Hello darling readers, it’s been such a loooooooong while! I have just been carried away with the stress of serving my father’s land (NYSC) and now I’m settled, thank God!
Some readers ‘fessed up to missing my posts and how I’m depriving them of quality health education (pops collar here)… I am sincerely sorry for the long hiatus. Please accept my warm apologies!
During the course of writing this post, I tried so hard not to be biased, but since I’m a female, my fellow species may realize they are being hit harder with this topic. Please accept my apologies in advance. 😉
Today’s topic is on Obesity. Like, Super ‘fatness’. They say being fat is in the eyes of the beholder, but we health promoters would disagree with that. Obesity is now so celebrated in our society; even so a song (‘Orobo’ by Sound Sultan) was churned to celebrate fat women. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to celebrate yourself, regardless of size, but when one’s features are likened to ‘korodom‘ and ‘molue‘ [she come dey do her waist
like korodom (a VERY huge water container) or ‘her front (bosom) be like molue’ (a high-capacity bus)], that should be a cause to rethink and for a paradigm shift.
Obesity, plainly, is excess body fat. The consequences of obesity depend not only on the absolute amount of fat in the body, but also in the distribution. This means that the more the fat is distributed in a body region, the higher the likelihood of a clinical complication. For example, a person with high fat distribution around the heart has a higher chance of suffering from a heart disease. Since one can’t really know FOR SURE how fat is distributed among vital organs, and all we can see are chubby faces, well rounded hips, bosoms and backsides, our best bet is to avoid obesity as much as we can.
They are sexy and they know it!
What makes us obese? We have come up with a plethora of reasons, but one stands tall: ‘it runs in my family’. Like really. But it can be true, as almost all cases of obesity result from genetic predisposition. The chances of inheriting BMI (BODY MASS INDEX) from parents or relatives are about 66%. Genetic factors also regulate how we expend energy and how body fat is distributed, especially abdominal fat. That is why curvy ladies, more often than not, have curvy mothers.
I’m sure this is a perfect excuse for some of us, to blame it on the parents. Some of us are obese and have skinny parents, and instead of taking responsibility, we blame our paternal ancestors, or maternal great grandmother’s aunt’s uncle’s son whom nobody ever saw to recall if they were skinny or fat. I mean, apart from the genetic factors, it takes you and you alone to determine your weight, unless you are a child and mummy keeps stuffing fried fish and donuts into your mouth and can do nothing to stop her.
Environmental and social factors also play a huge role in being obese. Weight is gained when caloric intake exceeds energy needs. It isn’t rocket science that high-fat foods, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, soft drinks and alcohol promote weight gain. Some of us eat because our friends are eating, even when we’re not hungry. Some blame the binge eating on heartbreaks, while some eat so much because they are just plain gluttons. Gluttony, by the way, is one of the seven deadly sins.
I said earlier that this topic might hit on the females more, and this is why. Some of us are so greedy, that although I’m a female, I get ashamed sometimes. Back then in school when a dude takes a girl out to a restaurant or canteen, she wants to eat EVERYTHING, and this is no joke. Sometime last week I went to a ‘bukka‘ (local canteen) to eat ‘amala‘. This lady came in with a man who was obviously a ‘toaster‘ and after modestly ordering the main dish; she went all out in ordering the proteins. I heard her order ‘kpomo meta, ogunfe marun, eran gidi merin’ (Yoruba for three cowhide pieces, five pieces of goat meat, four pieces of fried beef) and a host of other animal organs I couldn’t make out. I made sure I waited just to see how it would end, and to my amazement, she finished them all, washing them down with a 50cl bottle of chilled coke. Balanced diet, innit?
A plate of ‘amala‘ and ‘ewedu‘ soup
What about the ones who feel that being spoiled by a man is forcing them into supermarkets and chartering all the tastefully made biscuits, chocolates, and juices? Nobody is saying they are so bad but in excess? The other day I was at a popular supermarket and a supposed couple passed by. I was picking up Haribos and the lady came back to me and asked ‘sister please is this thing nice?’(the haribos) and I answered in the affirmative. She then goes on to whisper, ‘shebi he (her partner) say he get money, I go chop am well for am‘ and she added 20 packets of Haribos into her ‘almost-filled-with-junkfood‘ trolley, something she had never even tasted. What shall we then say to these things?
Some guys keep on saying ‘I want a girl with flat tummy’. What about you? With a body like Rick Ross or Faizon Love, you want a Halle Berry or Khaleesi Daenarys Stormborn type of girl. Just because you are men and as such have a higher metabolism rate than women is no excuse for eating as if food is going extinct at that moment. What about alcohol? I don’t understand why some guys feel the need to outdo themselves in drinking themselves to stupor, acquiring pot bellies at such young ages.
Several factors exist that can be responsible for obesity.
Regulatory factors include Pre-natal maternal obesity and insufficient sleep. About 15% of women permanently gain 20 pounds or more with each pregnancy. Rarely, obesity can be caused by brain damage and severe hormonal imbalance.
Drugs such as corticosteroids, antipsychotic drugs, benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium) and traditional antidepressants often cause weight gain. Some of you may have been asked to use some of these drugs, especially corticosteroids, to aid in weight gain. Males who want to look like Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) but don’t want to keep a strict fitness regime also use corticosteroids to boost muscle strength. It is a very unhealthy practice.
Pathologic eating disorders may be associated with obesity. These include
- Binge eating disorders, where a person consumes large amounts of food quickly, with a subjective loss of control over the food, and feeling bad afterwards. About 1 to 3% of both sexes suffer from this disorder. Obesity is usually severe.
Night-eating syndrome, which consists of morning anorexia, evening hyperphagia (increased apetite), and insomnia. This means a person isn’t hungry in the morning, but is always so ravenous at night. This person consumes 25 to 50% of his/her daily food intake after evening meal.
The complications of obesity are as enormous as the condition. They include:
- Reproductive system disorders (male and female): Overweight women have a harder time getting pregnant, studies show that over 90% of obese women develop polycystic ovarian disease, a condition associated with infertility, plus many fertility clinics don’t accept female patients who are obese given their diminished chances of conceiving. A journal of the American Medical Association study found that obesity increases a woman’s chance of having a preterm baby. All these are likely to put strains on a woman’s relationship and self-esteem.
- Metabolic syndrome: These include Diabetes mellitus.
- Cardiovascular disease such as hypertension and heart failure.
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease a.k.a ‘ulcers’.
- Less sleep and sleep apnea: Sleep and excess weight are not good bedfellows. Poor sleep also contributes to a host of diseases including diabetes, heart diseases, and ironically, obesity itself. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person gasps or stops breathing momentarily while asleep, causing the heart to overwork since less oxygen is getting into the bloodstream. That is why most fat people snore very terribly.
- Many cancers
Social and psychologic problems: Obese people are often the butt of jokes. It’s quite hard to be attracted to an obese person. A Yale study found that weight is the number one reason people are bullied at any age. Bullied people have lower self-esteem, higher levels of depression and increased risk of suicide. A University of Florida study showed that slimmer females earned more money annually than obese women. Reasons are quite obvious as employers are unlikely to employ an obese person over a fit one, even if they are both qualified.
It’s very safe to say that being obese is dangerous, and we must make conscious efforts to avoid it. Calculating one’s BMI gives an estimated idea of how fit one is, or isn’t. it is calculated (for adults) as weight in kg divided by the square of the height in metres. A BMI of 25 to 29.9kg/m₂ indicates overweight, above 30kg/m₂ indicates obesity. BMI has limitations in that it is race and gender specific, and its use is limited in children and the elderly; that’s why I said it gives an estimated idea.
Hope isn’t lost as we can prevent or manage obesity by eating right. You must not eat everything served at that wedding or birthday party. Say no to that extra chunk of cake or glass of alcohol that you absolutely have no stomach space for.
See no evil cake, smell no evil cake, taste no evil cake…
Proper exercise plays an important role in keeping us away from obesity, and increases confidence. In addition, keeping a right and positive attitude helps a lot as keeping fit is not easy. Stay away from people with negative energy, especially regarding your weight, including friends and family. Studies also show that about 40 to 75% of overweight patients who are victims of bullying were being bullied by family and friends. Let us learn to encourage others in their quest to be fit. Derogatory statements like ‘who is this one deceiving, after jogging I bet you would eat shawarma‘ are not cool.
Avoid obesity; belong to the #fitfam today!
Until my next post, God bless us all. J