There is an elephant in the room that everyone’s trying to dodge in vain. That elephant is obesity.

Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. In recent years, the epidemic of overweight and obesity has become tragically apparent. The World Health Organization states that worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.

“Do I look fat in this dress?” “Honey we don’t use that word in this house”

What is normal weight?

Body composition is measured using the Body mass index (BMI); BMI is a mathematical ratio of weight to height (Kg/m2).  A BMI between 20 and 24 is considered normal weight. People with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, and people with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese.

What causes excessive body weight?

The leading cause of overweight is excessive calories. That is, an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat. Yes, that burger and fries is going to cost you! And an increased lack of physical activities. Increasingly, many forms of work are sedentary, changing modes of transportation, and increased urbanization mean that many people are not expending many of the calories they consume. “Did somebody say BODA?!!!”

So, what are the health risks of excess weight?

In general, the higher the BMI, the greater the risk for developing serious medical conditions. Some of the conditions associated with overweight and obesity include:

  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVD); excess body fat (generalized/abdominal) contributes to the global burden of heart diseases, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Type 2 diabetes; excess body fat is a major contributor of the global burden of diabetes. Compared to a healthy weight person, an overweight individual is 3 times more likely to develop diabetes within 10 years
  • Cancer; obese women are at nearly twice the risk for developing breast cancer, and all obese people have a higher chance of developing colorectal cancer.

It is also important to note that lifestyle modification is perhaps the best approach to address excessive weight. So, before you laugh at somebody’s unused gym membership, ask them to take you along instead!