Obesity

The terms ‘obesity’ and ‘overweight’ are medical terms used to describe abnormal or excessive levels of body fat.  And while being a little bit overweight is not likely to cause too many problems, there comes a point at which too much body fat can seriously affect your health and quality of life.

There are many ways to measure weight and body fat, but a widely used measure of ‘overweight’ and ‘obesity’ comes from assessing Body Mass Index (BMI). This is essentially a ratio of your height in relation your weight (click here to access a BMI calculator).  A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered ‘normal’, while a BMI of 25-29.9 is considered ‘overweight’, and a BMI above 30 is considered ‘obese’.  While BMI is a very good general guide to assessing one’s body mass, this calculation does not take into account important weight contributing factors such as muscle mass and bone density. Certain populations (very athletic people, people from certain ethnic backgrounds) may fall into the ‘overweight’ or ‘underweight’ categories with regards to BMI, but be healthy.  It is unlikely that most people who fall into the ‘obese’ category would not be at considerable potential physical risk.

Many serious medical complications have been linked to obesity. Day-to-day problems may include breathlessness, increased sweating, snoring, sleep/apnea problems, inability to cope with sudden physical activity, feeling very tired every day, as well as back and joint pains. Longer-term physical problems include Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and osteoarthritis.  Obesity is also linked to higher rates of certain cancers.

Psychological and Social Difficulties

Aside from the physical difficulties associated with obesity, these problems can result in significant social and psychological problems.  Many people erroneously think that individuals with obesity are greedy and/or lazy.  As a result, people who are obese often face prejudice or discrimination in the job market, at school, and in social situations. These situations can lead to feelings of rejection, shame, and depression. With society emphasizing physical appearance and often equating attractiveness with slimness, it is easy to see how obesity can lead to low self-esteem, poor self-image, low self-confidence, loneliness, relationship problems, sexual problems and depression. In some cases, obesity leads to decreased mobility which can result in an overall lower quality of life.

Treatment

The aim of obesity treatment is to reduce weight in order to improve quality of life.  It is generally agreed that doing this involves making changes to your diet and lifestyle habits.  In some cases, this may involve weight-loss surgery.  At Altum, we have experience helping people to overcome the barriers involved in changing what can often be a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits.  We aim to provide the psychological support necessary for you to make the changes necessary to reach your goals.  We are committed working closely with your dietician, GP, or other medical professionals to ensure you receive a comprehensive plan.