In spite of our cultural differences across the world, the basic contents of all human foods are the same. The differences occur because of weather conditions which make some of the fruits in Asia or Africa look different from the ones Europe or United States. The second point is that, the method of preparation of our food is culturally different. In the end, we are all eating the same fat, protein, water, carbohydrates and vitamins: after all we are human beings!
Dealing with obesity: Ideal body weight
No two individuals are completely the same. One may be short and thin, the other may be tall and fat or vice versa. Scientists and healthcare workers have been battling with the problem of ideal weight for ages. So far, we have been able to come up with a simple mathematical guide which is generally known as Body-Mass Index or BMI for short. BMI measures your body weight and height as follows:
BMI = Your Weight (in Kg)
(Your Height in Meters)2
Scientists have measured many people and found out that many “normal” people will be between a range of 18 to 24.9. Example: A woman of 80kg with a height of 1.6 meters will have a BMI of: 60/(1.6)2 The BMI comes to 21.48. Using the same formula, a man of 86kg with a height of 1.9m will have a BMI of 23.82. You can now calculate your own BMI from time to time as a guide to your ideal weight.
Centre for Disease Control says that BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for adults. However, BMI is not a diagnostic tool. However, to determine if excess weight is a health risk, a healthcare provider would need to perform further assessments. These assessments might include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, family history, and other appropriate health screenings.
Now, if your BMI falls between 18.5-24.9, your weight is ideal for your height. It did not say that you are thin, lean or fat but ideal for your specific height. Anything below 18.5, you are likely to be ill or too thin for your height. If your BMI is above 25 and up to 29.9, you are certainly overweight. If your BMI is above 30, you are obese. The problem with obesity include the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon), diabetes type 2, osteoarthritis, difficulty in breathing (sleep apnoea), stroke, and if necessary, difficult surgical operation. Here is a guide you might wish to take note of:
BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese
Please take note that the above BMI discussion is related to adult. Please visit your doctor if you are concerned about BMI in children.
How to lose weight
- You eat minimally, as little as possible
- Eat as less frequently as possible (1-2times/day)
- Exercise as much as possible
- To remain reasonably healthy, eat moderate amount of fruit, vegetables and fish with the support of multivitamins and folic acid preparations. Please note that at a 70kg weight, you need an average of 2000Calories of energy per day for a woman and a man needs about 2400Calories to keep going. Depending on your size and energy requirements, you may need more or less calories. Your doctor can help with the calculations or consult a nutritionist/dietician.
Monitoring: (1). Check your weight weekly using weighing scale (you could get a cheap one in your local store); (2). Determine your BMI weekly. Keep a diary; (3). Have a target of ideal weight you want to reach. Aim at that figure.
Medical intervention: There are medications that may help you lose weight. For ethical reasons, we will not be prescribing any here. You may need to see your doctor for this.
Dietician/Nutritionist: These professionals may work with your medical or surgical team to help bring your weight down by recommending the appropriate food contents and amount that is suitable for you. They may in fact be your first point of call in the pyramid of weight loss project.
Surgical intervention: If the self-help method fails, then you might need the help of surgeons. Likely operations are gastric banding in which the size of your stomach is reduced to a minimum. Other form of surgery may be the removal of the area of your gut that absorbs food. The whole idea is to limit the amount of food that gets into you
Psychological intervention: Before you begin excessive weight loss or if the above methods do not work for you, you may need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist to assess your view on body image. Remember that weight loss is a matter of determination and sometimes there may be a distortion in the way a person sees herself or himself. DOCTOR~CARE.