The World Health Organization says obesity is an epidemic. Around 2/3rd adults and 1/3rd adolescents and children in the United States are obese. And 67% of Americans with obesity are seeking ways to prevent the condition. Not just in the United States, but obesity prevails worldwide, exceeding the 15% threshold that WHO defines nutritional epidemics.
Healthcare professionals use the Body Mass Index, or the measure of average body weight against average body height, to define obesity in people. As a generalization, they associate a BMI of 30 or higher with obesity.
The CDC, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends preventing obesity using the right measures to decrease the risk of health conditions like type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Here are a few for you to explore:
1. Take Weight Loss Supplement
Approximately 15% of U.S. adults report using weight loss supplements at some point, with more women, around 21% using them than men. Available in varied forms, like tablets, capsules, bars, powders, and liquids, weight loss supplements claim to work by improving carbohydrate metabolism, reducing feelings of hunger, and increasing energy or fat-burning expenses.
Although not a weight loss supplement, NMN or nicotinamide mononucleotide, combined with calorie restriction, may improve metabolic flexibility and insulin sensitivity resulting in increased weight loss. NMN, the NAD+ precursor, helps the body function, repair, and grow by providing the required energy and can also be critical in preventing obesity.
nmn benefits include reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and body weight in obese individuals by activating Sirtuin genes and increasing NAD+ levels. With Sirtuins activation and increased NAD+ levels, the human body is better protected from inflammations leading to obesity, muscle degeneration, and weight gain.
2. Dietary Changes
More calorie intake than actual use can lead to excessive fat and weight accumulation leading to obesity. Some food varieties, like processed foods containing additives, can cause additional weight gain. A balanced and healthy diet can help, but it is not just about following short-term restrictions but making sustainable modifications.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommend the following diet to prevent obesity:
- All types of vegetables
- Whole fruits
- All types of vegetables
- Proteins like beans, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and soy products
- Whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products, yogurts, or fortified soy beverages
- Vegetable oils and oils in nuts and seafood
The guidelines also recommend restricting the following:
- High saturated fat foods
- Foods and drinks containing added sugar
- Salty foods
- Alcoholic drinks
Fiber-rich foods and whole grains make the body feel full for a long time by releasing energy slowly while reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome in people with obesity.
However, obese individuals should consult a healthcare provider before making dietary changes. They must also avoid crash dieting, which may lead to new health issues, vitamin deficiencies, and challenging weight loss procedures.
3. Physical Activity: A Must
The human body burns calories while sitting or sleeping. But, for most people, the more active they are, the more calories their body burns. And some of the best ways to get active include:
- Walking briskly
- Getting off the bus or train one or two stops earlier and walking all the way.
- Using the staircase instead of the elevator
- Indulging in household chores or gardening.
The CDC recommends 60 to 90 minutes of these moderately intense activities to prevent obesity. Adolescents and children must participate in at least 1 hour of physical activity daily, including aerobic exercises to strengthen the muscles and bones.
Nevertheless, people not in the habit of exercising or those finding it difficult to remain active because of mobility issues must consult a doctor to get started.
4. Manage Stress
Stress increases the risk of obesity because of its association with high glycemic food intake and sleep deprivation. It may also harm hormone activity. For instance, cortisol, the stress hormone, can cause white adipose fat tissues to redistribute in the abdomen, thus increasing the appetite for energy-dense comfort foods.
Stress can also result in poor dietary choices, as cortisol can increase carb cravings, making it difficult to work out. Therefore, stress management is critical to prevent obesity.
Look into different stress-reducing activities, like yoga, deep breathing exercises, and meditation, to manage stress and reduce the risk of weight gain. Go for daily walks, get together with friends, listen to music, or do whatever relaxes your mind and body to reduce your stress levels.
5. Get Sufficient Sleep
Sleep facilitates overall well-being, including obesity prevention. The CDC recommends seven or more hours of quality sleep for adults above 18 years of age and more sleep for younger individuals. The recommendations for proper sleep duration every day are:
- 10 to 13 hours for children between 3 and 5 years
- 9 to 12 hours for kids aged 6 to 12
- 8 to 10 hours for adolescents between 13 and 18 years of age
- 7 hours or more for adults between 18 and 60 years of age
You can improve sleep quality by:
- Working out during the day
- Before bed, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals
- Cutting down screen time before sleep and removing distractions from the bedroom.
- Ensuring the bedroom is dark, relaxing, and quiet
- establishing a sleep routine
6. Mindful Eating
Mindful eating or paying attention to your food and having food that promotes satisfaction and awareness helps prevent obesity. It also involves avoiding distractions, like phone or TV, while eating and watching out for your fullness and hunger cues.
Moreover, mindful eating promotes weight loss and prevents overeating, as you know, when you are full and thus avoid consuming excessive calories.
So, there you have it! Following the tips above and maintaining a healthy routine will keep obesity and related diseases at bay. But always consult a doctor before planning your weight loss journey so you progress through it safely.
Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.