IN some cultures, obesity is a symbol of health, wealth and prosperity.
Many influential figures are deemed elegant if they have excess fat.
Many people ignore the fact that obesity has been medicalised and pathologised. People who are overweight are at risk of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, kidney disease and cancer.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said one in five adults will be obese by 2025.
The government, academia and healthcare providers, must focus on obesity evaluation and be involved in its prevention efforts. We must promote awareness and promote programmes in the public and private sectors.
Obesity is complex but conquerable.
There must be a multifaceted approach in the prevention and treatment.
Public awareness campaigns about the health dangers of being overweight and a supportive environment to promote healthy living behaviours must involve numerous players.
We must work together to overcome obesity. We need community-based obesity prevention measures.
At the individual level, overweight and obesity can be tackled with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Nutrients in food are essential for health.
Excessive sugar, saturated fats or cholesterol not only cause you to gain weight but also causes the body to work in overdrive, leading to diseases.
Inculcate mindful eating habits. Everything is fine if done in moderation. Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Youth and adults consume too much sugar and lack physical activity.
Studies show that physical activity can tackle obesity. Everyone needs moderate aerobic physical activity daily. Exercising regularly does not only reduce weight, it also helps you to live better and longer. Self-discipline is important too.
Eat five or six servings of fruits and vegetables daily, avoid foods that have a lot of calories, drink a lot of water, don’t eat too late at night and weigh yourself regularly.
WHO figures show that obesity among children is increasing exponentially.
The number of overweight or obese infants and young children (aged 0 to 5) increased from 32 million in 1990 to 41 million in 2016. Parents should encourage their children to engage in moderate physical activity.
It is a fact that the body structure and metabolism rate varies between people.
So the shaming of overweight people has to stop as some have genes that predispose them to gain weight.
Nonetheless, don’t allow the genes to be the deciding factor. Balance healthy eating and physical activity. Maintain weight, don’t gain it.
Dr Maryam Abimbola Mikail
Ex-student, International Islamic University Malaysia (Kuantan campus)