Thursday, May 30, 2024

A report says half of the world is on track to be overweight by 2035. Solution?

Amlan Shekhar Baruah

According to the World Obesity Atlas 2023 report, 51%, or over 4 billion, of the total world population might be obese by the year 2035. The report states that children are at higher risk of obesity as compared to adults, predicting a 100% increase in the rate of obesity in boys and a 125% increase in girls.

The report predicts that the annual global economic impact of failure to effectively treat obesity could reach $4.32 trillion by 2035. The report also reveals that obesity levels are rising fastest in low and lower-middle income countries and that the average preparedness of those countries to fight obesity is much lower than that of high-income countries.

According to a new report published by the National Library of Medicine in March 2023, the rate of obesity in US adults aged 20-44 has increased from 32.7% in 2009-2010 to 40.9% in 2017-2020.

Factors contributing to obesity

There can be several reasons for obesity. Here we discuss the most common reasons for the rise in obesity in recent times.

Junk food: Junk food is undoubtedly one of the biggest enemies of health and one of the biggest contributors to obesity. Several junk food brands are gaining more and more popularity and attention day by day, and they can be seen to be opening more and more outlets rapidly all around the world and taking over other businesses that may even be providing healthy food.

Lack of physical activity: The increasing popularity of various entertainment and social media platforms has led to a big rise in addiction to these platforms, which in turn has made people stay glued to them for several hours regularly and thus spend very little time in other activities. Then, the rise in hectic and stressful jobs is also a big factor contributing to the decline of physical activity in humans.

Lack of sleep: Less sleep affects digestion, and thus it is another major cause of obesity. Hectic job schedules and spending excessive time on entertainment and social media can be said to be the most common causes of lack of sleep in recent times.

Poor mental health: A person’s physical health is directly connected to and influenced by their mental health. If a person keeps on experiencing negative feelings most of the time, such as anxiety, stress, anger, depression, and fear, it not only harms their mental health but certainly has a negative impact on their physical health as well. Nowadays, the mental health of the majority of people around the world has drastically deteriorated for many reasons, including stressful jobs, less sleep, low physical activity, addiction to alcohol, junk food, social media, and entertainment platforms, as well as peer pressure.

Contamination of food with additives and pollutants: A wide range of artificial additives are used in various food products. These additives include preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, acidity regulators, emulsifiers, etc. Also, the rise in production of genetically modified food products, or GMOs, has led to the original products being replaced. The human body is not designed to digest so many artificial and unnatural substances. Hence, this rise in artificial substances in food is also a major cause of obesity. Along with that, the rise in pollution has led to the contamination of food with many harmful pollutants, particularly chemical pollutants. This is also a known factor contributing to obesity.  

Efficient ways to fight obesity

Below are some of the most efficient ways to prevent and cure obesity.

Switch to healthy, organic foods: When we start consuming what our bodies are naturally designed to consume, our health will naturally start getting better. Thus, when we start quitting junk and artificial food products and start having natural, organic food extracted directly from nature, it will certainly help in fighting obesity.

Do sufficient physical activity: Our bodies are not designed to sit or lie down all day. Along with improving our physical health, physical activity helps us get rid of all kinds of unhealthy addictions and motivates us to spend more time and energy on positive things. We should make a habit of doing at least some minimum amount of physical activity throughout the day, or some minimum amount of total physical activity throughout the week. It does not matter what kind of activity it is. It can be running, swimming, lifting weights, martial arts, yoga, or anything else. The choice of physical activity is up to the individual.

Get proper sleep: Proper sleep ensures proper digestion and better health, so we must make it a priority to get sufficient sleep every day.

Reduce entertainment and social media: As entertainment and social media platforms are very addictive and contribute to laziness, less sleep, and several mental health issues, one should consider reducing the amount of time spent on them.

Prioritize health over work: Health is wealth. If our job is too stressful for us to maintain good physical and mental health, then that job may not be meant for us, no matter how much income it pays us. We should either try to make adjustments in our job to find time for sufficient sleep and sufficient physical activity, or maybe look for another job.  

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