Excess weight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is the commonly used evaluation system to define the degree of obesity. BMI is calculated by taking a person’s weight in kilograms and dividing it by the person’s squared height in meters. An adult having a BMI greater than or equal to 30.0 is defined as obese. If the BMI is more than 40, the person is defined as morbidly obese.
According to the latest Health Ministry statistics, almost half of the Bahraini adult male population and one in three women are overweight or obese. Among adolescents (aged between seven and 18) the obesity rate is nearly 24 percent. A study compiled by a team of European researchers from London-based online publisher Bio-Med Central ranked Bahrain number 10 in the heaviest category in 2012. (It was 15 in the 2008 research). Also, worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese. Excess weight and obesity are considered one of the leading causes of life-threatening diseases. If you are overweight, the probabilities of developing heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure increase significantly. Higher risk of developing cancer, infertility, musculoskeletal disorders, skin infections, gastric ulcers and gallstones are the other common problems associated with obesity.
The main cause of obesity and being overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. The usually recommended daily calorie intake is 2000 calories per day for women and 2500 for men. An average Bahraini adult consumes 2,889 calories per day. In short, excessive eating and lack of exercise are the leading causes of obesity.
Recent studies showed that losing as little as 4-6 kilos can help reduce blood pressure to a safe level, weight loss of 8-9 kilos can help decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. However, the more weight you lose, the greater the benefits. So if you are overweight or obese, you should lose weight.
What you can do at an individual level: Limit energy intake from total fats and sugars, increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts and engage in regular physical activity. Treatment options for obesity are diet, exercise, behavioural and lifestyle change, weight loss medications and surgery. According to the 2013 American Heart Association Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, if your evaluated BMI is more than 40 or a BMI of 35-40 is associated with diseases like Diabetes Mellitus or Hypertension; they recommend a referral to an experienced bariatric surgeon for surgery. Wishing you a healthier and lighter new year.
Dr. Hakan Oguz
(General & Laparoscopic Surgery Specialist)
Bahrain Specialist Hospital