The prevalence of obesity has increased many folds in the past few decades. The abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat in different parts of the body not only makes a person conscious of their looks but can also give way to severe metabolic disorders like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In India, more than 5 crore people are suffering from obesity and other metabolic issues that come along with it.
On this World Obesity Day, we spoke to Dr Vikas Singhal, Consultant GI and Bariatric surgeon, Department of gastro surgery, Medanta -the Medicity Hospital, Gurgaon about obesity risk factors and ways to manage the condition.
Common types of obesity
Dr Singhal explained that there are two common types of obesity- The male pattern and the female pattern.
The male pattern, also known as the android pattern is the worst out of the two because the distribution of fat in this is around the waist area. The fat around the abdomen is known as visceral fat or bad fat. This kind of fat is present deep within the tissue and is often linked with several kinds of health issues like stroke and kidney problems. He further explained that in the female pattern or the gynoid obesity, the fat distribution is not just around the waist, but also in other parts like hips, thighs. This kind of fat is less dangerous as it is less likely to be associated with metabolic problems that come along with obesity.
The risk factors of obesity
Contrary to popular belief, obesity is not only an outcome of overeating or lifestyle issues. Dr Singhal explained that obesity is regarded as a disease and should be evaluated as a disease. Only a bad diet cannot lead to obesity. The balance between energy intake and energy consumption is multifactorial and can be due to genetics, hormonal disorder or psychological problems. “World Obesity Day is observed just to make common people realise that obesity is no longer regarded as a lifestyle problem or a lifestyle disorder,” he added.
The right way to measure obesity
Measuring if you are obese is not as easy as hopping on the weighing scale. The right way to do this is by measuring the BMI (Body Mass Index). BMI is the ratio of weight to height. The ideal BMI varies from age and ethnicity.
Even in kids, BMI is used to measure obesity, but it is more complex than grown-ups. You can buy the BMI charts and then compare the BMI according to age and ethnicity to get the correct numbers.
What leads to obesity?
Out of all the factors, diet is the most prominent factor that contributes to obesity, added Dr Singhal. “Almost 70 per cent of cases of obesity are directly associated with not taking the appropriate diet and no amount of exercise can compensate for a bad diet,” he said. Apart from this, there are other several factors like hormonal issues, common medications and lifestyle habits that may lead to obesity.
How to manage obesity?
As per Dr Singhal, the first important step is to evaluate the cause of obesity and take the necessary steps. “Correction of diet, including exercise in daily routine, changes in common medication are a few first things that are recommended. After this, endoscopic procedures or bariatric surgery comes into play,” the doctor explained. He said that diet and exercise are enough for those who have gained 15-16 kilos and are in the overweight range, but people who have gained more than 16 kilos may need to take medications.
For people weighing more than 90 kilos, endoscopic options are better and for those above 100 kilos, the option of bariatric surgery can be explored.