Obesity is a medical condition that happens when a person carries excess weight that might affect their health.  Body mass index (BMI) is a tool that doctors use to see if a person has the appropriate weight for their age, height and sex.  A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 indicates that a person is carrying excess weight.  Obesity is diagnosed when your BMI is 30 or higher.  Obesity can increase the risk of developing a number of health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. Obesity results from a combination of contributing factors and causes.  These can include:

Leading a sedentary lifestyle:  A lot of people lead a much more sedentary lifestyle than their grandparents and parents did.  A sedentary lifestyle involves little or no physical activity at all.  People that live sedentary lifestyles are often lying down or sitting down while watching TV, spend most of the day using cell phones or being on their computers and choose to take the elevator instead of using the stairs. 

Not getting enough sleep:  Missing out on some sleep can increase the risks of gaining weight and developing obesity.  Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity because it can lead to hormonal changes that increase one’s appetite.  Lack of sleep also results in a lower production of leptin, a hormone that supresses the appetite.

Eating a lot of processed food:  People gain weight mostly because they are constantly eating processed foods.  Eating food that does not provide you with the nutrition that you need has a negative effect on your body.  Examples of processed foods include cakes, muffins and biscuits, pastries and pasta.

Genetics:    Genes can contribute to obesity; however, they don’t predict future health as both genes and behaviour are needed for a person to become overweight.  Multiple genes may increase a person’s susceptibility for obesity along with other outside factors.  Obesity risk is higher for a person with a family history as opposed to a person with no family history of obesity.

Consuming too many calories:  When people consume more calories than they use as energy, their bodies store the extra calories as fat which can cause obesity and excess weight.  Food that tends to increase the risks of weight gain include: 

  • Processed meats
  • Fast food
  • Foods with added sugar such as baked goods
  • Sugary sodas, alcoholic drinks and juices
  • Fried food
  • Dairy products
  • Canned and packaged food items
  • Processed, high-carb foods. ₁

With some efforts to eat right and exercise as well as self-determination, you can help prevent yourself from being obese says Gert Coetzee, Pharmacist and Diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About.  Below he lists some hints and tips that can help decrease the risks of obesity.

  • Consume foods that are high in fiber: Food that is high in fiber helps you feel full throughout the day which results in less calorie intake.  Fiber slows down digestion, meaning that it will keep your blood glucose levels stable for an extended period of time.  Examples of foods high in fiber include:
  • Fruits (oranges, apples, raspberries and strawberries)
  • Vegetables (dark, green leafy ones are the best options)
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Start exercising: Being physically active is one of the best ways to reduce obesity.  Home exercises or going to the gym are great for the body and mind.  Develop a consistent exercising programme that works for you.
  • Stay away from take-aways: Nothing beats a home cooked meal.  Eating home-made meals will limit you from consuming junk food which is normally full of fats and carbs.  You also become more aware of what you eat which helps you make wiser and healthier food choices.
  • Stay hydrated: It is recommended to drink eight glasses a day.  Water is known as a great detoxifying agent, so it will help flush out all the toxins that might contribute to weight gain.  Green tea is also good to consume as it is known to be an effective remedy for weight loss.  Drinking green tea at least once a day is also good as it is an effective remedy for weight loss and is known to contain important nutrients for the body.
  • Pick your fats wisely: Picking the right types of fats to consume is one of the most important factors in reducing the risks of obesity.  Unsaturated fats are the best to go with.  These include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risks of obesity.  The best oils to include in your diet are:
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil