Attention obesity: Being overweight is so dangerous

In Germany, every fourth person suffers from obesity – children are also affected by obesity. Scientists assume that the situation has worsened due to a lack of exercise and curfews. But how does obesity develop and what are the health consequences of the disease?

Also known as being very overweight or obese, obesity  is a serious but treatable condition.

Obesity: when does one speak of obesity?

According to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, obesity is defined as a  body mass index  (BMI) of 30 or higher. The BMI is a generally valid number that calculates the ratio of body weight to height and consequently determines the body mass. This process makes it easier to assess body weight. This is how the WHO classifies the BMI:

  • Overweight: ≥ 25.0
  • Preadiposity: 25 – 29.9
  • Adiposity Grad 1: 30.0 – 34.9
  • Adiposity Grad 2: 35.0 – 39.9
  • Grade 3 Adiposity: ≥ 40

Causes of Obesity

In principle, obesity can always develop when the energy intake (through food intake) exceeds the energy expenditure (movement and activity) of the body over a longer period of time. Other factors such as genetics and hormonal changes can also promote obesity. The most common causes of obesity are:

  1. Poor energy balance:  Increased energy intake in the form of poor nutrition combined with low energy consumption in the form of physical activity can lead to constant weight gain. Few sports offers, long commutes or sedentary activities leave little room for physical activity.
  2. Genetic factors:  Obesity is in many cases (70 to 80 percent) due to genetic causes. In addition, the development of the child in the womb and the nutrition of the parents also have an influence on the later weight of the child.
  3. Hormonal changes:  Hormones are responsible for the feeling of satiety and hunger, for example. In sick people, these hormones often no longer function properly.
  4. Psychological factors and stress:  Stress and  depression  can be triggers for obesity. The stress hormone cortisol is particularly responsible for the development of obesity. Sleep deprivation due to depression or stress can also have a negative impact on body weight.
  5. Medications:  Some medications can be responsible for weight gain. These are mostly prescription drugs, so alternatives should be discussed with the responsible doctor.

External environmental factors in the form of advertising or posters can also make people want to consume high-calorie and high-fat foods, drinks and sweets. A lack of education and knowledge about healthy nutrition as well as a lack of time and desire to cook healthily yourself can promote obesity.

Risks of obesity

Other diseases can develop as a result of obesity:

Treatment and therapy of obesity

Da Adipositas viele verantwortliche Faktoren zugrunde liegen, müssen vor Beginn der Therapie Ursachen der Fettleibigkeit analysiert werden.

Gemeinsam mit dem*der behandelnden Arzt*Ärztin sollen Therapiepläne und Optionen für einen kontrollierten und kontinuierlichen Gewichtsverlust erarbeitet werden. Diese Maßnahmen sind:

  • Änderung des Lebensstils meist in einen bewussten Lebensstil
  • Körperliche Aktivität und Sport
  • Veränderung im Essverhalten, Diäten und gesunde Ernährung
  • Nicht klinisches Gewichtsmanagement in Form von Büchern, Websites, Apps und Selbsthilfegruppen
  • Klinisches Gewichtsmanagement unter professioneller Betreuung von Ärzt*innen, Psycholog*innen und Ernährungsexpert*innen

The WHO recommends that children and young people get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. Adults should be active for at least 150 to 300 minutes per week. The activity can take the form of walking, running, swimming or cycling, but regular exercise is important.

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