How we evaluate overweight and obesity - Nutrition

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Obesity

How we evaluate overweight and obesity Not all fat is the same Weight in the world: some data on the spread of obesity worldwide Risks of weight Causes of obesity Prevention of obesity Treatment of obesity Changing lifestyles Drug therapy The surgical therapy
  • How overweight and obesity are assessed
  • Not all fat is created equal
  • The weight in the world: some data on the spread of obesity worldwide
  • Weight risks
  • Causes of obesity
  • Obesity prevention
  • Obesity treatment
  • Change lifestyles
  • Pharmacological therapy
  • Surgical therapy

How overweight and obesity are assessed

Terms such as obesity, overweight and underweight appear more and more frequently in the media and there is no day when a message about weight problems is not addressed to the general public by television, magazines or newspapers. Whether it is an alarm for the global spread of obesity or the discovery of a gene involved in the onset of this disease, a possible remedy or a miraculous diet, it makes no difference; the weight issue is among the most accepted by the population.

Awareness of the public on these topics is important, but it often happens that the recipients of these messages are not reached because the perception of normal weight and obesity is extremely subjective and not infrequently some perceive themselves only of a robust constitution when they instead present already the pathology. What makes television and print messages sometimes inadequate is above all the fact that the images that accompany them usually represent "large obese" subjects, with volumes more similar to the characters of Botero's works, than to those of reality. So it happens that people who are already obese do not realize they are and indeed, given the message, they feel relieved not identifying themselves with the problem.

The characterization of the weight according to the different categories of underweight, normal, overweight and obese is instead very precise and can be calculated with a simple formula; this is the so-called body mass index or body mass index (BMI), now considered the best parameter for the evaluation of body weight as it has a high correlation with the presence of body fat, determined by reference methods.

This means that the higher the BMI, the higher the percentage of fat on the total weight. The importance of BMI lies above all in the fact that with the growth of the body mass index corresponds an increase in the risk of developing pathologies such as diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and stroke, but above all in the risk of mortality.

Although BMI is a very reliable parameter in establishing excess or defect in weight in most subjects, it is not a perfect formula; in particular circumstances it may in fact overestimate or underestimate the presence of fat.

For example, a bodybuilder or athlete who practices power sports such as weight jet, rugby, American football, may have a weight and therefore a high BMI due to the considerable development of the musculature, despite not having an excess of fat. On the contrary, an elderly person may not weigh sufficiently to enter the obesity belt, but may still have an excess of the fat component due to a lack of muscle component.

Therefore, the interpretation of the BMI cannot be separated from a clinical evaluation of the subject, as it does not provide information relating to body composition; in particular it should be associated with the measurement of the abdominal circumference and the evaluation of comorbidity and familiarity.

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