“Obesity is a chronic, inflammatory and biological disease”

THE Obesity is one of the diseases that worries medicine the most and can affect the quality of life of people all over the world. It is estimated that in Portugal alone, overweight and obesity affect approximately 68% of the population.

It is a medical condition resulting from multiple factors, usually associated with lifestyle – poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. However, as Carlos Oliveira explains, obesity is actually a disease stimulated by multiple factors and therefore its complexity.

“Obesity is a chronic, inflammatory, biological, multi-factorial and relapsing disease. As a biological example, most obese people are leptin resistant and can only burn fat in extreme situations”says the president of ADEXO.

Obesity is characterized by the abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat which can reach levels likely to affect health, and the calculation of the body mass index (BMI) is what makes it easier to detect this problem.

In addition, more than 200 diseases can be associated with obesity, placing it at the top of the most deadly pathologies. Diabetes, cardiovascular problems, depression, joint problems, bone diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are among the most direct and painful consequences of excess weight, which affects adults and children at an alarming rate.

In an attempt to understand all the intricacies and characteristics of this global epidemic, Dr. Carlos Oliveira explains in this interview what you really need to know about obesity.

Obesity affects approximately 71% of men and 65% of women between the ages of 25 and 75.

What is obesity?

Obesity is a chronic, inflammatory, biological, multifactorial and recurrent disease. As a biological example, most obese people are leptin resistant and can only burn fat in extreme situations. No one can live their whole life in extreme situations.

Is there more than one type?

Yes, as I said before, there are several causes for obesity.

What are the main causes of the condition?

Leptin resistance, genetic mutations, inflammation and chemical causes.

How is obesity calculated?

Currently by a simple, but unreliable process: the calculation of the body mass index BMI. It can also be supplemented by the measurement of the belly circumference and an effective method of reading the masses by bioimpedance.

What preventive measures can we take?

When the disease sets in, which can happen at any time in our life, the main consequence is that the person lives permanently with hunger and the availability of food, since the brain is not aware of the amount of energy that is stored in the body due to the leptin resistance that I mentioned earlier. Therefore, seeking the help of multidisciplinary teams specialized in the treatment of obesity is essential.

What are the figures for obesity in Portugal and in the world?

In Portugal, overweight and obesity affect approximately 68% of the population.

Is it behind other diseases?

Obesity is the cause of about 200 other diseases.

Does it affect both genders equally?

No, in adults it affects around 71% of men and 65% of women between the ages of 25 and 75.

How is obesity treated?

Obesity is a chronic disease, so it has no cure. It has forms of control related to food, physical exercise, drugs and surgeries.

Do you consider it important to warn children about this disease and to promote greater food education?

Yes, of course, from an early age, children need to create healthy eating habits, created in childhood, they help the rest of their life not to get the disease or to better control it.

What are the costs of the disease for the health system?

A recent study on the cost and burden of obesity for the year 2018 reveals that the costs of treating obesity were only 13.3 million euros and that the health costs associated with overweight and obesity were estimated at around 1.15 billion euros, or around 0.6% of GDP and 5.8% of health expenditure in Portugal.

How do you think the obesity scenario will evolve in the coming decades?

If nothing is done to stop the evolution of this pandemic, the number of obese people will represent the majority of the population of industrialized countries in the next two decades.

Read also : Experts plead to tackle the stigma of obese patients

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