What is obesity?

The term obesity indicates severe overweight associated with excess fat in the body. We can speak of obesity when the body mass index (BMI = weight / height squared) is above 30. Being obese is considered by the world health authorities as a serious medical disorder and, for a BMI above 40, we speak even morbid obesity.

The causes of obesity

According to experts, obesity does not have a single cause but it originates from several factors, often associated with:

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  • a genetic predisposition: Recent studies have shown that some genes can modify appetite, the accumulation and use of fats.
  • un incorrect eating behavior: excessive consumption of food, the abuse of fats, sugars and salt, eating between meals and lack of physical activity are the most common causes of obesity.
  • psychological problems: anxiety, depression, stress or a psychological trauma can generate a compensatory mechanism that leads to ingesting large quantities of food.

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The consequences of obesity

  • Health problems: obesity drastically lowers life expectancy, especially if overweight is significant and occurs at a young age, increases the risk of cardio-vascular and cerebral accidents and causes respiratory failure which increases the risks during surgery under anesthesia and predisposes to sleep apnea. It also increases the frequency of gallstones, worsens osteoarthritis of the knees and hips and it seems that it even increases the risk of cancer.
  • Psychological suffering: Obese people are often left on the sidelines of a society that promotes thinness as a synonym for beauty and can easily fall into depression and isolation. In some cases obesity can become a real one handicap which prevents you from moving safely, taking public transport, going shopping.

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How to heal?

Although there is no miracle solution yet, there are several ways to combat this disease. The first step consists in resorting to the various professionals in the sector (family doctor, nutritionist, dietician, endocrinologist) who will be able to recommend one or more treatments, including:

  • a suitable diet: it is essential to restore the food balance (fewer calories, fats and sugars and more fruit, vegetables and starchy foods). If necessary, the patient will be provided with personalized recipes.
  • physical activity: to begin with, cycling, swimming or brisk walking is generally proposed.
  • a behavioral therapy: to understand and change one's relationship with food, it is often essential to have recourse to a psychologist or an analyst.
  • drugs: a treatment that reduces appetite or fat absorption may be considered, but it must be associated with a suitable diet and exercise program. Most of these types of drugs are only authorized for temporary use, from a few months to a year, and are reserved for the life threatening obese.
  • gastric surgery: ethere are several techniques to reduce the volume of the stomach and limit the amount of food ingested: gastric band, gastroplasty, gastric bypass. Prescribed by a doctor, these interventions are intended for adults who suffer from morbid obesity or who have a BMI over 35 and have complications, but they are difficult to bear because they involve vomiting, depression or appetite disorders.
  • a spa treatment: some spas offer specific treatments for obese people, recognized by the National Health Service.

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