The term obesity refers to the accumulation of excessive body fat which has the capability of causing an adverse effect on health. The most common obesity causes are a combination of uncontrolled intake of fatty foods, sedentary lifestyle and genetic susceptibility. A person usually falls under the obese category when the Body mass Index (BMI) is high. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 indicates that a person is overweight. A BMI of 30 or above suggests that a person is suffering from obesity.
If the BMI falls in the obese range it is better to consult a doctor to avoid further health complications caused by obesity. The condition needs proper review of the health history and various physical examinations should be followed by some tests. Obesity check-up generally includes:
- Review of health history: Several factors like weight history, exercise habits, eating patterns, medications, stress levels, and other health conditions are included.
- A general physical check-up: A general physical check-up includes height measurement, checking heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and examining your abdomen.
- BMI calculation: BMI is an effective tool used by doctors to assess if a person’s weight is appropriate for their height, age, and sex. It is calculated by dividing the weight of the person in kilograms by the square of the patient’s height in meters. A BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity. But in a few cases, a high BMI can also be due to excess muscle or fluid, which will be examined by the doctor.
- Measurement of waist circumference: Fat tends to store around the waist, which is called visceral fat or abdominal fat and it may increase risks of diseases like diabetes and heart problems. Women with a waist circumference more than 80 centimetres and men with a waist circumference more than 102 centimetres may have higher health risks and therefore it becomes necessary to take some further actions.
- Blood tests: The doctor may recommend certain tests such as a cholesterol test, a liver function test, a fasting glucose test and thyroid tests depending upon the health status and symptoms. Certain heart tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) may also be suggested to rule out any risk of heart disease.
Based on all the above information a conclusion regarding the extra weight and the health status of the person can be made. Such information plays a vital role in deciding the proper health regime to avoid major health issues.
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The overall aim of obesity treatment is to attain a weight that helps to remain healthy and fit. A dietitian, a behaviour counsellor or an obesity counsellor altogether may help you make changes in your eating habits and routine so that you can shed those extra pounds. The proper obesity treatment consists of:
- Dietary changes: To overcome obesity one needs to reduce calorie intake and practice healthier eating habits. Consumption of fruits and vegetables which provide fewer calories inspite of eating a larger portion size helps reduce hunger pangs. Limited intake of salt and sugar helps and an increase in protein intake and limited high-carbohydrate foods in the diet.
- Exercise and physical activity: People who suffer from obesity need to do a moderate-intensity activity like brisk walking, cycling, swimming or dancing to avoid regaining the lost weight. Regular aerobic exercises help burn calories and shed extra pounds. Simple changes in daily life like climbing stairs, doing household chores, gardening can benefit you a lot.
- Behaviour changes: Behaviour therapy or behaviour modification program which includes counselling with trained professionals and interaction with various support groups in your area where others share similar obesity challenges may be more helpful in the weight loss journey. A behaviour modification program will helps in staying motivated.
- Weight loss medication: Healthy diet and regular exercise are important to lose weight but in some cases, a prescription medication for weight loss may also be needed. These medications are likely to work when the use them along with a healthy diet, exercise and behaviour changes.
- Surgery: Also called bariatric surgery, weight loss surgery is used for the treatment of people who are severely obese, who have BMI of 40 or more and have serious weight-related health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. However, the success of weight-loss surgery depends upon the commitment to making lifelong changes in lifestyle, exercise and eating habits.