Obesity: a short review (En Français)

“In 2000 the WHO (World Health Organization) raised the alarm bell and declares obesity “a global epidemic”. Today the problem is worse.” Indeed, whether in the developed or the developing countries, its prevalence increases dangerously.  Obesity is a current issue around the globe (13% or adults are obese worldwide). Considered by the WHO as a non-communicable disease, obesity grows at an impressive rate. In the world, the number of obese people doubled from 1980 to 2014. The development of obesity started initially in industrialized countries, especially in Europe and America, the United States being the most affected country with more than 34% of obese people. Unfortunately, this problem has not been taken into consideration as it should have and there is now more than 500 million adult cases worldwide. It is therefore a major public health problem and if we do nothing the trend will never change.

By the way, what is obesity?

Obesity is defined as “an excessive or abnormal accumulation of body fat”. We determined the obesity with the BMI (Body Mass Index) because it is fast and simple even if it does not take account of the body composition. The BMI is calculated as the weight in kg divided by the height2. If the result is higher than 30, the person is considered as obese.
Example: A man, height: 1.84, weight: 76kg => 76/1.842=22.45=> non obese.  

Speaking of, how do we become obese?

Weight gain (and thus obesity) basically comes from an imbalance of the energy balance. This means that when energy expenditure (through physical activity) is lower than calorie intake (food), there is a weight gain. It is easy now to understand why a fitness program should  associates physical activity and dietetic, especially with obese people.

To summarize, here is the energy balance equation.

 And finally, why are we fighting against obesity?

Obesity leads to numerous harmful health comorbidities and most of them are physiological like diabetes, hypertension, cancers etc. Many studies have also clearly shown that a high degree of obesity leads to a decrease in life expectancy. Moreover, in Western countries, the consequences on the psychological and social level are very important because obesity often face a negative public image.

How about the rest of the world? How obese people live in Kazakhstan, Armenia, Japan or even Chili?  Is it poorly looked upon by others, is it normal, is it synonym of richness…? 

So many questions which lead me to start this world tour!!

Sources: WHO, Poulain, Bhurosy, Ogden, Lim, Konttinen, Hill   (Feel free to read one or two articles, they are all very interesting !!)