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The third annual World Obesity Day reveals that obesity numbers in children and adolescents have been multiplied by 10 since 1975.
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Corresponding to a severe form of excess weight, obesity designates an excessive accumulation of fatty tissue in the organism. Characterized by different stages, this pathology is determined by the calculation of the BMI – Body Mass Index. In fact, a person passes the obesity limit when their BMI is superior to 30, as detailed here:
Moderate obesity – BMI of 30 to 35
Severe obesity – BMI of 35 to 40
Morbid obesity – BMI of 40 or more
It is important to note that there are different forms of obesity. Android obesity is characterized by an excess of body fat mass stockage in the superior part of the body. Gynoid obesity is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the inferior part of the body. General obesity is distinguished by the stockage of fat in both superior and inferior parts of the body.
Many causes can be at the origin of obesity. This pathology results generally from poor food habits, notably an excess consumption of sugar, fat, salt or excessive snacking. Combined with an imbalanced diet, a sedentary lifestyle also favours obesity. Certain genetic predispositions can also increase the risk of excess fat accumulation in the organism. Several genetic mutations and genes are associated to this risk. In certain people, obesity is caused by psychological problems, like depression, hyperphagia, or bulimia.
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An elevated BMI increases the chances of developing diverse chronic illnesses. Excessive abdominal fat supports plaque formation on arterial walls, thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Obesity also promotes a hypersecretion of sugar from the liver, leading to hyperglycaemia, multiplying the risk of developing diabetes. To some degree, obesity can cause respiratory failure, gallstones, hip and knee arthritis, and increase certain cancer risks (breast and colon).
In cases of moderate obesity, treatment consists of adopting certain habits, like a balanced diet and physical activity. In cases of severe or morbid obesity, radical treatments are recommended, such as medicines reducing appetite or limiting fat absorption in the intestines. These treatments must be associated with a balanced diet and an exercise program.
In certain cases, bariatric surgery (Gastric band, gastric bypass, gastrectomy, gastric balloon) is proposed.
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