The number one effect of eating unhealthy diet for many people is weight gain which may lead to overweight and eventually obesity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults is on the increase globally. Obesity has become a great concern not only in the western world but also in sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria.
In a study conducted in Jos, Nigeria in 2002, the prevalence of overweight and obesity was 21.4%, 19.4% in males and 23.5% in females. According to the most recent available data on overweight and obesity in Nigeria by WHO, the prevalence of overweight (i.e. overweight and obesity) generally among females in urban areas between age 19 and 65 years was 58.2%.
If the size and shape attained by obesity were the only problems associated with it, it would have been a light issue, but they are not. Obese adults (BMI=30.0) are at increased risk of adverse metabolic outcomes including increased blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin resistance.
Subsequently, an increase in BMI exponentially increases the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, ischemic stroke and type-2 diabetes mellitus.
In Nigeria, studies have confirmed that overweight and obesity are associated with type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension and some other diseases. Raised BMI is also associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
There is no doubt that some people who are not fat at all still come down with those diseases. This should not make slim people throw away caution, choose the wrong kinds of foods and refuse to exercise; rather it should alert them that the diseases can actually be incubating in thin people and they would not know.
Many people attempting losing weight but end up gaining more than they have lose after a period of trail. This is because the weight that was lost was not as a result of lifestyle changes but only a temporary project. The best way to have an ideal weight is to adopt a lifestyle that will prevent gaining weight after reaching adulthood or will enhance losing if excess weight had been gained already.
1. How can I know if my weight is alright?
• The guide to know if one’s weight is ideal is called Body Mass Index (BMI). It’s obtained by dividing your weight by the square of your height in meters. Ideally the BMI of an adult should be between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m
• People can be classified as follows based on their BMI:
Underweight ( <18.5kg/m)
Normal weight (18.5-24.9kg/m)
Overweight ( >25kg/m)
Obesity = BMI of or greater
• Example: If Nike’s weight is 85kg and her height is 1.56m, her BMI is:
• 85/( 1.56)kg/m =35kg/m
• It means that Nike is obese and will need to lose weight.
2. Is it okay to skip meals or eat very little; much less than the body needs in other to lose weight?
• No. Any method that drastically reduces your calorie intake or puts your body in a state of starving makes you lose weight initially but you will find it difficult to sustain it since the loss in both fat and muscle. You need the muscle to burn calories therefore you should not do anything that will make you lose muscle tissue.
• When you consume fewer calories, you have a tendency to be less active, which probably stems from your biological programming to preserve body weight for survival. Your metabolism slows down to keep you going on less food. This may result in little or no weight loss even if you are taking only fruit/vegetable and water.