What Is Obesity? Why Is It “Bad” For My Health ?
Obesity is a condition in which excess fat accumulates in the body which can affect the health of a person.
In developing countries such as India, obesity is emerging as a major health problem, especially in urban populations. A marked increase in the prevalence of obesity has been observed in the past few decades, both in adults and in children in developing countries.
Urbanisation, malnutrition, use of high-calorie fast foods, and also decreased physical activity are significant causes of obesity. Obesity is associated with serious health problems like Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes and Hypertension and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in girls, a condition characterized by irregular or no menstrual periods, acne and excessive hair growth. Hence, diagnosis and control, as well as prevention and treatment of obesity, should start early in life.
An active lifestyle is as important as eating healthy food when it comes to fighting obesity. These days our sedentary lifestyles restrict us to live healthy lives as we tend to spend our days and nights in front of screens, be it smartphones, flat screens or computer screens, they all are the reasons that add kilos to our body that are difficult to shed.
Eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly can help in fighting obesity. Including the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals to the diet can help prevent obesity. Also, nutrition plays a major role in retarding the aging process.
Our bustling lives have altered our food behavior which includes skipping meals, particularly breakfast, snacking at irregular times and an increase fast food consumption and often eating away from home, low intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as milk and milk products.
Poor food choices can have a profound impact on growth and development.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT HELP YOU FIGHT OBESITY
The following are some tips for healthy eating and fighting obesity:
- Diet should be balanced, including from all food groups. This will not only provide all the nutrients but will also add variety to the diet.
- Protein quality of the diet can be improved by consuming animal products like milk, meat, egg, etc. For vegetarians, cereal-pulse combinations can provide good quality protein.
- Include at least five servings of green leafy vegetables, other vegetables and fruits will fulfill the requirements of vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, and dietary fibre.
- Breakfast being the most important meal of the day, should not be neglected.
- Restrict the intake of fast food and snacks, that will, in turn, limit the intake of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, and prevent obesity.
- Foods generally liked by people can be prepared at home using healthier options, like low-fat cheese for pizzas, whole wheat buns for burgers, adding a generous amount of vegetables in noodles.
- Limit the consumption of cold drinks because they are sources of ‘empty calories’; substitute them with milk-based beverages and natural fruit juices (with no preservatives).
- Limit the use of processed, packed foods, snacks, and convenience foods.
- Excessive intake of salt and sugar should be avoided.
- Involve in at least 60 minutes of physical activity in your daily schedule to keep fit and active and to develop healthy muscle tissues and bones.
- Abstain from smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol.
- Involve yourself in some outdoor sport, that will also help in the synthesis of Vitamin-D.
- Dieting should be discouraged, as it adversely affects growth and the nutritional status.
ENCOURAGING HEALTHY LIFESTYLE IN KIDS
A healthy diet is important for adequate physical growth and cognitive performance in children. Parents and Elders should play an active role in shaping the food behavior of children. The home food environment needs to be appropriate for establishing healthy food behavior.
If elders in the family consume unhealthy foods themselves or stock up on junk food and beverages at home, they will find it very difficult to teach their children about healthy food choices. So, to control obesity, changes in diet and exercising routines should be made in order to live a healthy life. These changes should be encouraged for the whole family as kids learn through example.
Proofread and Edited By Samara Vivian