Obesity is a civilization disease. Severe overweight – obesity – causes various secondary diseases in the long run and shortens life expectancy. It is worth taking countermeasures in good time.
Almost every second woman in Germany (49 percent) classified researchers at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin in 2013 as overweight; for men, it is even around 64 percent. These numbers have hardly changed in recent years. However, the tendency to become very overweight, i.e. obesity (obesity), is increasing. Especially in men. And according to a recent study, men, in particular, tend to underestimate their weight.
It is alarming that young adults, in particular, are becoming fatter: every third of young people is overweight, and at least five percent of children and young people are even obese.
Causes are manifold
Being overweight can have many reasons. Often several are linked, such as a hormonal disorder or genetic factors. Psychological factors also have an influence – such as loneliness, defeats, the loss of a partner or job, or in the course of serious depression. Food can then play the role of soul comforter. You “sweeten” all the unpleasant things of everyday life or “eat them up”, the worries.
Diet and exercise play an important role
Ultimately, the main cause of obesity is often the unfavorable combination of unhealthy eating habits and a lack of exercise: How much faster is a ready meal heated up than a mountain of vegetables peeled and cooked. Cookie bars and delicious baked goods are waiting everywhere. They provide a lot of energy but few nutrients – which is why the body soon reports hunger again. This is how fat cells grow. And they stay. Because of lack of time or convenience, we drive cars instead of bicycles, take the elevator instead of the stairs and sit far too much.
An indicator of obesity is the Body Mass Index (BMI). From a BMI of 25, one speaks of slight obesity, the so-called pre-obesity. A BMI of 30 is obese. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight by the square of your height in meters. So if a woman is 1.69 meters tall and weighs 85 kilos, then her BMI is 85 / (1.69 x 1.69) = 29.8. This means: Your BMI is on the border of obesity, obesity.
Waist circumference is the key indicator
However, if the woman in the example were a bodybuilder, then many kilos would certainly be in her muscles and not as fat on her hips. Therefore, the additional measurement of abdominal circumference and hip circumference is important for a solid diagnosis.
To determine the “waist-to-hip ratio”, the abdominal circumference – measured four centimeters above the iliac crest – is divided by the hip circumference. In sports medicine, one speaks of normal weight when the result is below 0.8 for women and below 0.9 for men. The waist circumference alone is already an indicator: for women, it is considered too high from 80 centimeters, and for men from 94 centimeters.
Obesity in children
There is a simple rule of thumb for school children up to puberty: the upper limit for normal weight is the height of the child in centimeters minus 100. For example, an eight-year-old who measures 1.28 meters and weighs 32 kilos is clearly overweight.
Diagnosis and follow-up examinations by the doctor
If your body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, or waist-to-hip ratio indicate you are overweight, you should make an appointment with your family doctor or an experienced nutritionist. He takes a comprehensive medical history and examines you
- whether there is already a metabolic syndrome or other possible secondary diseases (e.g. arthrosis)
- blood, urine, thyroid
- eating habits.
In addition, the doctor draws up a family, psychological and social anamnesis as well as an anamnesis of addiction, i.e. he asks about any private or professional problems. This is the only way to really narrow down the causes.
Conservative therapy: change in diet
Together with a nutritionist, those affected by obesity develop a concept for a so-called conservative therapy – health insurance companies support this. This means: The eating behavior is analyzed, nutritional errors are filtered out and an individual diet plan is created. A plan that takes personal preferences into account as much as possible.