Friday, February 29, 2008

Obesity: A Rapidly Growing Public Health Crisis?

Used to be confined to affluent nations, but now obesity is spreading to developing nations that a generation ago barely has enough to eat. Will proper diet and exercise reverse the trend?

By: Vanessa Uy

Latest trends around the world show that diseases related to overeating like obesity, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes is on the rise. Physicians and other health consultants had time and again been extolling the virtues of regular exercise and a proper diet, but in this day and age, such regimented routines are easier said than done.

Since the dominance of the fast food industry which started in the last 40 years, the concept and the practice of a proper diet / nutrition had become an increasingly difficult routine as the years go by. Foods saturated with unhealthy levels of saturated fats and sugars while deficient in vitamins and other essential nutrients had become a staple in the fast food industry. So if one is living in a highly urbanized area - chances are - he or she will have an unhealthy diet since a “proper meal” is either too labor intensive to prepare or deemed too expensive for our urban poor brethren.

What about regular exercise? If you are particularly well off that expensive gym membership won’t be an issue for you, then you can sweat it out with your heart’s content – but first consult with your physician on the type of exercise regimen that’s right for you. But in sympathy to our urban poor brethren who can’t even walk home after leaving their workplace because this means passing through a “bad neighborhood” just highlights the issues of the difficulties of maintaining a healthy body while living in an highly urbanized environment. But if you manage to find a dietary and exercise routine that works despite the difficulties of living in an “Urban War Zone”, then good for you.

The greatest affliction affecting those who have difficulty “losing those pounds” is type-2 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes results from overeating in which your pancreas can’t process the excess sugar in your bloodstream resulting from excessive caloric intake (too much food). This is different from type-1 diabetes, which is a result of a hereditary / genetic disorder when one’s own immune system destroys the part of their pancreas that produced insulin, thus requiring regular insulin shots just to stay healthy and or alive. With proper diet and exercise, one can escape the “nightmare” of type-2 diabetes. But every pound or kilo you lose can make a difference.

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