Obesity is a condition in which excessive accumulation of fat takes place in the body due to intake of food in excess of physiological requirements. It is the most common nutritional disorder especially in the affluent group of people. But it is now getting fairly common in not-so affluent people also.
An excess of 50 calories per day can increase about 25 Kilograms (Kgs) in a period of ten years.
Weight bears the relationship with age, sex and bone structure. Obesity or over-weight has been classified into three types as follows, depending upon the excess in normal weight.
Mildly obese: 10-15%
Moderately obese: 10-20%
Very obese: 20% and above.
Causes Of Obesity:
Obesity is generally caused by two factors:
Bad eating habits are also the factors contributing to obesity. Obesity is rarely seen amongst active persons and it is more common in those with sedentary habits. Obesity can occur both in male and female at any age.
When food energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, fat cells (and also to some extent muscle and liver cells) throughout the body take in the energy and store it as fat. So when the energy consumption exceeds the requirement, it causes obesity.
Additional Factors Causing Obesity:
Obesity runs in families as generally families eat similar foods, have similar lifestyle habits and thinking patterns, such as that children should eat more to become big and healthy.
Certain illnesses like thyroid gland problems or genetic diseases run in families.
Some eating disorders like Binge eating disorder affect a person’s diet as he eats more and repeatedly often in binges. These people generally lack the developed eating patterns learned in childhood.
It is also to be remembered that obesity is not the result of momentary overeating. It is a long term phenomenon because people tend to overeat over long periods of time.
Emotions can fuel obesity, as people tend to eat more when they are upset, anxious, sad, stressed or even bored. Afterwards they feel bad about eating more, and later to relieve this stress, they may eat even more.
Sedentary lifestyle is another important factor as people tend to eat more when they are doing nothing and just sitting idly watching TV or video games. Cars dominate our life and we seldom walk or exercise. There is less time to cook healthy food and we often tend to eat fast foods.
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often push children on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression. One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the diet and exercise habits of your entire family.
Types Of Obesity:
The fat distribution in the body is identified among the two types of obesity android & gynoid.
Android: - Android type of obesity is likened to the shape of an apple. The shoulders, face, arms, neck, chest & upper portion of the abdomen are bloated. The stomach gives a stiff appearance, as well as the arms, shoulders and breasts. The back seems to be erect but the neck is compressed and there will be a protruding chest because of the bulk in the stomach. The lower portion of the body -- the hips, thighs and legs are thinner beyond proportion in comparison with the upper part. In these persons the vital organs affected will be mostly the heart, liver, kidneys & lungs. Though this type of obesity is found more in males it is common in females too. Those females, who are under hormone treatment for their menstrual abnormalities or after childbirth, are more prone to this type of obesity. It occurs in females around menopause too due to thyroid gland's functional disturbance. In this type, the excess flesh is less likely to reduce especially in female than males. Android type of obesity is a major risk for heart damage and heart disease due to high cholesterol.
Gynoid: - In this type the lower part of the body has the extra flesh. This type of obesity is also common to both sexes though females are more affected. Gynoid type of obesity is similar to pears. The flesh is somewhat flabby in the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and legs. The face and neck mostly give a normal appearance. In some persons, the cheeks may be drawn too. As these persons grow old the whole figure assumes a stooping posture and the spine is never erect due to the heavy hips and thighs. This vital organs affected mostly are the kidneys, uterus, intestines, bladder & bowels. But the functions of these organs some times have a direct effect on the heart. In this type of obesity, exercises or dieting will not help appreciably in reducing weight.
The third type: - Besides android and gynoid, there is one more type of obesity. Some people do not belong to any of the above type of obesity. Their whole body from head to toe looks like a barrel. Their gait is more to rolling rather than walking. The fat tissues in their body hinder the movement of all the internal organs and consequently affect their brisk functioning. For them any exercise is difficult due to the enormous size of the body. So such person should follow a strict diet and do plenty of exercise.
Health Problems Associated With Obesity:
Obesity increases the risk of developing disease. Obese people are more than twice as likely to develop hypertension. The risk of medical complications, particularly heart disease, increases when body fat is distributed around the waist, especially in the abdomen. This type of upper body fat distribution is more common in men then women.
Obese women are at nearly twice the risk for developing breast cancer, and all obese people have a 42 percent higher chance of developing colorectal cancer.
Almost 80 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus, also known as non-insulin -dependent diabetes mellitus, are obese.
Obese people also experience social and psychological problems. Stereotypes about “fat” people often translate into discriminatory practices in education, employment, and social relationships. The consequences of being obese in a world preoccupied with being thin are especially severe for women, whose appearances are often judged against an ideal of exaggerated slenderness.
The presence of risk factors and diseases associated with obesity are also used to establish a clinical diagnosis .Coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and sleep apnea , are possible life-threatening risk factors that would indicate clinical treatment of obesity. Smoking, hypertension, age and family history are other risk factors that may indicate treatment. Diabetes and heart disease are risk factors used in epidemiological studies of obesity.
Obesity is bad news for both body and mind. Not only does it make a person feel tired and uncomfortable, it can wear down joints and put extra stress on other parts of the body. When a person is carrying extra weight, it's harder to keep up with friends, play sports, or just walk between classes at school. It is also associated with breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea and problems with hips and knee joints that may require surgery.
In addition to other potential problems, people who are obese are more likely to be depressed. That can start a vicious cycle: When people are overweight, they may feel sad or even angry and eat to make themselves feel better. Then they feel worse for eating again. And when someone feels depressed, the person is less likely to go out and exercise.
Adverse Effects Of Obesity:
BMI = Weight in Kilograms / Square of height in meters.
So BMI = Kg / square ms.
or BMI = Weight (lbs) * 703 / height (inches)2
BMI is indexed as follows for reference:
BMI < 18.5 = Underweight
BMI 18.5 – 24.9 = Normal weight
BMI 25 – 29.9 = Overweight
BMI 30 – 39.9 = Obese
BMI > 40 = Severely obese
Overweight is defined as body mass index (BMI) of more than 25 kg/m2
Obesity is defined as
1. body fat % is 25 or higher
2. BMI is 30-34.9 Kg/m2 (class 1 obesity); 35-39.9 (class II), 40+ (class III)
With day to day advancements and better understanding, it has become clear that visceral fat or central obesity (male type or apple type obesity) has a stronger relation with cardio-vascular diseases. BMI does not take into account the adipose and lean ratios.
The absolute waist circumference ( > 102 cm in men and > 88 in women) or waist – hip ratio (>0.9 for men and >0.85 for women) are a measure of central obesity.
How To Reduce The Weight (Obesity):
It is estimated that an active person will burn about 12-13 calories a day per pound of body weight. Therefore, a person having weight 140 pounds will need roughly 1700-1800 calories a day to maintain that weight, and less to reduce it. This can be used as a guideline for planning weight loss programme, by reducing calorie intake.
It is already stated that obesity is caused by intake of excess calorie and furthermore the lack of physical work or exercise is also one of the contributory factors. Thus, reducing weight means one has to reduce calorie intake by reducing his high-calorie diet. It may therefore be suggested to an obese adult to stick to his daily diet providing 1300 KiloCalorie (Kcal) which may help in reducing about 0.5 – 1 Kg a week.
How Can You Avoid Becoming Overweight?:
A balanced diet contains an adequate amounts of Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals. Once the body weight comes to the standard level according to the height, the weight maintenance diets (adequate in Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals) should be taken to keep weight constant i. e. between 1700-1800 kcal. Therefore, daily diet should contain balanced amount of cereals, pulses, green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, roots, fruits, milk, fats and oils, sugar and jaggery, and groundnut.
Homeopathy Treatment & Homeopathic Remedies:
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. This means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptability) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The medicines given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition.
None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice.
1. Ammonium Carb.
Fat patients with weak heart. For women who are tired and weary and take cold easily and lead a sedentary life. Dry coryza and stoppage of the nose, chiefly at night, with danger of suffocation. With long continued coryza, can only breathe through the mouth. Women with premature and too copious menses, with emission of black and acrid blood. Sadness, with disposition to weep. Timidity of character. Disgust with life. Heedlessness. Great absence of mind and weakness of memory. Vertigo, on reading in a sitting posture. Chilly patient with great sensitiveness to cold open air, < in wet, stormy weather ; from washing ; > by warmth.
2. Ammonium Mur.
In case the body is fat and legs are thin. With large buttocks. Full of grief, but cannot weep. Irritability and disposition to be angry. Very severe ulcerative pain in the heel, > by rubbing. The feet get very cold in the evening in bed.
3. Antimonium Crudum.
Children and young person with tendency to grow fat with coated moist white tongue. The subject needing this remedy may belch a great deal, and the eructations may taste of the ingesta. Bloating after eating. < By heat is a marked characteristic. The symptoms are < in the heat of the Sun. Nails discoloured and deformed. Corns and callous excrescences on the feet. Alternate diarrhœa and constipation especially in aged persons.
4. Aurum Metallicum.
Fat patients with Arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure. With fatty degeneration of heart. Patients with melancholy, hopelessness, profound depression, tendency to suicide and longing for death. Pain in heart region extending down left arm to fingers. Chilliness predominates ; coldness of hands and feet, sometimes lasting all night.
5. Calcarea Carbonica.
This is the main remedy for reducing obesity. The characteristic symptom is sweating on the forehead which wets the pillow when sleeping. It should be given in 200 potency with weekly repetition. This can be prescribed to obese children also. The patient’s hand is soft, warm, and moist ; a boneless hand with clammy feet. Great sensitiveness to cold, damp air. Dread of bathing and water. Great weakness on ascending, on walking and talking.
6. Calotropis Gigantea.
This medicine is helpful in reducing the obesity without decreasing the weight i. e. flesh will be decreased, the muscles will become harder and firmer. Heat in stomach is a good guiding symptom.
It is particularly suited to people who are weak of lax fiber and who have little vital heat. The digestion is poor and they suffer from myalgia (aching and jerking of muscles). They have burning pains but hate the cold. Often indicated in old people who have exhausted their vitality. This remedy is very suitable for children also. The mental state shows home-sickness. > From heat is the most important modality.
Its chief fame has been gained by its action on the liver, and in the treatment of obesity and diabetes. Sensitiveness to cold air ; great liability to take cold. Sweats more easily. > In open air ; on motion. The breath smells offensive, the tongue is white and feels furry. The patient is self-satisfied, very talkative and uncommonly good-humoured. Discouraged and anxious about domestic duties. Absent-minded; heedless; forgets names.
One of the great fat reducers. May be alternated with Phytoline. Both remedies should be used in mother tincture.
10. Ferrum Metallicum.
Obesity with anæmia, face puffy with pitting of flesh. This remedy is recommended to children also. Delicate girls, fearfully constipated, with low spirits. The pulse of the patient is full and yielding. < From eating eggs. This remedy should be given carefully in hæmorrhagic phthisis, as it may aggravate. Rheumatic symptoms, especially of left shoulder and deltoid.
< In cold weather, and > in warm air. Great lassitude and general weakness. Great need to lie down.
11. Fucus Vesiculosus.
It is given when Calcarea Carbonica fails. It should be given in drop doses of mother tincture. It is very effective in cases of indigestion, obstinate constipation and flatulence. It is suitable to people with enlarged thyroid glands. Goitre has been cured with it.
Obesity in females with delayed menstruation. Indicated for fair, fat, chilly, constipated people who have skin trouble. Helpful to those who have lost desire for sex.
13. Kali Bichromicum.
It is especially suited to fair-haired, fat persons, especially fat, chubby children ; fat, sluggish people. Gastric symptoms supersede rheumatic symptoms. Liability to take cold in the open air. Great debility, with desire to lie down.
14. Kali Carbonicum.
This remedy is especially good for older fat people who are characterized by sweat, backache and weakness. This remedy should be used cautiously in Nephritis (Bright’s disease) and Tuberculosis. This remedy is for dark haired persons of lax fibre and inclined to be fat.
15. Phytolacca Berry.
One of the effective weight and corpulence reducing remedies.
This remedy is a great fat reducer. It is recommended if the patient is having difficulty in walking, sitting, palpitation, dyspnea on least exertion, nausea, eructations. It is used in mother tincture.
In excessive obesity, it acts better in pale patients rather than those of high colour. This remedy is a powerful diuretic and is very useful in myx-odema and various types of edema.