The 'O' Factor - Ramifications of Physical Inactivity
WHO indicates that at least 1 in 3 of the world’s adult population is overweight and 1 in 10 is obese. Additionally more than 2 crore children under age 5 are overweight. At least 28 lakh adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. In addition, overweight and obesity attributes to diabetes, ischaemic heart disease burden, and certain cancer burdens.
Overweight and Obesity – A Dead Weight
At a score of 206 kgs, Adnan Sami was given a deadline of six months, all puns intended, by his doctor! Diet, exercise and will-power saved his life and helped him lose 107 kgs in the next nine months. If such diligence is displayed by 60% of the present global population who lead an insufficiently active life (physically), the incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases like cardio-vascular disease, type II diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, and some cancers will be reduced by a great margin. The latest statistical projection by World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that at least 1 in 3 of the world’s adult population is overweight and 1 in 10 is obese. Additionally more than 2 crore children under age 5 are overweight. In spite of a growing awareness concerning health it is not a well-known fact that the risk of health problems start when someone is only very slightly overweight.
Statistics (courtesy WHO) also suggest that overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global death. 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. At least 28 lakh adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. In addition, overweight and obesity attributes to 44% of the diabetes, 23% of the ischaemic heart disease burden, and 7% to 41% of certain cancer burdens.
Gluttony – A Lethal Vice
As observed by WHO “the fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.” In other words, most people become overweight and obese when they eat more and work less in terms of physical activity. Food rich in fat, salt and sugars but low on vitals, minerals and other micronutrients aggravate the problem to a great extent
A high BMI is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases like CVDs (mainly heart disease and stroke), type II diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis which is a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints) and some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon). Obese children are more likely to remain obese as adults with an increased risk of premature death and disability. Also, in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of heart disease, insulin resistance (causing type II diabetes) and psychological effects.
Are you ready to change?
Darwin’s theory of evolution suggests the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence. The statement stands true as far as the problem of obesity is concerned. Even though overweight and obesity, as well as the related non-communicable diseases are largely preventable, what really counts is your willingness to change the unsustainable lifestyle and unhealthy habits which primarily contribute to the sad predicament. Only a changed attitude and mindset can help you get a firm grip over the reins of life. The rest is a matter of mere application in detail.
However, self realisation dawns only when one is faced with a crisis of severe proportions. Taking the example of the famous singer Adnan Sami once again, only when he was threatened with dire consequences did he make a decisive choice to change. But everyone does not need to go through the same traumatic experiences. If only you are prepared to accept the truth, a timely health checkup can save you and your near ones from imminent disasters. In this age of knowledge and information a clear and precise understanding of your health status can be the only insurance against all future tragedies.
- The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke – WHO
- Physical Inactivity and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in India – International Journal of Epidemiology