Obesity: A National Burden

Obesity has become a global issue these days leading to a lot of comorbidities. Almost 2.8 million people die every year for being overweight or obese as per a WHO survey. Obesity is measured by measuring one’s Body Mass Index (BMI). Body mass index is a simple calculation using a person’s height and weight. The formula is BMI = kg/m2 where kg is a person’s weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in meters squared. Healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9. Above 25 is overweight and above 30 enters the obesity range

BMI

Contributing factors include genetic inheritance, diet and lifestyle. In a survey done recently almost 12% of UAE population was found to be obese. Obese people are 85% more prone to develop type 2 diabetes mellitus and when we compare the UAE population with the rest of the world, the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly. A lot has been talked about obesity, but very little awareness is being noticed amongst the population. Being obese is like abusing one’s own body and health.

Obese females have a higher risk of developing polycystic ovarian disease which leads to infertility. Obesity is associated with diabetes, hypertension which is considered to be lifelong diseases and also has high association with chronic arthritis secondary to which almost 40-50% of the people end up requiring joint replacement surgeries. Unhealthy food as well as eating out is one of the major factors contributing to obesity which has been observed recently. Sedentary lifestyle is not far behind as a contributor

Weight loss is essential to prevent the complications related to these dangerous yet common conditions including diabetes and hypertension.obesity Hence regular exercises and dietary modification play a key role. But as the incidence of obesity is increasing day by day, simply sticking to these conservative management plans fail to control the problem in the long run. Here the role of weight loss through bariatric surgery comes into play.

As laparoscopy has developed, surgeries for obesity have also not lagged behind. Multiple procedures to cure obesity have been introduced, the commonest performed being sleeve gastrectomy where a part of stomach is removed leaving the patient with a new smaller stomach which leads to reduced capacity for food intake and thereby sustained weight loss. It is as safe as any other procedure in today’s world of medical advancement.

Making population free of obesity itself reduces the burden on the healthcare system. We all should come forward and promote NO OBESITY to make UAE a healthier nation.