Obesity is a rapidly growing threat to the health of people worldwide, and will most likely lead to other life threatening diseases if not treated. According to the WHO Consultation (2000), Obesity has been around since the end of the Persian rule in 332 BC, but insufficient knowledge was known about the present condition. Some indicated our metabolisms obeyed the laws of thermodynamics, and others thought it was caused by the presence of too many fat cells. However, obesity is simply defined as excess body fat, specifically someone with a BMI at or above 30. Now we know this unfortunate condition can simply be identified by the patients BMI and treated by diet, exercise, and therapy. An alternative treatment called gastric bypass surgery has been made available for long term treatment, but is costly and invasive. However, as our standards of living increase, obesity will consistently pose a threat to societies around the world.
Obesity is genetic, metabolic, and physiologic. Some environmental factors play a huge rule in the condition. A report was made with over one-hundred variables “that directly or indirectly influence energy balance and body weight” (Thompson, J., & Manore, M. M., 2017, p. 374). According to Thompson and Manore, biology, physical activity environment, individual physical activity, individual psychology, societal influences, food environment, and food consumption are just a few of the variables stated and described in the report. With over one-hundred variables that influence obesity, it’s clearly a complex condition. For example, food consumption in America has an issue of oversized portions. In most restaurants both chain and non-chain, but it was found that “Meals from non-chain restaurants contained 1,205 465 kcals/meal…Ninety-two percent of meals exceeded typical energy requirements for a single eating occasion” (Urban et al., 2016). If obesity has a direct correlation with energy balance, then according to the energy balance equation, the patient must decrease energy intake and/or increase energy output. Obesity treatment is extremely challenging due to the overload of factors, and most people will become frustrated with their current state leading them to choose the worst possible solution, the fad diet.
The cabbage soup diet, lemonade diet, and the baby food diet, are just a few out of the hundreds of outrageous fad diets in our society. Fad diets can be easily spotted and avoided when taking caution. They sometimes promise a quick fix or imply their magic foods can quicken fat loss. Worst of all, they exclude important macronutrients, such as carbohydrates (“Weight Loss and Fad Diets”). Carbohydrates are the initial fuel source for your body, because they can be converted to glucose rather quickly. According to Professor Jennie Brand- Miller at the University of Sydney, “studies show that people following low carb diets do lose weight faster but they are not in a good mood, even after a year or more. So it’s a good idea not to avoid carbohydrate, but try to choose the best type.” The best type of carbohydrates refers to the rate at which they are digested; the glycemic index. “Foods with a low glycemic index such as legumes, pasta, fruit, and dairy products have been linked to greater weight loss and better weight control” (Brand-Miller, Jennie). In Europe, a study was conducted on 1,209 overweight adults from eight different countries. Over a 26-week period they were assigned to one of the diets listed: a low-protein and low glycemic index diet, a low-protein and high glycemic- index diet, a high protein and low-glycemic index diet, and a high-protein and high- glycemic index diet. This research found that the high-protein and low-glycemic index diet led to a maintenance of weight loss (Larsen, T.M. et al., 2010). In another study, “the results indicate that energy restriction is more important for induction of weight loss than macronutrient composition” (Wadden, Thomas A., Bray, George A.,2018, p. 315). Weight loss, and specifically obesity treatment is as simple as calories in and calories out. It’s important to provide obese individuals with options, and chose the one that fits their personal preferences and health needs (Wadden, Thomas A., Bray, George A.,2018, p. 315).
Possible Diseases to Arise
If a patient is unaware or unknowledgeable about being in a state of obesity, it can lead to several life threatening diseases such as: type II diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, and sleep apnea. Among the long list of diseases caused by obesity, Type II diabetes mellitus is crucial. Type II diabetes is defined as an individual who is insulin resistant, and their body ends up not controlling insulin sufficiently. The pancreas makes an excess amount of insulin to try and keep up with the added glucose being consumed, and over time the pancreas won’t be able to make enough to control glucose levels in the blood. In 1988, Dr. Richard S. Surwit from Duke University Medical Center conducted a study on diet-induced type II diabetes. The subjects consisted of two strains of mice, C57BL/6J and A/J. A sample size from each strain was given “ad libitum exposure to high-fat high-simple-carbohydrate diet or standard Purina Rodent Chow for 6 months” (Surwit, R. S., Kuhn, C. M., Cochrane, C., McCubbin, J. A., & Feinglos, M. N.). The study found “exposure to the high fat, high-simple-carbohydrate, low-fiber diet produced obesity in both A/J and C57BL/6J mice… the obese C57BL/6J mice showed clear- cut diabetes with fasting blood glucose levels of >240mg/dl” (Surwit, R. S. et al.). The data presented shows a clear connection between type II diabetes mellitus, obesity, and nutrition.
Among the several factors that contribute to obesity, socioeconomic status stands out. According to the CDC (2018), income and race was a significant connection. A pattern observed among Caucasian men and Hispanic men showed obesity was lower in the lowest and highest income groups compared with the middle income group. Among the several environmental, physiological, and genetic variables that contribute to the pandemic of obesity, nutrition and exercise are the primary treatment of obesity. Unfortunately, as the standard of living continues to increase, the presence of obesity will continue.
- Adult Obesity Facts | Overweight & Obesity | CDC. (2018, August 13). Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
- Akram, D. S., Astrup, A. V., Atinmo, T., Boissin, J. L., Bray, G. A., Carroll, D. K., . . . Reddy, D. S. (2000). Obesity. Retrieved April 20, 2019, from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=AvnqOsqv9doC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=obesity&ots=6VI58lZQbK&sig=KjPipwRTNUDO3plED7qWk1aR030#v=onepage&q=obesity&f=false
- Brand-Miller, Jennie. Good Carbs, Bad Carbs. (2013, April 2). https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57e9ebb16a4963ef7adfafdb/t/59b685f7bebafbbecaec8bb5/1505134072234/Info+Sheet+25+-+Good+carbs%2C+bad+carbs.pdf
- Larsen, T. M., Dalskov, S., Van Baak, M., Jebb, S. A., Papadaki, A., Pfeiffer, A. F., . . . Diet, Obesity, and Genes (Diogenes) Project. (2010, November 25). Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance. Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21105792
- Surwit, R. S., Kuhn, C. M., Cochrane, C., McCubbin, J. A., & Feinglos, M. N. (1988, September 01). Diet-Induced Type II Diabetes in C57BL/6J Mice. Retrieved April 20, 2019, from http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/9/1163
- Thompson, J., & Manore, M. M. (2017). Nutrition: An Applied Approach (5th ed.). New York: Pearson.
- Urban, L. E., Weber, J. L., Heyman, M. B., Schichtl, R. L., Verstraete, S., Lowery, N. S., . . . Roberts, S. B. (2016). Energy Contents of Frequently Ordered Restaurant Meals and Comparison with Human Energy Requirements and US Department of Agriculture Database Information: A Multisite Randomized Study. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(4). doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.11.009
- Wadden, T. A., & Bray, G. A. (2018). Handbook of obesity treatment, second edition (2nd ed.). Place of publication not identified: GUILFORD.
- Weight loss and fad diets. (2011, August 31). Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/weight-loss-and-fad-diets