World Obesity Day is celebrated to promote practical solutions to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, receive appropriate treatment, and reverse the obesity epidemic.
According to the World Obesity Federation, a global organization solely dedicated to obesity, the theme for ‘World Obesity Day 2023’ is ‘Changing Perspectives: Let’s Talk About Obesity’. This year’s theme was delivered with the goal of changing attitudes on obesity: correcting misconceptions, ending stigma, and inspiring everyone to decide to move from one perspective to shared strategies.
The day was first observed in 2015 as an annual campaign with the goal of encouraging and supporting practical actions that will help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, as well as reverse the global obesity crisis. .
What is obesity?
Obesity is a medical condition described as excess body weight in the form of fat. When this fat builds up, it can cause serious health problems. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
How did obesity become a global threat?
Obesity is basically caused by an imbalance of calories consumed and calories expended. Consumption of energy-dense foods high in fat and free sugars has increased as global diets have changed in recent decades.
Physical activity has also decreased due to the changing nature of many types of work, increasing access to transport and increasing urbanization.
According to Global Burden of Disease, the issue has reached epidemic proportions, with more than 4 million people dying each year due to being overweight or obese in 2017.
According to WHO data, between 1975 and 2016, the global prevalence of overweight or obese children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 years increased more than fourfold, from 4% to 18%.
Most overweight or obese children are found in developing countries, where the rate of increase is more than 30% compared to developed countries.
Obesity and being overweight are major risk factors for a variety of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death worldwide.
Obesity can also lead to diabetes and its complications, such as blindness, amputation, and the need for dialysis.
Being overweight can lead to musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis.
Obesity has also been linked to cancers such as endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gall bladder, kidney and colon. Even if a person is only slightly overweight, the risk of these non-communicable diseases increases and becomes more severe with increasing body mass index (BMI).
What can be done to prevent obesity?
– Reduce the number of calories consumed from fats and sugars, increase the portion of daily intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts and engage in regular physical activity to reduce the risk of overweight and obesity (per day 60 minutes) for children and 150 minutes per week for adults).
Exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of overweight or obesity in infants.