Obesity and Overweight: What You Should Know

The state of abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in the body (that may impair health) is referred to Obesity. Researchers report that many obese young adults in the United States don’t know they’re at increased risk for diseases related to heart and kidney, type 2 diabetes, certain type of cancer, etc.

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According to the study leader Dr. Michal Melamed, an associate professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City, 11 percent of obese Mexican-Americans and about 6 percent of obese whites and blacks had elevated levels of the protein albumin in the urine. This condition, called albuminuria, is a sign that the kidneys are not functioning normally.

KEY FACTS about OBESITY:

According to WHO:

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013.
  • Obesity is preventable.

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Some recent WHO global estimates follow:

  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
  • Overall, about 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2014.
  • In 2014, 39% of adults aged 18 years and over (38% of men and 40% of women) were overweight.
  • The worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014.
  • In 2013, 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese. Once considered a high-income country problem, overweight and obesity are now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. In developing countries with emerging economies (classified by the World Bank as lower- and middle-income countries) the rate of increase of childhood overweight and obesity has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries.

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WHAT’S NEXT??

Overweight and obesity, as well as their related non-communicable diseases, are largely preventable. Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, making the healthier choice of foods and regular physical activity: the easiest choice (accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing obesity.

At the individual level, people can:

  • limit energy intake from total fats and sugars
  • increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts
  • engage in regular physical activity (60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes per week for adults).

Individual responsibility can only have its full effect where people have access to a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, at the societal level it is important to:

  • support individuals in following the recommendations above, through sustained political commitment and the collaboration of many public and private stakeholders
  • make regular physical activity and healthier dietary choices available, affordable and easily accessible to all – especially the poorest individuals.

The food industry can play a significant role in promoting healthy diets by:

  • reducing the fat, sugar and salt content of processed foods;
  • ensuring that healthy and nutritious choices are available and affordable to all consumers;
  • practicing responsible marketing especially those aimed at children and teenagers;
  • ensuring the availability of healthy food choices and supporting regular physical activity practice in the workplace.

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