The global epidemic of overweight and obesity is a growing concern that poses a significant risk to health. Abnormal or excessive fat accumulation, defined as overweight or obesity, is determined by a body mass index (BMI) over 25 and 30, respectively. According to the global burden of disease, more than 4 million people died as a result of being overweight or obese in 2017.
Unfortunately, rates of overweight and obesity continue to rise, especially in children and adolescents aged 5-19 years, with a more than four-fold increase globally from 4% to 18% from 1975 to 2016. Today, more people are obese than underweight in every region except sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, making obesity one side of the double burden of malnutrition.
Previously considered an issue in high-income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically increasing in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban areas. Shockingly, the majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase has been more than 30% higher than in developed countries. It’s crucial to take action now to prevent and manage overweight and obesity to avoid the negative consequences on individual health and public health systems.
According to a recent study, nearly half of the world’s population will be overweight or obese by 2035. Unfortunately, the UAE is not exempt from this alarming trend. In fact, the prevalence of obesity in the country has been steadily increasing over the years, with approximately 70% of men and 67% of women in the UAE classified as overweight or obese. This issue is not just about appearance or aesthetics, but it has far-reaching health implications that can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
The good news is that there are simple and effective measures that individuals can take to prevent and combat obesity. Here are six proactive steps that you can take to maintain a healthy weight and protect yourself from the dangers of obesity:
- Make Healthy Food Choices: Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. Avoid processed and high-calorie foods, as well as sugary drinks and snacks.
- Portion Control: Watch your portion sizes and avoid overeating. A simple trick is to use smaller plates, which can help control the amount of food you consume.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is crucial for overall health, and can also help you maintain a healthy weight. It is recommended to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day.
- Exercise Regularly: Physical activity is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and overall health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day, such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling.
- Get Enough Sleep: Lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, so it’s important to get enough restful sleep each night. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Seek Professional Help: If you are struggling with obesity or have a family history of obesity-related diseases, seek professional help from a healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on healthy lifestyle choices and offer medical interventions if necessary.
The UAE government has also taken proactive steps to address the issue of obesity, such as implementing a tax on sugary drinks and promoting physical activity through initiatives such as Dubai Fitness Challenge. These efforts can help create a supportive environment that encourages healthy lifestyle choices and helps prevent obesity.
In conclusion, obesity is a growing epidemic that has serious health implications. However, there are simple and effective measures that individuals can take to prevent and combat obesity. By making healthy lifestyle choices and seeking professional help when necessary, we can protect ourselves from the dangers of obesity and lead healthier, happier lives.