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Obesity and Diabetes: Unraveling the Complex Relationship



Please Lose Weight! - A constant reprimand by the doctor!


Any issue you go to the doctor may be menstrual abnormality, fibroids, pain, painful periods, planning babies, infertility; the “obesity” comes in!! ‘But all of us in the family are fat‘ ‘this is our tendency’, ‘I don’t eat anything’, ‘I just can’t lose weight’, ‘I have no time ‘, ‘I have hypothyroidism’, ‘I feel tired’, ‘I am a foodie’, “I am lazy’! Many of these thoughts constantly run through our minds.


Through this sketch, I have made an attempt to simplify the issues to improve the approach towards health and to overcome obesity and to prevent and overcome fatness and nurture fitness.


So what is this obesity business? Something or someone that has eaten until making itself fat is the actual Latin meaning of the word obesity. Obesity was a rare entity before the 19th century. Today it has become rampant. The history of this state of physicality goes a long way. The Greeks were the first to identify this as a medical condition.


Hippocrates, who is revered as the father of modern medicine, recognized obesity as a disease and also mentioned that it led to other diseases. Sushruta, the father of Indian medicine in the 6th century BC, actually linked overweight state, obesity, diabetes, and heart failure and stated that physical activity and work will help cure these diseases.


If one goes through the evolution of time, scarcity of food and excessive physical activity were the norm. Obesity then was a sign of the wealthy, as this class could afford to eat and also handle the consequences. Obesity at that time was a sign of gluttony (excessive eating and consuming wrong things), psychological illnesses (depression or mental ill health or disorder), and laziness (inactivity with no purpose and physical activity).


Christianity was the widest spread faith and believed that obesity was a result of laziness and lust for food and identified both of these as sins against the church and God and reprimanded individuals by calling them ‘fat'.


Why is there obesity? Why am I fat? Can I become fat?: The 4 ‘E’s of obesity


Ethnicity: Asians can genetically process complex foods and a smaller amount of food. Complex carbohydrates are the main food content balanced with moderate proteins and fibers.


Endocrinology: Some hormones can potentiate the occurrence of obesity and are interlinked with this. Thyroid disorders, insulin dysfunction, leptin deficiency, abnormalities in ovarian hormones, etc.


Environment: Factors such as lifestyle, increased consumption of highly processed foods, stress. Intrauterine programming is emerging as a new cause of obesity. If the mother has had diabetes or is obese, or if the baby is growth-restricted or premature, the possibilities are that such offspring are at a higher chance of developing obesity.


Exercise absence or inadequacy: No physical activity, a sedentary routine, and work.


What are the consequences of obesity?


Diabetes, heart disease, raised blood pressure, menstrual irregularities, infertility, poor self-image are some of the consequences of obesity. During pregnancy, obese women can have rapid weight gain, diabetes, overweight babies, raised blood pressure, increased possibility of miscarriages, preterm deliveries, and pregnancy and delivery complications.


How can I know I am overweight or obese?


When the weight does not match the height of a person or is more than what should be, one can know that they are overweight. Simple formulas exist such as the BMI where the weight in kilograms is divided by height in meters squared. The ideal BMI for Indians has to be 23, and BMI more than 29 is considered obese. Simple measures such as waist circumference measured in centimeters can tell us that all is not right. Waist circumference more than 88 can be commonly associated with obesity and its consequences such as diabetes, infertility, raised blood pressure, etc. The actual assessment can also come by assessing the body composition, and that can be a better guide. Consequences of obesity mentioned above are assessed through clinical examination by a doctor and laboratory tests.


How can I prevent obesity?


Beware of your Asian ethnicity and plan strategically. Eat healthily and as much as is necessary. Food is for nourishment, not for appeasement. Do not find solace in food alone. Eat complex foods which are as original as possible and not overcooked and processed. Eat what is necessary for your stage of life. A young adolescent girl has different needs than a peri-menopausal woman. Be smart in your food choices and composition. The food has to be eaten consciously and not conveniently.


Have a regular exercise plan. Take it on as a commitment. Focus on being smart and acquire proper posture and body image. A good physique and posture are works of a craftsman and need to be acquired through perseverance.


Be focused and committed to your health and be your sculptor. Above all, identify your own biology.


What do you mean by this above statement?


Every individual is unique. The same formula does not work for all. So everyone has to identify, along with the doctor’s help, what would work for them and become a partner with your doctor in achieving your health.


How is obesity treated?


The clinical assessment helps in identifying the cause and the effects of obesity, and in accordance with the 4 ‘E’s of obesity can be tackled.


So commitment, consciousness, and perseverance matter. And yes, it is doable, so let's start now. Some more in my next post. Meanwhile, please visit the following links for more info on related previous posts from me. Happy health!! Love you all.

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