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Preventing Tomorrow's Problems Today: The Connection Between Weight Management and Health

In our current times, Obesity has become a critical health concern. Importantly the World Obesity Federation has estimated that if corrective actions are not taken NOW, approximately 50 % (by 2035) of the population will become overweight or obese. The impact of excess weight on our well-being cannot be overstated. In fact, it's not just how much one weight or what BMI one has, its actually how heavy the impact that excess weight has on an individuals health. Obesity has a direct and indirect role in causing 229+ diseases or health conditions! Individuals who actively manage their weight in a healthy range and maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) are 40% less likely to develop chronic health conditions compared to those with abnormally high BMI’s? In this blog, we’ll talk about healthy weight management, obesity and weight control, and more.


Why does Obesity happen!


This in reality is a million-dollar question! 


Logically speaking, if we can identify the reasons for a problem, we in-fact have defined the solution. Let’s understand in the simplest way, why obesity happens, this will factually make us stronger in or understanding the solution(s) for weight loss.


Let’s at-first banish one of the most common ‘Myth’ around excess weight: Weight gain = Food one eats (calorie intake) – Energy expenditure (exercise/physical activity). If it were so simple, I would not be writing this blog and there would be no global efforts towards limiting obesity.


Obesity is MULTIFACTORIAL in causation, hence scientifically will have multiple solutions as a cure/control for it. A fact that surprises most, obesity has a major genetic or ethnic component, in some scientific investigations above 40% of obesity can be explained by the genetics. Like for type 2 diabetes, having one or more family members effected, predisposes the further generation(s) with a much greater risk of diabetes/obesity. If a family member has excess weight, doesn’t mean it guarantees that the future generation(s) will surely have an excess weight problem. 


Genetics/ethnic predisposition is like a bullet loaded in a gun- ‘not harmful’! Till the trigger is pulled, the trigger for obesity is the environment! Environment here primarily refers to an individual's lifestyle and the place one lives in. 


So what exactly has happened that there is an ‘E’pidemic explosion of excess weight. Specific to us and other developing countries, on top of a genetic predisposition, there is an immense and rapid westernisation or globalisation, causing a socio-demographic, nutritional and environmental (pollution) transition. Very simply, this means inadequate nutritional habits (fast/junk food), physical inactivity, pollution, smoking, excess alcohol and possibly the largest and most impactful of risk factors excess ‘STRESS’, to add on to the list the sleeping habits too contribute significants and have been influenced by this transition. 


So, we’ve just understood in the most simplified way, the reasons for the epidemic of obesity.


 As mentioned earlier, now that we’re wiser in understanding the causation, except genetics (as per now) which is non-modifiable, we have a long list of changes we can do ensure weight loss for health.


What is the impact of excess weight on health or wellness!

Obesity is directly and indirectly causative/associated with 229+ health risks or complications. For impactful understanding we can divide these health risk in four categories or 4M’s


  1. Metabolic: type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, heart disease, fatty liver, PCOD etc.
  2. Mechanical: knee pain, back pain, acidity, snoring, sleep apnea etc.
  3. Mental: self-esteem, social/personal/professional performance, altered body image, anxiety, depression etc.
  4. Monitory: The sum total of expenditures on the above three culminate into this M


So, the, not so good news is that progressive weight gain increasingly predisposes to these ‘4M’ complications. But the GREAT news is that weight loss will ensure you can achieve these 229+ health benefit’s with a single health effort i.e. WEIGHT LOSS. This will put you on track for the best wellness for yourself. 


Weight Loss & Health Benefit(s)!


There is a direct and linear benefits of weight loss on the ‘4M’ health outcomes of obesity.


As we can see in the above graphic that the health benefits of weight loss appear as early as with a 2-5 % weight loss, and the wellness benefits keep increasing as the weight loss % increases. Let’s take the example of type 2 diabetes and the impact of weight loss on it. Starting from the 0-5% (i.e. the extreme left column), it only requires 3-5 % of weight loss to prevent type 2 diabetes in people at high risk. However (extreme right hand column; > 15%), those who have already developed type 2 diabetes need to lose at least 15% of their present weight for remitting diabetes (‘Diabetes Reversal’).


Hence, justifying the topic of the blog ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Now that the reasons that obesity happens, the impact of obesity on health and the benefits of weight loss on wellness are crystal clear, let's get started on our personal ‘Weight for Health’ journeys.  

Dr. Jasjeet Singh Wasir
Endocrinology & Diabetology
Meet The Doctor
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