Obesity and overweight: what is the difference?

Obesity and being overweight are often misunderstood as synonyms for each other. A better understanding of these will help us to understand the optimum resolutions for each Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 25. BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height.  India has more than 30 million obese people, and the number is increasing alarmingly. The problem is more acute among women than men.

Obesity is looming threat of the 21st century and is a major causative factor for many other metabolic disorders and comorbidities. 

If one is to look at the causes, there is no single cause of obesity or excess weight. Though both are primarily a result of energy imbalance, excess calorie intake, and insufficient physical activity or a combination of both, there are various genetic, behavioural, and environmental factors that also contribute to the causes of overweight and obesity. The modern lifestyle is often blamed for increasing obesity. Our typically urban lives allow us access  to comforts and luxuries alike use of mechanized transport, increasing the availability of processed and fast foods, increased television viewing, adoption of less physically active lifestyles and consumption of more “energy dense, nutrient-poor” diets. It is this very modern lifestyle that brings with it an unwanted epidemic of obesity and various health conditions that eventually become a threat to healthy living.

The risk of many diseases including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and certain cancers increases many folds in association with obesity. There are no quick-fire solutions to the looming threat of the obesity epidemic. When an individual fails to lose enough weight to improve his health using other methods such as diet and exercise regimes and yet faces serious obesity-related health problems, then weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery are suggested for such individuals.

Various procedures of bariatric surgery leverage innovative technologies and enable severely obese individuals to live longer and more fulfilling lives. When used for a right candidate, irrespective of the procedure used, it has been clinically proven that weight loss surgery results in greater improvement in weight loss outcomes and obesity-related health conditions. Bariatric surgery holds the potential to improve many obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels. Bariatric surgery also positively impacts a person’s quality of life by improving physical function and mood.

Having said that, it is important to understand that bariatric surgery is no replacement for healthy habits It can only help if the candidate undergoing the surgery is willing to abide by a healthy lifestyle post-surgery.





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