Obesity is the state of being grossly fat or overweight, and is classically defined as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.” According to the Obesity Action Coalition, obesity is measured through various means such as BMI (body mass index), which is a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in metres). A person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered obese. A person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight.
Waist circumference is another means of measuring obesity, although less frequently used than BMI.
Once considered a problem only in high-income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. It is on the rise across the entire spectrum of ages, from children to adults. Following are some alarming obesity statistics (sourced here):
- The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008.
- Today, 2.1 billion people – nearly one-third of the world’s population – are overweight or obese. The number of overweight and obese individuals in the world has increased from 857 million (20%) in 1980 to 2.1 billion (30%) in 2013.
In high-income countries, some of the largest increases in adult obesity have been in the US (where one-third of adults are obese), Australia (where nearly 30% of men and women are obese), and the UK (where around a quarter of the adult population is obese).
- More than 50% of the world’s 671 million obese live in 10 countries (ranked beginning with the countries with the most obese people): US, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
- Looking at individual countries, the highest proportion of the world’s obese people (13%) live in the US. China and India together represent 15% of the world’s obese population.
- When examining data across Oceania, 44% of men and 52% of women were found to be overweight or obese. These rates are lower than overweight and obesity prevalence in Australia and New Zealand, and the gender gap is reversed. For children, obesity prevalence was also lower in Oceania (5%) than in Australia (7%) and New Zealand (10%).
Obesity is Largely a Lifestyle Choice
Today there is significant debate concerning whether obesity is actually a disease. I think of it more as a lifestyle choice. The Centers for Disease Control has identified three main causes of the obesity epidemic: the environment, behavior, and genetics.
First, let me address the genetics issue. Given that obesity has rapidly increased in the last several decades, it is counter-intuitive to believe that genetics is a major factor, because genetics simply don’t change that fast. And the fact that obesity is rarely caused by our genes is confirmed by the Harvard Public School of Health: “the genetic factors linked to obesity comprise only a small part of the overall risk. Moreover, sometimes even people who carry genes associated with obesity don’t become overweight.”
The problem is, when people hear that genetics may play a role, they tend to use that information to justify not taking responsibility for their health. Yes, genes may possibly play a limited role in the onset of obesity, but remember: “genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.” Obesity is a food and lifestyle disease. But addiction will always prevail in people with a weakened sense of self, and they will allow the genetic argument undermine their potential for healing.
Don’t let that happen to you.
The next factor is environment. First, the modern environment we have all adapted to – with computers, TV and electronics – leads us down the path of a more sedentary lifestyle, and walking has been replaced with driving for many of us. Second, our bodies are awash daily in a cocktail of environmental toxins that undermine the endocrine system’s ability to keep the body in balance (or homeostasis).
Third, the nutritional goodness in most fruits and vegetables – even when organic – has been seriously undermined through a century of modern farming techniques, which has sapped the soil of critical nutrients and minerals, and leaves our modern food with far less goodness than it originally had. And finally, GMOs in our food are contributing to a complex web of problems that our bodies don’t even know how to handle. These are the major environmental factors: sedentary lifestyle, toxic overload, soil depletion, and GMO health risks.
But the most important factor by far is behavior: how our lifestyle and daily habits affect our health. Our fast-paced lifestyle tends to lead us down the road of being “time-poor” and processed, pre-packaged, convenient foods are an easy solution. Many in the West have lost the art of slow cooking, where whole foods are lovingly prepared in a healthy fashion. And we are inundated with some of the most deadly substances to our bodies: sugars, high fructose corn syrup, highly refined grains, and hydrogenated fats.
Our tendency towards “quick-fix luxury” creates the main issue underlying diabetes: increased caloric intake and decreased nutrition. And many westerners are not participating in enough physical activity
to expend these empty calories, and are craving bigger portion sizes as your body is crying out for real nutrition – but processed packaged foods are never going to truly fulfil you.
So it seems like a vicious cycle…we ingest less nutrition so our bodies are always hungry, so we eat more and more.
Obesity Action states on their website that there are more than 40 medical conditions associated with obesity many of which including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnoea, respiratory problems and even some cancers.
It is a very serious epidemic!
How Obesity Relates to Food
Naturally, what we eat is one of the major components of this jigsaw. People who are obese are overfed and undernourished, so they are literally starving to death on a cellular level. When you combine an excess of nutrient-deficient foods that our bodies do not recognize and don’t know to process, with a severe lack of nutrition, you have the perfect formula for obesity.
Only in recent times has there been evidence from scientific studies and research drawing the link between obesity and gut flora which is quite profound in bringing a new issue to this epidemic of fat. The Scientific American states here that “new evidence indicates that gut bacteria alters the way we store fat, how we balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel hungry or full. The wrong mix of microbes, it seems, can help set the stage for obesity and diabetes from the moment of birth.”
Researchers are only now beginning to understand the difference between the wrong mix of microbes and the healthy ones.
Fundamentally, the emotional toll this illness has on a person is monumental. Self-esteem, self-love, and self-worth can plummet as they become very self-conscious of what people think of them from the outside. This results in depression as well as other emotional problems.
A Holistic Formula is Needed
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It is never too late for change and with my Super Life Formula anyone can tackle this head on. There is no doubt that obesity and weight-related issues are a direct reflection of lifestyle and the Super Life Formula is a lifestyle change on a holistic level. This includes everything from food and gut health to emotional clearing with essential oils and other modalities so you can live an extraordinary Super Life – as I believe it is your birthright!
When you ask, I will be so here to help you on your healing journey.
Peace, Love, Health
Read more about Weight-Related Disorders on SuperfoodSam
The information included on this page is for educational purposes only, and is based on the author’s own personal journey and experiences. It is not intended, or implied, to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease or illness. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information in this blog or website does not create a physician-patient relationship.
GAPS™ AND GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME™ ARE THE TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT OF DR. NATASHA CAMPBELL-MCBRIDE. THE RIGHT OF DR. NATASHA CAMPBELL-MCBRIDE TO BE IDENTIFIED AS THE AUTHOR OF THIS WORK HAS BEEN ASSERTED BY HER IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COPYRIGHT, PATENT AND DESIGNS ACT 1988 OR ANY OTHER LAW.