Obesity. Here's how it puts your health at risk

Obesity. Here's how it puts your health at risk

Not just an aesthetic problem. This condition can predispose to a number of short- and long-term pathological changes, such as diabetes and hypertension

In the world there is talk of the "obesity epidemic", representing one of the main world public health problems. The number of people with strong body weight gain is also increasing very rapidly increasing in all age groups, including children. And the data, even for Italy, are not encouraging: it is estimated that more than 4 out of 10 people are overweight and this data shows no trend towards improvement, at least in the last five years. As for children, our country is, in Europe, the one with the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in children of school age and even if there is a slight drop in prevalence (from 35% in 2008 to 31% in 2016) still almost a third of Italian children have excess weight, especially in the Southern Italy regions and in families with low parental education and low socio-economic level.

The identikit of the obese

The Guidelines for healthy eating (2018 revision) outline the "identikit" of the obese person. Excess weight (sum of overweight and obesity) – the document states – tends to increase with increasing age and is more frequent in some categories: in males (56%) than females (38%); in the elderly (53%) compared to young people (37%); in the South (52%) compared to the Center (45%) and the North (44%). It should be noted that in the 55-65 age group, overweight and obesity are present in 2 out of 3 males and in 1 out of 2 females. In adults as in children, obesity is also an expression of hardship and poverty. more than low schooling. In fact, it is more frequent among people with economic difficulties (35%) than those with higher incomes (16%); among those with a low or no educational qualification (41%) compared to those who study longer (23%).

How it puts your health at risk

Obesity is a condition that once established is very difficult to treat and predisposes to a series of pathological changes both in the short and long term. The development of this condition, in fact, favors for example the onset of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, osteo-articular diseases, respiratory system diseases such as dyspnea and exercise intolerance or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. , and even some cancers (including cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, colorectal, endometrium, kidney, and breast after menopause). In addition, visceral obesity together with insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension play a central role in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome, a clinical situation in which multiple pathologies and risk factors are present at the same time.

Obese people also run a higher risk of having brain pathologies (for example ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke) and may have depression and anxiety disorders.

What can you do

Prevention is the watchword. A correct lifestyle that includes adequate physical activity and a varied diet that limits the consumption of fats and sugars, very abundant especially in packaged foods and soft drinks, and increases the consumption of vegetables, legumes, whole grains and, in General fresh, unprocessed food is the first step in preventing overweight and obesity. At the same time limiting alcohol which, in addition to being harmful to the health of organs, is also an important source of calories, without bringing any nutritional benefits.

When obesity is already present, the treatment consists in reducing body weight, to be carried out under strict medical supervision, following a correct diet and carrying out a regular program of physical activity, adequate to your possibilities and in the subsequent maintenance of an adequate weight at your height. It may be helpful in some cases to resort to psychological support.

The diet for weight reduction – underlines the Ministry of Health – must be personalized; in general it must include fruit and vegetables; cereals (bread and pasta) in moderation and preferably wholemeal, give preference to meat and fish as the main sources of protein. Instead, salt and sugar added to food and drinks, foods too rich in salt (e.g. sausages) and fats and sugars (snacks, french fries, fast food and rotisserie / pizzeria foods, etc.), soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Remember that a glass of wine contains 120 Kcal, without providing any nutrients.

Finally, when buying packaged foods, it is very important to read the nutritional label to check the calorie content and the qualitative and quantitative fat content (avoid products rich in saturated fatty acids, especially trans).

Category: Welfare
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