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Obesity prevention

Obesity is a chronic illness, developing due to accumulation of excessive fat tissue in the body, causing weight gain and various complications.

In 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced obesity a global epidemic. Today, nearly 2 billion of people from all over the world are overweight or obese. Over 200 million of them are men and nearly 300 million – are women. Every tenth child suffers from obesity, and about 30% of people in developed countries have the body mass that is above norm. The life expectancy is shortened by 3 to 5 years every year. The number of obese people is progressing and increasing by 10% annually.

In May 2004, the World Health Assembly used a global strategy on dieting, physical activity and health. It described all the necessary measures to support a healthy diet and regular physical activity. This strategy appeals to all interested parties to take steps on global, regional and local levels, directed to improve the diet regime and to increase physical activity of the population.

Obesity is actually a serious problem. It is not only a cosmetic issue for people. The accumulation of excess fat in the body can worsen the overall health, causing a dyspnea and palpitation, especially in stress. In addition, it may be the reason of a quick fatigue and sleepiness, skin problems and sexual dysfunction. Imagine as if a person would carry a 40 or 60 pounds bag on his body all the time. Human body cannot stand a constant overload; therefore, obese people get sick frequently and have a shorter life than those with a normal body weight.

Doctors are interested in defeating obesity not because they prefer to deal with skinny patients, but because obesity causes the risk of severe pathologies:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Joint disease
  • Gallstone disease
  • Gout
  • Reproductive system dysfunction, etc.

If a person already suffers from any of these diseases, then obesity will only deteriorate the prognosis.

Obesity causes

Primary or alimentary obesity is caused by excessive consumption of calories. People who consume more calories than their body can use, suffer from extra weight. Few factors provoke this kind of imbalance:

Overeating, excessive amount of fatty, sweet and heavy food.

Diet full of fats and simple carbs. In this case, the body cannot digest all fat and carbs; therefore, they are stored in fat depots. Fat is accumulated unevenly. Thus, the common areas of fat depots are abdomen, buttocks, hips and mammary glands.

Hypodynamia (sedentary lifestyle). It is known that people who work physically, and then change it for a brainwork, tend to gain weight rapidly.

However, some factors predispose to alimentary obesity. For example, hereditary predisposition. Scientists have proved that if one of two parents has excess weight, then the disease arises in 40% of children. If both parents suffer from obesity, then the likelihood their children will be overweight is 80%.

These numbers we cannot change, but what we can is to change our daily diet and physical activity. Usually, children of obese parents become overweight due to family traditional lifestyle.

Secondary obesity is caused by several factors:

  • Endocrinal obesity (hormonal disorders, thyroid disease). It is just 5% of all cases. This type of obesity does not reach severe stages that often.
  • Cerebral obesity (brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, infectious diseases of the CNS).
  • Usage of any medication.
  • Mental diseases.

Actually, anyone can gain weight, even a healthy person, if he eats a lot of food and doesn’t work (vacation, for example). But this kind of weight gain is temporary. Once a person returns to his usual activities and stops eating excessive amount of food, his body weight becomes normal again.

What if extra weight remains and starts increasing? At first stages, obesity seems harmless. It does not cause any pain as a rule. Gradually, obesity develops into cardiovascular disorders in the body. A person becomes tired fast; his gastrointestinal tract does not function properly anymore. The earlier this problem is solved, the quicker people can bring their bodies to a normal state.

Is there any difference between overweight and obesity? There are certain body weight standards. When these are exceeded, overweight is diagnosed. You may have extra weight due to excess muscle and fat tissue, or excess fluid in the body. While obesity is diagnosed, when all the excess mass is mostly a fat tissue. Extra fat exceeds the amount the body needs for a normal activity (energy, thermal insulation, etc.).

Weighing yourself on scales or calculating by various formulas you can determine whether you have overweight or obesity. The body mass index is used for that most often.

The BMI formula – weight (kg): height (m²). Using this formula, any person can control his body weight. The best time to weigh yourself is in the morning after the bathroom, before breakfast, naked or wearing the same clothes every time. Use your bathroom scales for that.

According to authoritative scientists, the body weight should remain unchanged until you turn 60. However, the BMI is not accurate for children, pregnant women and people over 65 years old and athletes with big muscles.

Waist circumference also indicates fat storage in abdominal area. You should measure the waist while standing. The alarming index is over 80 cm in women and 94 cm in men.

Obesity types

  • Female obesity. Type of the body – pear shape. Fat is stored mostly in the lower half of hips and buttocks. It is typical for women and commonly is accompanied by joint, spine, lower limbs and veins disease.
  • Android type (male obesity). It is characterized by fat storage in the upper part of the body and abdomen. The shape reminds of apple and is typical for men. This type of obesity is accompanied by strokes, heart attacks, hypertension and diabetes.
  • Mixed type.

Obesity classification

Class 1 obesity – the body mass exceeds the norm by 15-29%.

For instance, if a person’s normal weight is 60 kg, then 77 kg is considered Class 1 obesity for him. The main symptom is dyspnea. Patient complains of dyspnea, weakness, quick fatigue during physical activity, sweating and irritability.

Class 2 obesity – the body mass is above normal by 30-49%.

It is accompanied by extremity edema, joint pain, especially in spine due to an increased load on it. Still, the biggest complaint of patients with the Class 1 and Class 2 obesity is cosmetic problems. Changes in the body shape, stretch marks on the skin and acne are common for obesity. The worst is muscle atrophy when muscles are replaced by fat tissue.

Class 3 obesity – the body mass exceeds normal by 50-99%.

For this class obesity, unattractive body shape is typical. Productivity is almost zero, because of permanent dyspnea even in peace. Patients have muscle weakness, poor memory, menstrual impairment (in women), heart pains, edema lasting all day, etc.

Class 4 obesity – the body mass exceeds normal by 100% and more.

Person becomes a complete invalid, because his body mass is twice as much as the normal weight. Mental state can be affected in this class obesity. Therefore, the treatment is carried out under a medical supervision.

Principles of obesity treatment

  • Non-drug methods: a proper and low-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
  • Drug methods: prescribing medications, suppressing the appetite and reducing the amount of digested nutrients in the body, as well as medications normalizing the hormonal balance. Weight loss drugs (3-4 months after).
  • A surgery in the gastrointestinal tract (strict indications).

Prevention of obesity

It is recommended to pay attention to the issue of growing body weight and solve it timely.

Using methods that help to lose body weight quickly, you should keep in mind that they might harm your body. Firstly, the face skin is damaged, becoming flabby and loose. You must note that if obesity is caused by endocrinal disease, a low-calorie diet and physical exercises cannot solve the excess weight problem.

Physical exercises

People, who have extra weight, should increase their energy expenditure so that their body begins using fat deposits for energy. High physical activity and simple sports can help.

Everybody knows how beneficial and useful physical loads are in overweight, but once people start training, many of them lose faith that they will ever succeed. It happens because the body uses fat tissue very slowly, so you need tons of patience to get your desired result from workouts.

It is a common misbelief that 10-15 jogging a day can give you a desired weight loss. This kind of physical exercise is just a restorative load for the body. You can lose weight only if you are jogging for an hour every day. Thus weigh in is not informative, because of water loss. Once you think you have lost weight, you can easily gain it back by drinking water.

The greater the amount of extra weight, the more difficult it becomes to do any physical exercise. Hence, overweight people get tired fast even during a slow walk.

The smaller the extra weight, the larger the range of physical activity. Intense exercises (bike riding, ski, swimming) are very good for the body. Any kinds of moving activities are actually good, like, tourism and mobile sports. If you have no time for that, you can work in the garden or do any other physical activity at home.

Caloric value of food

Physical activity is good, but you also should reduce the consumption of foods high in calories, those that contain a large amount of animal fats and fast carbohydrates.

If your daily caloric intake is reduced by 100 kcal, you will lose about 11 kg. Such calorie reduction might lead to a 1.1 kg weight loss per 10 days and approximately 4 kg per year. Therefore, people should take their daily caloric intake under a strict control.

Dietary limitations are among many recommendations when it comes to weight loss. But individual variants can be dangerous for health. Like for example, therapeutic fasting. A complete fasting leads to loss of vital substances, since the body cannot synthesize them. Therapeutic fasting provides weight loss, 20% of which is a fat loss, and the rest 80% is a loss of proteins, salts and water that are needed for a normal activity of the human body. The water loss brings only a temporary weight loss and does not help to achieve the desired result. While the restoration of normal water balance, brings back all the excess weight easily.

Any diet must contain a sufficient amount of fat-free proteins that can regulate the appetite and hence the gained weight. It is a fact that proteins provide satiety, because they are digested slowly. Therefore, it is recommended to consume fat-free proteins: beans, eggs, fat-free meat, low-fat dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese and milk). Daily rate of protein – 90 g.

Avoid meat and fish broth or gravy.

Carbohydrates should be limited as well. Bread, pastry, pasta, cereals, potatoes, sweet fruit and berries, sugar, honey, jam and various sweets are typical foods that cause fat formation. Your daily diet should contain maximum 220 g of these products, minimum of sweets.

The truth is that our daily diet mostly consists of carbohydrates that give us the feeling of fullness. Moreover, a large amount of fiber provides regular bowel movements. Thus, you should eat foods that contain a great amount of indigestible fiber. For instance, rye or wholemeal bread, greens and legumes (except for the potatoes, beetroot and carrot). Cereals: buckwheat, millet or pearl barley.

Make sure your body gets enough vitamins and minerals.

Moreover, you should eat maximum 60 grams of fat per day (mostly vegetable fat and partially butter). No bacon or lard is recommended.

In addition, nutritionists recommend to limit the consumption of salt. You should avoid salty foods: do not salt food while cooking, only add a tiny pinch of salt to a ready dish. The recommended amount of salt per day – 8 g. Please note that different products already contain about 3 g of salt.