How Controlling Obesity Can Reduce the Risk of all Types of Diabetes

It is said that God made everyone equal to the fact that all living beings that take birth have to die (leaving the mythological immortals aside). What one does in between determines the quality of life that he would lead.

As food is one of the prime necessities, what we eat, how we eat and how much we eat is a major factor to decide the type of life one would live. Also, some people blame it on certain genes in the body or the environment or even the food policies in general.

What is Obesity:

Photo Credit Kyle May Courtesy : Flicker

Obesity may be described as the excess of calories that are consumed than the body can burn. It does not sound as serious as it is though it is one of the major contributors to the leading causes of death such as cancer, stroke, heart attack and diabetes amongst others.

What are the factors causing obesity? 

  • Genes

Some other people don’t put on weight no matter what their diet is while some others are prone to putting weight with a minor change in diet. Childhood obesity has often been linked to the genes that are passed in the child. Although it can be linked to genes at the first glance, there might be other factors linked to it. Genetic changes in living beings happen at a very low rate so that cannot be solely held responsible for it.

Genes are responsible to provide orders for the body. After that, the body responds to the environment. It is seen that members belonging to the same family have different eating habits. Rarely has a definite pattern been observed in the family with a history of genetic obesity. So there must be other factors as well that affect the dietary patterns or the way the body reacts to the diet.

  • Physical Activities

To maintain the body weight, burning the calories is vital. The easiest way to do that is the physical activity. Historically, the day-to-day activities were enough to give the required physical activities to keep in a healthy shape but with the advancement of man, he designed machines and tools that reduced his physical effort. As a result, obesity is on the rise.

  • Lifestyle and Nutrition

One major reason for obesity linked to the lifestyle people choose. As the younger generations are fast moving towards the fast-food culture, the epidemic is surely on the verge of an outburst. Some of the major reasons can be cited as follows-

  1. Eating food containing high fat.
  2. Heavy consumption of alcohol. As alcohol is calorie-rich, many heavy drinkers are found to be overweight.
  3. Eating out of proportion can add weight. A frequent meal at a local restaurant with starters, main course and desserts adds up a lot of calories.
  4. Being choosy about fruits and certain vegetables means unhealthy food habits. Some fruits and veggies naturally help in digesting or getting rid of excess fats in the body,
  5. Some people may raise their families this way and these habits may percolate through the future generations.
  • Medical reasons

Some people put on extra weight due to certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism where the thyroid gland fails to produce adequate thyroid hormone or a rare disorder known as Cushion’s syndrome where the steroid hormones are produced more than required.

Sometime, some people gain mass as a result of certain medicine which is meant to cure some other ailment. Some people react in this way when they quit smoking or are on contraceptive pills.

  • Psychological Factors

It has also been linked with what people think about themselves as compared to others. Psychology plays a role in the way the body shapes up.

How are obesity and diabetes related? 

Diabetes is caused when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. As a result, the sugar count in the body goes on increasing if not controlled in time. It can be further classified as Gestational diabetes,  Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Out of the three mentioned above, type 2 diabetes is commonly found worldwide in diabetic patients.

Diabetes is considered to be a metabolic disorder. Majority of what we eat is converted to glucose in our body. This glucose then works as the source of energy. As it mixes with blood, it is transmitted to various cells in the body. In the absence or resistance of insulin, it cannot enter the cells and the excess deposits lay unutilized turning into fats.  Being overweight puts more stress on the body’s capability to control sugar level in the blood using insulin. As a result, it has a high probability to develop diabetes.

World Health Organization suggests

World Health Organization Chart
Photo Credit: Graph Courtesy-Wikipedia

More in-depth analysis about global obesity prevalence can be found here –

One way to control diabetes is controlling obesity. Some of the most common ways to control keep a tab on weight are-

  • For an adult, WHO recommends physical exercise equivalent to two and a half hours per week which could be moderate to vigorous depending upon the person’s condition. Youngsters should be more physically active with an average on an hour of workout per day.
  • Eating a wholesome meal which is balanced in nutrition.
  • Working long hours with regular breaks or if the work does not have much moving around, taking a stroll in breaks can help.
  • Children should not rely on fast food as their staple diet.
Fatty Food
Photo by Craig Michaud, Courtesy Flicker
  • Less of workload or stress.
  • One can also take weight management drugs such as Xenical, which is a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor. Any kind of drugs should be taken under the guidance of a physician only.

Although it is not true that all obese people will become diabetic in the future, they are at a high risk of it hence controlling the food intake can serve the dual purpose of both controlling the weight and diabetes.

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