctor.
The most severe cases require more aggressive treatment that may include performing a surgical intervention. However, regardless of this, the first thing to change is eating habits, start eating in the right proportions, eating the right calories, as well as carrying out a physical exercise routine.
The treatment must be evaluate and establish by the endocrinologist, who is in charge of communicating to the patient the benefits and the risks of carrying it out.
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