The world over, those who should know agree that being overweight poses unnecessary health risks to individuals. Beyond what we eat — which is really a big issue in weight problems — the sedentary lifestyle that most people lead, coupled with job stress and squeezed schedules, are some of the things that lead to being overweight or obese.
Worse still, physicians note that it is not only the adult population that is accumulating more flesh around the waist; the younger generation is catching up quickly, with obese children fast becoming the norm rather than the exception.
Yet, mortality experts project that today’s chubby children will live shorter lives than their parents as a result of the risks associated with fatness.
Researchers say the health problems that stem from being overweight are worse than becoming diabetic or developing heart disease. They contend that being overweight can also affect a person’s joints, breathing pattern, sleep, mood, and energy levels.
For instance, otolaryngologists say obese people may have impaired breathing, such that any little exertion of energy such as climbing a flight of stairs or taking a short walk might make them breathless. Physicians also say since the lungs usually provide extra storage spaces for some of the fat, exchange of oxygen is reduced, hence the breathing problems.
A professor of chiropractic, Bishop Magnus Atilade, says heavy people suffer from chronic back ailments. “Extra weight stresses the back more than is desirable for maintaining fluid, pain-free movement.” Consequently, chiropractors and physicians who deal with back ailments consistently recommend losing weight and tightening stomach muscles.
Podiatrists also note that feet tend to break down as they strain under additional weight, and complications can develop. “One result of obesity is that the arches collapse and the feet flatten. Such breakdowns often accompany diabetes, and if not treated properly, can lead to amputation,” Dr. Catherine Duru, an orthopaedic doctor says.
Duru also notes that in the case of children, excess weight on growing bones can lead to Blount disease — a bone deformity of the lower legs; while the wear and tear on the joints from carrying extra weight can cause arthritis, even at a young age.
Experts also note that obese people — adults and children — can develop pseudo-tumour cerebri, a rare cause of severe headaches that leaves no tumour, but causes pressure to build up in the brain.
As bad as obesity is, it also affects fertility and could be a problem when an obese person is accessing treatments for infertility. Says the Medical Director of MART-Life Clinics, Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, “A fat person undergoing treatment for IVF must shed some weight; otherwise, the treatments will just be disappearing into fatty tissues, thus frustrating both the physician and the patient!”
Experts also note that infections and wound problems are more frequent among obese (organ) transplant recipients. They note that there’s an increased risk for delayed graft function, acute (organ) rejection, and longer hospitalisations among obese kidney transplant recipients, among other known risk factors.
And when it comes to intimacy, most of the studies concerning the sexual behaviour of obese people indicate that they are vulnerable to lack of desire and energy for performing sexual act. Experts attribute this to their lack of energy, difficulty in body movement and a natural inclination towards sleep and excessive rest.
All the experts we consulted on this topic are of the view that a balanced diet containing mostly raw vegetables, fibrous fruits, lean poultry, omega-3-rich fish, low-fat dairy, low-or-no-sugar choices, caffeine-free coffee and chocolate, and clean water will lead to a healthy, trim body, increase your metabolism, reduce your waistline and leave you looking and feeling better than ever. The following foods are thus
Watermelon. Nutritionists say alongside of tomatoes, watermelon is also very rich in lycopene and, well, water! Indeed, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that women who ate water-rich foods lost 33 per cent more weight in the first six months than women on a low-fat diet. Watermelon also contains vitamins A and C, as well as glutathione, which nutritionists say helps strengthen the immune system.
Beans. For those who wish to reduce meat intake, beans readily comes in as an alternative protein source. A registered dietician, Dawn Blatner, says its fibre and water content make you feel fuller faster, thus helping the eater to cut calories without feeling deprived. She says, “Beans keeps you full, and is high in resistant starch, meaning that half the calories consumed cannot be absorbed. They also reduce blood sugar, and create the fatty acid butyrate, which may burn fat faster.”
She also notes that beans contains antioxidants, a class of phytochemicals that incapacitate cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Free radicals have been implicated in everything, from cancer and aging to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Mushrooms. Researchers say mushrooms help people to burn fat and keep illness and disease at bay. They are very low in calories, they have no cholesterol and they contain less than one per cent of the recommended daily intake of sodium. They also contain small amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fibre, which nutritionists say aid in fat loss.
Apples. Researchers at Florida State University say the antioxidants and pectin (a soluble fibre) in apples satisfy hunger for a few calories and so could be part of a healthy diet. They note that pectin reduces the amount of sugar and calories absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal, making the fruit the best snacks for dieters and a great means of preventing Type 2 diabetes.
Avocados. This green fruit contains monounsaturated fats that are easily burned for energy. Experts say when you cut down on carbohydrates from grains like rice, you need to increase your intake of healthy fats, which avocados provide.
Chili peppers. Chilies are available in the same place you buy your peas, running beans, and cucumbers. They contain capsaicin, the compound that gives these spicy peppers their zing, which also curbs appetite while you eat. The peppers raise body temperature, which boosts metabolism, making you feel lighter at the end of the day.
Green tea. Green tea contains a phytonutrient called epigallocatechin gallate, and increases the hormone responsible for making you feel satiated. Experts say drinking green tea daily can prevent storage of excess fat, improve appetite-regulating hormones and change how the body metabolises food.
Pineapples. Pineapples contain vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus,
and potassium. It is also rich in fibre and calories, while it is low in fat and cholesterol. Pineapple juice is also reputed to blast tummy fats. So, drink on!
culled from Punch