An individual is considered obese when there is a generalized accumulation of excess fat in the body resulting in weight 20% more than the desirable level. Excess body weight predisposes a person to diseases like angina pectoris, coronary thrombosis, hypertension, stroke, diabetes mellitus, gall bladder diseases or osteoarthritis of weight bearing joints. It may lead to obstetrical risk, psychological disturbances & also may result in low life expectancy.
Assessment of obesity
Various indices have been developed such as body weight, body mass index (BMI), measurement of body fat, ponderal index, waist to hip ratio, etc. Drugs are absolutely useless in reducing regimen except in specific glandular deficiencies. Appetite reducing drugs like amphetamines, diuretics or purgatives are harmful and are no substitutes for a low calorie diet.Crash diets are not advisable in normal circumstances. Only in emergencies should one go on a crash diet but that too under medical supervision. Even in that case, critical follow up in order to maintain a desirable body weight is necessary.
Treatment of obesity
There is no substitute for diet and exercise in order to reduce weight. One should resort to a low calorie diet with restricted carbohydrates and fat, normal protein, adequate vitamins and minerals, liberal fluid and high fiber. Low calorie diet should be supplemented by moderate exercise. However both diet and exercise must be done under advice from an expert consultant.
Rate of reduction of weight depends on extent of obesity. Normally, reduction of 2 to 3 kg per month is realistic and can be achieved without any undesirable physical, psychological or emotional effects. Approximate intake of 500 calories less than the daily requirement can result in weight loss of about 2 kg per month.