Obesity is a medical condition that occurs when a person carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health.
A person whose weight is higher than what is considered as a normal weight adjusted for height is described as being overweight or having obesity.
Obesity is a complex health issue to address and is a serious concern because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and the leading causes of death worldwide, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
BMI is a measure of whether you're a healthy weight for your height.
For most adults, a BMI of:
- 18.5 to 24.9 means you're a healthy weight
- 25 to 29.9 means you're overweight
- 30 to 39.9 means you're obese
- 40 or above means you're severely obese
BMI is not used to diagnose obesity because people who are very muscular can have a high BMI without much fat.
A better measure of excess fat is waist size, which can be used as an additional measure in people who are overweight. Generally, men with a waist size of 94cm or more and women with a waist size of 80cm or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems.
Eating more calories than you burn in daily activity and exercise (on a long-term basis) causes obesity. Over time, these extra calories add up and cause you to gain weight.
Common specific causes of obesity include:
- eating a poor diet of foods high in fats and calories
- having a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle
- not sleeping enough, which can lead to hormonal changes that make you feel hungrier and crave certain high-calorie foods
- genetics, which can affect how your body processes food into energy and how fat is stored
- growing older, which can lead to less muscle mass and a slower metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight
- pregnancy (weight gained during pregnancy can be difficult to lose and may eventually lead to obesity)
Certain medical conditions may also lead to weight gain. These include:
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): a condition that causes an imbalance of female reproductive hormones
- Prader-Willi syndrome: a rare condition that an individual is born with which causes excessive hunger
- Cushing syndrome: a condition caused by having an excessive amount of the hormone cortisol in your system
- hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid): a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones
- osteoarthritis (and other conditions that cause pain that may lead to inactivity)
Obese persons are more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome — a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and high cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, breast, colon, rectum and prostate
- Sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts
- Gallbladder disease
- Gynecologic problems, such as infertility and irregular periods
- Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues, due to deposits of fat blocking or narrowing the arteries to the genitals
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and can cause inflammation or scarring
- Skin problems, such as poor wound healing
Ayurvedic Management of Obesity
Obesity is described as ‘Medoroga’ or ‘Sthaulya Roga’ in Ayurveda. Continuous indulgence in high fat food, fried items, etc., along with sedentary life-style leads to excess accumulation of body fat which gets deposited in the numerous body channels.
At CHARAKA, Special programs are included in Obesity therapy with the purpose to cut down excess fat, to correct the irregular metabolism and to clear the body channels.
Deep dry Udwarthana with herbal powders and pastes, synchronized Abyanga with specific oils, steam bath, Dhanyamla dhara etc., mobilize the accumulated fat, whereas, specially designed Panchakarma procedures for detoxification clears & prevent its further accumulation.
Vamana & Virechana therapies are quite effective and result yielding therapies among Panchakarma procedures. Lekhana Vasti is another special type of enema therapy which is also found beneficial in treating obesity.
Diet & Life style modifications plays a important role in the management of Obesity. Practice of specific yoga postures is also advised to reduce body weight. Along with these, appropriate Ayurvedic internal medicines are also used to achieve the best results, without any side effects.
Treatment schedule usually ranges between 3 – 5 weeks to suit the individuals requirement.