Obesity: “Excessive accumulation of fat in the body, increase in weight beyond that considered desirable with regards to age, height and bone structure” (Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. 1983)
The rate of obesity has increased rapidly over the past 20 years to the point that statistics Canada is calling it a pandemic. The numbers show that half of all Canadians are overweight and that almost 15% of people are obese.
There are many complications of being overweight both seen and unseen. They range from arteriosclerosis, joint pain from increased strain on the bones, increase chance of contracting infection as well as emotional stress. The clients that have excessive abdominal fat are more prone to hypertension, hyperlipemia, cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Many people gain weight for different reasons. Some people gain weight because they eat excessive amounts of calories and lack in activity. For others it may stem down from deeper issues like boredom and loneliness. Eating the food for some people makes them feel good for a while but later makes them feel depressed because they know it’s not good for them and they feel like failures because of the weight gain.
How can you tell if someone is overweight? The most universal way to measure this is called the Body Mass Index (BMI). The way the BMI is calculated is by the person’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared. An acceptable range would be between 20 and 25. Over 25 is overweight on the scale and over 30 is considered obese.
In the past twenty years the dynamics of the family have changed drastically. Many families have both parents working so more fast food is eaten because of their busy lifestyles. The workplace has also changed, instead of physical labor and farm work people are working in offices and not moving around as much. Scientists are researching more the role of genetics and how the environment affects obesity. The Canada Food Guide recommends 5-12 grains per day, 5-10 vegetable and fruit servings ,2-4 milk products for adults and 2-3 meat and alternatives. As people age, the number of calories required tends to decrease. By eating the lower end of the scale this would be acceptable for weight loss/optimal health.
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