February 23, 2022

A Walk to Remember: Obesity Edition

Written by: Omnia Tantawi, MSc

Never underestimate the power of a piece of cake to change someone’s life!

I know what you’re probably thinking – How can it possibly have any impact on changing a human life? The answer is easy but it’s not going to be close to anything you’ve got in mind.

A piece of cake is subcategorized under sweets, a delicious treat guaranteed to make your day with an added poignant price of extra weight gained on the side. It won’t matter much if you have an optimal weight; on the other hand, it can lead to the absolute worst if you’re overeating and gaining weight quickly. 

But how much is too much? And how can you know when you’ve reached the point of no return? The point when your eating habits manifested in that piece of cake opens the door to being overweight and finally leads to obesity! 

This is when BMI measurement is warranted.

 

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is measured to define overweight people who stand to be at risk for many diseases than those who remain within the normal range. To simply figure out where you lie on the scale, you can divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared; if you have a BMI of 30 or above lookout, this means obesity!1

 

Obesity Complications in Adults, Children, and Elderly

Apart from the burdensome complications that obesity carries from chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, and dyslipidemia2, one particular impact stands out the most: decreased functional mobility.

There is existing evidence to prove that over the span of 10 years or more, obese patients may begin to experience knee osteoarthritis. This is especially true in elderly populations (older than 65 years old)—3 Probably due to the chronic mechanical tension on the joints. 

Another study in obese children had a similar opinion but also added that pain is linked to increased BMI in children manifesting in lower back pain, hip, and knee pain, which means that the more obese the patients are, the more they will be in pain!3

 

Health-Related Quality of Life

Living with obesity is no easy task, especially when it’s painful ALL-THE-TIME! If you’re a child, you are barred from playing like your friends – sometimes prohibited from playing with them. If you’re an adult, you can’t overcome your pain and proceed with your daily tasks like your peers. While if you’re elderly, you will need someone to help accommodate your needs.

 

Occurrence of Obesity Worldwide

Approximately 1.9 million adults are obese!4 While it’s easy to blame genetics, medical conditions, and family history for turning obese. The higher percentage goes back to bad eating habits and physical inactivity.

 

Obese Vs. Normal Weight 

Evidently, it doesn’t just affect running or walking, obesity can also take its toll on balance control, endurance, and mass power in lower limbs.

Researchers performed a study on 36 obese women and compared them to normal BMI women where they observed normal physical activities in both groups to know the science behind it all and whether obesity can actually affect movement when we remove medical and genetic factors involved. 

After doing all the tests and analyzing the results, they concurred that obese women showed reduced ability in all physical activities than non-obese women, proving that obesity negatively affects functional mobility, capacity, and quality of life.5

 

Bad Habits Leading to Obesity

The bottom line is it all comes down to a simple exchange of calories consumed vs calories spent.

This means that for every cheat meal you take, you need to exercise to compensate for all the calories. Otherwise, these calories turn into fat, and eventually, you can be on the overweight spectrum leading to the dark hole of obesity.

It’s easy to get carried away. You’re watching a movie and chilling with fast food, potato chips, and carbonated drinks. 

Or maybe it’s your day off after a whole week of hard work and you need to decompress and relax with wine or beer, instead of working out. We all do it!

One way or another, we’re all guilty. But as time goes by, I can assure you that what seems easy now won’t seem easy later. 

On the contrary, as obesity knocks on its door, you’ll find yourself burdened with virtually no quality of life left. 

You won’t be able to run, let alone walk. 

You’ll suffer from persistent pains, your chill days at home with a movie will be filled with discomfort and loneliness and it won’t be the break-bliss you once had.

 

Recommendations to Overcoming Obesity

Implementing appropriate solutions would be to change diet and lifestyle. Instead of eating a lot of junk and fast foods, switch to healthy alternatives. 

Make a habit of eating at regular times; try to walk at least an hour a day.7

Integrate sports into your life. Luckily for us! Losing weight through sports doesn’t have to be boring anymore. With the advent of dancing as an alternative to exercise. 

Taking on several fun workouts like Zumba, Spinning, or Cardio gym classes can really spruce your day, give you positive energy and make you thinner.

Actual studies confirmed that dancing in overweight adolescent girls proved detrimental in increasing their joy, improving their mood, and reducing their weight.6

Nevertheless, if your obesity is caused due to an illness, follow up with your doctor to advise you of the best course of medication to use. 

 

Finally

Overcoming obesity is not a piece of cake. It requires commitment, persistence, and lifestyle changes, but in the end, it’s a piece of cake you will want to eat.

 

References

  1. Calculate Your BMI - Standard BMI Calculator [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 22]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm
  2. Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences | Overweight & Obesity | CDC [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 22]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html
  3. Forhan M, Gill S v. Obesity, functional mobility, and quality of life. Vol. 27, Best Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2013. p. 129–37.
  4. Obesity and overweight [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 22]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight
  5. Pataky Z, Armand S, Müller-Pinget S, Golay A, Allet L. Effects of obsity on functional capacity. Obesity. 2014 Jan;22(1):56–62.
  6. Staiano AE, Beyl RA, Hsia DS, Katzmarzyk PT, Newton RL. Twelve weeks of dance exergaming in overweight and obese adolescent girls: Transfer effects on physical activity, screen time, and self-efficacy. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 2017 Mar 1;6(1):4–10.
  7. Barquera S, White M. Treating Obesity Seriously in Mexico: Realizing, Much Too Late, Action Must Be Immediate. Vol. 26, Obesity. Blackwell Publishing Inc.; 2018. p. 1530–1.

 

Article written by Omnia Tantawi, MSc
Omnia is an Assistant Lecturer and Medical Researcher from Egypt. She’s an integral part in many research projects that proved promising in revolutionizing the future of Medicine. As a Research Scholar, she’s particularly interested in Personalized & Molecular Medicine because she believes that this is the prospect of the healthcare industry and can be applied to all medical and pharmaceutical specializations. But at heart she remains a wordsmith, so she currently works as a Medical Writer. This transition was fairly easy with an Academic Medical background, ability to adapt to different audiences and passion for research and creation. She always takes the most complex or mundane topics and turn it into a must-read with an unparalleled style. In her free time, she likes to read books, tunes in Netflix or enjoys the outdoors.

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