Common Myths About Obesity
By Madhusudhan Tammisetti
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics indicate about 42.4 percent of the adults in the U.S. are obese. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally about 650 million adults are obese.
There's an increase in awareness about obesity-related health issues. But there are certain quarters where myths continue unabated despite running several public health campaigns. Most of the common myths fuel social stigma, which affects the mental health of the obese.
It's important to address the myths surrounding obesity. Here are some of the common myths related to obesity.
No Impact on Health
This is a myth. Obesity is associated with several health conditions. People with obesity have a high risk of getting high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and mental health conditions compared to non-obese people.
Even modest weight loss may provide health benefits. CDC states, a 5-10 percent weight loss of the total body weight may produce health benefits. You can see improvements in blood sugars, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol.
With weight loss interventions, the premature all-cause mortality rate can be reduced in adults with obesity.
Poor Lifestyle Choices Causes Obesity
Some of the common things to hear about people suffering from obesity are they lack motivation and lazy. Lack of physical activity or exercise and poor diet choices may cause obesity.
Lack of exercise and poor dietary choices may play a role, but obesity is often multifactorial, and other factors may contribute to the increase. Most people, including those with a healthy weight, don't meet the recommended physical activity criteria each day.
There's evidence to show that chronic pain, stress, sleep health, hormones, genetics, underlying medical conditions, medications, and a host of environmental and economic factors contribute to the increase in obesity.
Since several factors contribute to obesity, the treatment has to be tailored to each person depending on the diagnosis.
How Many Pounds You Lost Is the Measure of Success
It's true to some extent that success can be measured by how much you lost weight. But it's not true in all cases. Research suggests measuring the success of obesity by solely focusing on weight loss is ineffective and may be psychologically damaging.
If you focus only on the amount of weight you lost or gained, it may lead to eating disorders, self-esteem issues, heightened stress, and an obsession with body image.
The number of pounds you've lost shouldn't be the barometer for success; instead, the long-term focus should be healthy dietary choices with sufficient physical activity or exercise.
Research suggests if you shift the focus to weight-neutral outcomes, such as sleep quality, blood pressure, self-esteem, and diet quality, you may get more positive results than using weight loss as a measure of success.
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