LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – November 2 through 7 was National Obesity Week. Doctors at IU Health Arnett said this week is important because obesity has been recognized as a disease, and it does not get the attention it deserves.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2014, more than 1.9 billion people were overweight, and 600 million of those people were obese.
Dr. Ruban Nirmalan from IU Health Arnett said obesity is the number one medical problem in the United States and there has been an increase in the death rate because of it.
“It causes a lot of problems,” said Nirmalan.”Unfortunately, right now, in the medical field all were doing is putting bandages on all the problems. Some of the biggest ones are diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and there is an increased risk of certain cancers.”
In addition to the different types of diseases obesity causes, Nirmalan said the United States is number two in the world for the highest rates of obesity. There has also been a significant increase in childhood obesity. He said overweight children are more likely to become obese adults and they also have a higher risk of getting disease associated with obesity at a younger age.
“Unfortunately a lot of times we will treat the diabetes, the blood pressure, or treat the arthritis but the elephant in the room is the obesity, and unfortunately we don’t have a good treatment for it,” said Nirmalan. “In the United States we eat a lot of fast food, we drive everywhere and that puts us at risk for obesity.”
However, obesity can be prevented by practicing healthy lifestyle choices. According to the World Health Organization, some tips to help prevent obesity include:
Limiting the intake of fats and sugars
Increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts
Engaging in regular physical activity (60 minutes a day for children and a minimum of 150 minutes per week for adults)
Researchers said changing your lifestyle habits can mean preserving your health and your life.