What Is Obesity And Why Are We In An Obesity Epidemic In Australia?
Obesity, simply put, is as an excess of body fat that is considered to be at the level which it is negative to your health.
When a person is classified as ‘obese’ by a doctor, the level of body fat involved is considered chronic because of the inflammation in the body the extra weight causes. When the body consumes more calories than is required, the body reverts to caveman times storing the energy for later. Times have moved on and our bodies don’t go without sustenance for delayed periods. The energy stored is not required to keep us alive so therefore is turned into fat.
There is strong evidence which points to obesity being a family problem. If you have one obese parent, your likelihood of following in their footsteps is 50%. If both your parents are obese, your chances increase by 80%.
If you are considered “overweight” it means you are slightly over what is considered a normal weight range for your height. If you are obese you are considered to have a BMI (body mass index) between 30-34.9. You can check your BMI here.
Obesity is most commonly caused by an intake of calories that outweighs a person’s level of exercise or activities throughout a day to counteract the amount of fat consumed.
Medical Conditions Associated With Obesity:
Obesity often leads to chronic symptoms because of the extra inflammation of the organs the weight creates. These can include the following:
*table conditions side by side in 2 columns*
- Elevated blood pressure
- Diabetes type 1 and 2
- Heart disease
- Respiratory conditions
- Sleep Apnoea & Snoring
- Back problems
- Fertility problems
- Heart disease
- Joint problems
- Cancers linked to obesity can include Breast, Oesophageal, Uterine, Prostate and Colorectal.
Obesity & Diabetes:
Being overweight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. In this case, the cells in the body have become immune to the body’s beneficial use of insulin. Studies show that being overweight increases stress on the membranous network within the cells. When these networks are receiving more nutrients than they require, they react by sending a message to the cell to slow down the intake of insulin receptors on the cell surface. If the cell is still constantly bombarded, it becomes insulin resistant.
Facts About Obesity:
The rate of obesity, not only in Australia but around the world, is increasing at an unprecedented rate. The proportion of overweight people is at epidemic proportions. Experts are calling it a world health crisis.
In 1995 the rate of overweight Australians was 30%. Of that figure 11% were obese. In 2005, the rate of obesity among adults was over 53%. Of that figure 18% were obese.
Key Obesity Statistics In Australia:
- 63.4% of Australians are obese
- 11.3% suffer from hypertension
- $8.6 billion was the cost in Australia in 2012 (including government, independent, employers, health insurers)
- 75-80 % of middle-aged men are overweight
- 25% of children are overweight
- Obesity has snowballed over the last 33 years increasing by 80%
- 70% of adults afflicted with obesity subsequently suffer a weight-related health condition.
It is estimated 25 % of children in Australia are overweight. Around one-quarter of this statistic is considered obese. Obese children not only have weight issues but also an increase in depression.
Large children tend to become large adults. Statistics show that in the 10 years between 1985 and 1995, the incidence of overweight and obese children doubled. Obese children have a 20-25% chance of being obese into their adult years. This figure can be as high as 75% if obesity is experienced in later adolescence.
Medical conditions associated with childhood obesity include Heat intolerance, Sleep apnoea, Type 2 Diabetes, Lethargy & Flat feet.
Children who suffer from early age obesity suffer increased rates of depression. They often turn to extreme dietary regimes to lose weight. They often report weight targeted peer bullying.
What Is Morbid Obesity?
Morbid obesity is clinically severe obesity that results in serious medical conditions. Three separate indicators your doctor would use to determine this are:
• More than 200% of your ideal weight range
• More than forty kilograms overweight
• A BMI equal to or more than 40
Morbid Obesity BMI Levels:
- Overweight 25 – 29.9
- Level 1 Obesity 30 – 34.9
- Level 2 Obesity 35 – 35.9
- Level 3 Morbidly Obese more than 40
Obesity Weight Loss Surgery
With regards to obesity surgery, there are several options you may want to consider.
Gastric Sleeve (aka Sleeve Gastrectomy)
The Gastric Sleeve surgery restricts the amount a person can eat by removing 75% of the stomach. It is now known as the most effective weight loss surgery, specifically for those suffering from morbid obesity and is often used to save lives when all else has failed!
Gastric Bypass (aka Roux-en-y)
This was once the most common bariatric surgery performed around the world (but has now been superseded by the gastric sleeve surgery). Gastric Bypass surgery involves stapling the upper pouch which restricts food intake. Complementary to this, an aspect of the small bowel is also bypassed so as to delay the mixing of food and digestive juices which avoids complete absorption.
Gastric Lap Band (aka Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding)
With the Gastric Lap Band surgery, a band is placed around the upper part of the stomach placing it into a smaller pouch and conversely the lower stomach into a larger pouch. A balloon in the band can then be increased or decreased according to the restriction required. The restriction allows food to enter the upper pouch but the delays the release into the lower pouch by around 3-4 hours, therefore, giving the feeling of being fuller for longer.
Revision Weight Loss Surgery
If a patient experiences complications with the first surgery, insufficient weight loss, weight gain after weight loss or an increase in weight-related diseases after the initial surgery, another revisional surgery may a viable option. Secondary weight loss surgery is deemed to be riskier than the first so serious thought needs to be given to this option by the patient and their doctor.