How to Prevent Obesity

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on August 7, 2019

How healthy are your eating habits? How physically active are you on a daily basis? Are you the so-called “couch potato”? What does your BMI say about you?

Obesity is not something to be overlooked, and it is something to be afraid of, thinking of the many health risks and complications that come with it over time. So the question is now – “Are you ready to do something about it?” How about your children? Are they at the risk of obesity as well? Not to worry, anything can be fixed really, with the right methods at hand, that is. So why not follow us and see what we have to share with you today?

What are the potential health risks of obesity?

Obesity is considered to be a true epidemic in the United States, with over 93.3 million adults and 13.7 million children being diagnosed with obesity over the period between 2016 and 2017 (1). Anyone whose BMI (Body Mass Index) is higher than 30 is considered to be struggling with obesity and be exposed to the many underlying complications and health risks of obesity (2).

Obesity threatens to endanger your life by causing multiple health risks. In the following, we will shortly discuss some of the most common health risks that have been linked to obesity.

Diabetes type 2

Obesity is suggested to be the number one risk factor for developing diabetes type 2. Due to obesity, insulin resistance develops, which prevents the insulin from being efficiently used in order to glucose to be admitted into the cells where it can be stored and later used as a primary energy source. Instead, blood glucose levels rise, and diabetes type 2 develops (3).

Cancer

Individuals struggling with obesity have a higher risk of developing multiple types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, thyroid cancer, kidney cancer, etc (4).

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the breathing to be repeatedly interrupted during sleep. Sleep apnea has been diagnosed with 77% of the obese population (5, 6). We are talking about a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment.

Cardiovascular problems

There is undeniable proof that links obesity as a cause of numerous cardiovascular problems. High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, high triglycerides are just some of the potential heart issues that you are at risk of experiencing if you are struggling with obesity (7). Heart attack and stroke are also very likely to happen because of the factors that we discussed earlier.

Osteoarthritis

Due to the extra stress and weight that is put on the weight-bearing joints, obese individuals are exposed to a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. In fact, reducing the weight has been shown to have a positive effect on the potential risk for developing osteoarthritis (8).

Tips on preventing obesity among children

After learning about the frightening statistics and potential health risks that obesity brings, it is of vital importance for each parent to do whatever he/she can to protect themselves and their children against obesity. Do not let your child be yet another victim to obesity. Read our effective tips on preventing obesity among children and start applying them right away to help your child live a happy and healthy life.

Breastfeed your baby

Breastfeeding is encouraged until the age of 2, in addition to combining it with healthy foods after your baby has reached six months (9). By breastfeeding your baby, apart from the obvious beneficial effects, you are also protecting your child from childhood obesity. According to an analysis published by the BMC Public Health, breastfed children have a much lower risk of developing childhood obesity as compared to children which have not been breastfed upon their birth (10).

Teach your children about the importance of small portions

It is important to teach your children about healthy eating habits. One of the best habits that you can teach them about is eating 4 to 5 small portions throughout the day. By combining healthy and filling food choices, you will be able to provide portions that will satisfy their hunger efficiently.

Cook together

A fun, family activity is cooking together with your children. There are multiple ways to include children of any age to take part in cooking along with you. You can use the time to explain why you are using certain recipes and make them fall in love with healthy foods and homemade meals while they are young. They will carry these habits throughout life and protect them and their future children from the same health risks of obesity with them.

Throw out any unhealthy foods from your house

Make an effort to shop for healthy foods only. That includes snacks as well. Fresh fruits and vegetables, natural protein sources, whole grain foods, and natural dairy products are what you need to stack your fridge and pantries with. This will also help you to limit any unhealthy food cravings as well, along with your children. In addition, it will save you a lot of money which you can use to buy some healthy foods for a change.

Reduce TV time

How much time does your child spend sitting around and watching TV? Or perhaps using a computer or playing on the mobile phone? By sitting down and watching TV or playing games on the mobile phone, your child is approaching more the sedentary lifestyle, instead of being physically active, playing outside. TV time should not be longer than 2 hours a day, including the time that your child spends with the tablet, mobile phone, or computer. You should motivate them to use the extra time that they have to engage in fun interesting activities that will keep them busy and active instead.

Make physical activity a part of their everyday life

It is important to encourage your children to peruse regular physical activity while they are still young. There are many engaging activities that the whole family can enjoy it, depending on your children’s age. A little morning gymnastics, basketball, football, jumping rope, and running, are only some of the recommendations that we have for you.

Make sure that they get a good night sleep

According to science, not getting enough sleep increases the risk of childhood obesity. Apparently, children who do not get the recommended 10 hours of sleep each night, are exposed to a higher risk of childhood obesity, as a study published in the Pediatrics tells us (11). Make sure that everyone in the house has a sleep schedule that they follow to assure they are getting a good night sleep every night.

How to prevent obesity among adults?

Now that you know how to protect your children from the health risks of obesity, it is time to discuss the tips that will allow you to do the same for you. Remember – you are the example that your children follow. If you are following an unhealthy lifestyle, the chances are that your children will do the same in the very near future. Do not hesitate to use what we have to offer you to improve your life for the better.

Eliminate any processed foods

The processed foods that many of us are such big fans of are filled with calories, “bad” fats, processed sugars, while they contain little to no proteins, vitamins, minerals, “good” fats, or fiber in them. It is no secret that consuming processed foods increases the risk of obesity, and there are multiple scientific proofs that speak the same truth (12). That is why, in order to protect yourself against obesity and the many health risks that it brings, eliminating any processed foods from your diet is unavoidable.

Limit your alcohol intake

Research published in the Critical reviews in clinical laboratory science explored the link between alcohol consummation and the risk of obesity. What the research found was clear evidence that an excessive consummation of alcohol increases the risk of obesity, especially when it is combined with a high-fat diet (13). Excessive alcohol drinking brings upon other health risks as well, including liver disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, etc. so it would be for the best to watch your alcohol intake (14).

Get a good night sleep

We mentioned that good night sleep is what keeps your children away from the increased risk of obesity. The same implies for you, adults, as well. In fact, research showed that short sleep duration had been increased with a higher risk of obesity and weight gain (15). So you, along with your children, should definitely think about creating a sleep schedule for yourself as well.

Start moving more

Being physically active is what will protect your body and mind against multiple chronic diseases and health risks, not only obesity (16, 17). Yoga, running, weight lifting, or a simple spin class could and would improve your chances at combating obesity and the many other chronic diseases that threaten to endanger your life.

Focus on high-protein foods

Protein is one of the best nutrients out there. It is what will keep you satisfied and filled all through the day, especially if you start your day with a high-protein, power breakfast. Try to include as much as protein possible in each, and every one of your meals and you will notice as you feel less hungry, plus you will be introducing fewer calories throughout the day which will help you lose that unwanted body weight (18).

Reduce your stress

Stress has far too many negative effects on our health for us to let it surround us everywhere we look. Not to mention obesity being one of the negative effects that are most probable to happen due to the extra stress that you have been dealing with (19, 20). Dealing with a lot of stress is not have a positive effect on your children as well, as they too will be able to feel it, and with that, experience the risks that it brings. So take a breath and try to relax. Meditation and a little bit yoga might help you achieve the effect as well.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is all about taking small, yet meaningful steps. Coming back to the basics should do the trick and help you lower your high risk of obesity without a problem. A little regular physical activity, some healthy and filling foods, lots of proteins, and homemade meals with your little ones are all proven methods that will protect you, and your children, from the awful complications of obesity. Do not hesitate to make the change in both your and your children’s lives – a healthy lifestyle is for everyone.

References

(1) https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
(2) https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259868/
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3773450/
(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4062780/
(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5836788/
(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4487367/
(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3788203/
(9) https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/how-long-should-i-breastfeed-my-baby
(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4301835/
(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4035591/
(12) https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/5/1433/4564389
(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16047538
(14) https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm
(15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2723045/
(16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5629749/
(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241367/
(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5644969/
(19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137920/
(20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3658316/

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