How to Fight Obesity and Overweight


There are some misconceptions about people being obese or overweight; people assume that “fat” is synonymous with overweight, and that being overweight is a choice. Obesity means having a lot of body fat, while being overweight could mean having extra body weight from bone, fat, muscles and/or body water. Yet, both obesity and overweight mean that one’s weight is more than what is deemed healthy; let us review some of their main causes and consequences:

  1. Consuming more food full of fat, containing more calories than the body needs.
  2. Physical inaction due to the luxuries present nowadays; this inactivity affects the hormones, which in turn affects how the body deals with food.
  3. Lack of sleep results in the production of the Ghrelin hormone, which stimulates the appetite, and also stops the production of the Leptin hormone, which reduces appetite and hunger.
  4. Eating food containing hormonally active agents that hinder lipid metabolism. For example, fructose has a negative effect on the brain, as it keeps the appetite control regions in the brain inactive; unlike glucose, which activates these regions. Eventually, consuming fructose causes obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and diabetes.

Obese and overweight people are at high risk of suffering from diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (especially heart attacks and strokes), diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders (mainly backache, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, neck pain, nerve ache, and osteoarthritis), and some cancer types as breast, colon, gallbladder, kidney, liver, and ovarian.

Obesity and overweight can be prevented by having a supportive environment, which influences people’s choices, and makes choosing healthy food and exercise an easy choice. Individuals can decrease their overall fat and sugar intake, consume more fruits, legumes, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains. They can also do physical exercise an hour per day for children, and two-hours-and-a-half spread over the week for adults.

Moreover, the food industry can have a major role in advocating healthy diets through:

  1. Decreasing the quantity of salt, sugar, and fat in processed food.
  2. Making healthy and nourishing options available at reasonable prices so that any customer is able to purchase them.
  3. Enforcing regulations on selling food with high fat, salt, and sugar content, particularly those targeting children and teenagers.
  4. Endorsing healthy food consumption and exercise at work.

People need to become more aware of their weight problems and realize that there is a solution; they need to know if they are obese or overweight, and to know how they will tackle weight loss. Adjusting their diets and doing physical activities are the main factors to achieve that, although society and food companies also play a major role in providing healthier food options.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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