Dr Ojum Ekeoma Ogwo
Why do people spring quickly to defend themselves, whenever confronted with the idea of being obese or fat?
• “Please doc I am not fat, I am only overweight “.
• “ Doctor I am not obese, I only have problem with weight”.
• “ Doc, I come from a family of big people, so I am not obese”.
•“Mr Doctor, I am only big, I am not obese”.
•“Doc, you cannot say I am obese, Iam only fat”. Etc etc, etc.
In previous writings, I had severally educated us on the differences between overweight and obesity. I had even given us the formula to calculate for ourselves, what we call Body Mass Index – BMI, so as to know whether we are overweight or obese.
May be we have all forgotten. I shall re-educate us, but first let me state my observation during these festivities. That is during Christmas and this new year 2019.
I was struck dumb, by how overweight and obese most of my relatives and friends had become when thy returned to my hometown Igbere. One Barrister was so obese, that I had to personally rebuke and warn him of the dangers of obesity. “He put it to me”, as lawyers would always say, that “he knows”, And was already doing something about it.
One friend that resides in Lagos, lamented openly to me in Igbere that obesity forced him to change his wardrobe twice in 2018, and still counting.
Please let us pay attention, while I state again the differences between overweight and obesity.
1) An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
2) An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
3) To calculate your BMI = Weight in Kg multiplied by
Height in meter squared. Please consult your doctor.
• It is not easy to say what any one person should weigh. Typical weight tables show how weight varies with sex and height.
• But these are usually average figures, taken from people’s actual weights. They are likely to be higher than “ideal”, because more people in our society, as I observed earlier in my hometown Igbere are overweight rather than underweight.
• Some insurance companies, in developed countries have now produced figures for “desirable weights”, for each height and build, by noting, through research, which weights are associated with low or high death rates.
• So, perhaps the best way, since we know that overweight kills, is for a person to look at himself honestly. Fat soon shows up as
1) An increased Skin fold thickness. 2) A stomach bulge.
3) As a waist that juts beyond a straight line, between hips and ribs.
4) Another way is to compare your present weight with your weight at age 20 years, that is when most people are near their ideal age.
• Weight problem are on the increase in the modern society, since the advent of fast and junk foods.
• Even by the standard of average, research has shown that more than 35 million Nigerians are overweight, and about 15 million are obese.
What are the effects of obesity?
• Overweight people are not just more tired, short of breath, physically and mentally lethargic, with aching joints and poor digestion.
• They are also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disorders, cirrhosis of the liver, pneumonia, inflammation of the gall-bladder, arthritis, hernia and varicose veins.
• They have more accidents, are more likely to die during operations, and higher rates of mortality in general – including 3 times the mortality from heart and circulatory disease.
• Someone who weighs 100kg when he should weigh 70kg, has his or her life expectancy shortened by 4 years. Please quote me.
• Some of these effects arise from mechanical causes: the burden of extra weight and its particular location as fat deposits.
• Others arise chemically from the need to supply more blood to the tissue than normal.
• The typical infertility of the obese is an example; the spread of hormones over increased body tissue, creates problems of conception and in women, pregnancy – including miscarriage and still birth.
• In many cases, reduction to a desirable weight removes all the symptoms of disorder, while mortality also sinks back towards normal. A word is enough for the overweight. Be medically guided.
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