OBESITY RISK FACTORS – Maria Aamir (Dietitian & Nutritionist, TKI)

Obesity is a condition where the body accumulates excessive fats which have a negative impact on health. Genetics, overeating and certain psychological factors, are common causes of obesity. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. To determine your body mass index, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meter squared.

BMI= Wt (kg) /Ht (m)2

Raised BMI is a major risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, Hypertension, Diabetes, Musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis), and Cancers. The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure.

Following steps should be taken on a regular basis to prevent obesity:

  • Eat at least five portions of fresh fruit (in season) and vegetables each day.
  • Select whole-grain foods such as brown rice and whole wheat & whole wheat bread.
  • Avoid processed foods especially those made with refined sugar, refined flour and saturated fat.
  • Start off by weighing and measuring food to gain an understanding of portion sizes. For example, an adequate serving of meat is the size of the palm of one’s own hand.
  • Avoid super-sized menu items particularly at fast-food restaurants.
  • Get on a scale regularly to check weight.
  • Avoid foods that are high in ‘energy density’ or that have a lot of calories in a small amount of food. For dessert, have a portion of fruit.
  • Avoid or limit fizzy sugary drinks – one tin of sugar-sweetened drink (350ml) contains more than 40g of sugar (equals 6-7% of one day’s energy intake).
  • Be physically active & involved in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most, or preferably, all days of the week.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet and regular exercise can help to control one’s weight, and it’s a key part of any weight loss effort. Whether you are at risk of obesity, currently overweight or at a healthy weight, you can take above-mentioned steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain and related health problems.