OBESITY FACTS AND STATISTICS

OBESITY FACTS AND STATISTICS

In the past few years, there was a trend on 'fat is beautiful'. In fact, there are several western countries promoting on showing fat bodies as a dancer on stage. They want to show to the world that even plus sized people can be pretty. Back in ancient time, when undernourishment becomes a crisis, big is symbolized as wealth and health.


Can fat be beautiful for real? First thing off, fat has several meanings. Adipose also fat. Fatty food. People who has excess body fat. Basically, fat/adipose are the same thing and we cannot see how it get metabolized in our body. We know fat is yellow in color. We know that fat people have lots of body fat in their body. We know when we eat fried food literally we are eating fat.


Plus, we also know the role of fat to our body and consequences of having it too much. As the matter of fact, having fat accumulation in the body especially at the abdominal area put a person at health risk.


Obesity is a global issue. Some says it is epidemic. It happens all around the world. Of course, Malaysia is not excluded. Obesity in Malaysia might not as serious as in United States of America(USA), however we have smaller population than them. With more than 20% of prevalence of obesity in Malaysia has put us in danger zone.


Obesity should not be taken as a small matter. Obesity is a major health risk. Having too much fat in the body could cause serious health complications including cancer, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. Besides, in an article by World Obesity Federation, obesity is now one of the chronic diseases.

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Definition of overweight and obesity

According to NIDDK & CDC, overweight and obesity is when a person's weight is more than the normal weight for a given height.


According to EASO & WHO, overweight and obesity is excess fat accumulation in the body that might affects health.


Identifying of adult obesity

The common screening tool for obese people is Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a measurement taken to see how ideal the weight with the height.


BMI (kg/m2) Classification
≤ 18.5 Underweight
18.5 - 24.9 Normal
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30.0 - 34.9 Obese class I
35 - 39.9 Obese class II
≥ 40.0 Obese class III
(WHO,1995&2000&2004)

Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is now common and indeed a worrying issue. Childhood obesity is obesity among children. You can see children nowadays eating unhealthily. Uncontrollable food intake and poor food choice lead to this to happen. Obesity can happen to anyone. Neither male nor female, adults or children. However, it should not have supposed to be happened in children.


Even though obesity is harmful as it could affect our health, obesity itself is preventable and reversible. For children, parents' role is very crucial. Working parents might not have much time to monitor daily food intake of their children but there a several initiatives can be taken to prevent from childhood obesity.


Assessment for childhood obesity

There are two ways to describe childhood obesity based on World Health Organization (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Weight status category Percentile range
Underweight Less than 5th percentile
Normal 5th to less than 85th percentile
Overweight 85th to less than 95th percentile
Obese 95th percentile or greater
(CDC growth chart)
Children aged under 5 years old (Weight-Height Graph)
Weight status category Standard deviation range
Overweight Greater than 2 standard deviation
Obese Greater than 3 standard deviation
(Based on WHO weight-for-height child growth chart)
Children aged under 5 years old (Weight-Height Graph)
Weight status category Standard deviation range
Overweight Greater than 2 standard deviation
Obese Greater than 3 standard deviation
(Based on WHO weight-for-height child growth chart)

Statistic of obesity and childhood obesity worldwide

WHO stated that in year of 2016, 1.9 million (39%) of adults aged 18 above are overweight and over 650 million (13%) are obese. In the meanwhile, 41 million of children under 5 years old and over 340 million of children aged 5 - 19 years old are either overweight or obese. The statistic has increased year by year.


Based on World Obesity Federation (2015), there were about 20.6% of Malaysian female are obese and 15.0% of Malaysian male are obese. According to National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) (2015), 11% (1.0 million) of children under 18 years old are obese.

All these statistics have shown that, Malaysia as one of the developing countries also experienced the same crisis.


Know your body fat

Everyone simply can know whether they are obese or not by calculating their BMI. Additional screening using body fat analyser might be useful as well. Since the analyser will tell your muscle, your body fat and distribution of fat in the body, it will be easier for you set a goal on the next action. If you already know that you have higher body fat, steps need to be taken. Either you go for consultation, blood test or you follow dietitian/nutritionist recommendation


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