As the coronavirus pandemic keeps most of us confined to our homes, a new health concern is sweeping the globe. Obesity is increasing among populations at an alarming speed.
2/3rd of the world’s population is affected in some way by the issue of obesity. This is specifically alarming because obesity can be a gateway to many diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiac diseases, sleep apnea, paralysis, and at times cancer.
Obesity can sometimes even become a reason for decreased self-esteem in society as most of the world idealizes smaller proportions of the body. Besides the psychological impact, obesity can also interfere with a person’s day to day life as they become more and dependent on society, governments, families due to increasing health conditions.
Compared to people with healthier weights, the life expectancy of obese individuals may be lesser by at least 5 or 20 years, according to research.
One of the factors leading to obesity is reduced physical activity. At times it is normal to find, not one but multiple members of the family to be obese. Genetics as well as hormonal changes can also play a part in contributing to the problem.
At times, lifestyles can play a pivotal role in driving up the numbers of obesity in the population. Poor diet due to a lack of access to healthier foods or by choice can also be a leading cause of obesity. So can for instance a lack of exercise such as walking, running, or even walking small distances.
Thus a lax lifestyle is one of the reasons obesity is increasing across the globe. It is an issue second only to the problem of the rising numbers of smokers in the world.
According to data from the World Health Organization, the number of obese persons is now thrice the number that was the norm in 1975. From WHO’s data one can see that obesity puts people at risk for diseases such as heart disease or stroke, musculoskeletal disorders, and some specific cancers.
Even during the current coronavirus pandemic, people who are obese and are suffering from the novel virus pose a problem for doctors. Mechanical ventilation is difficult to provide to obese coronavirus patients and their airway obstruction is enough to prove lethal for them.
It is easy to say that obesity contributes to one of the largest global health issues. A global study published in The Lancet is a good reference to look at to understand the global total causes and factors of risk for disease and death due to obesity.
According to the Global Burden of Disease study, in 2017 4.7 million individuals died before they should’ve as a consequence of obesity. This is 4 times the number of people who died due to a road accident. Compared to deaths due to AIDs, the number is 5 times more for the ones who died from obesity.
As obesity is increasing in the world so is disease and death because of it. Therefore it should be a serious concern for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle and can do something about it before it becomes a serious health risk for them.