Technological improvements, changes in lifestyles, transformation of the food system: many factors are contributing to the emergence of a problem, which also involves very different and very distant places: the increase in the number of people suffering from obesity. The issue is complex and impossible to deal with in a few lines, but one thing is certain, it does need dealing with.
Fight obesity and sedentary lifestyle
After a long and stressful day, you arrived home late and just didn't have time to go shopping. In front of the empty fridge, two solutions come to your mind: buy some ingredients online, wait for delivery and then cook something; or order a dish that someone else will cook for you, while sitting on the couch while sliding the Instagram feed.
Whether you have opted for one or the other option, the same evidence emerges: technology and digital services have made movement less necessary. Shopping, home care, travelling around the city: almost every activity in everyday life can be completed with minimal physical effort. We have reached a point where, if we do not want to do so, we can refrain from moving around without having to give up practically anything.
It is a whole new way of life that, together with an increasing number of opportunities, brings with it problems that cannot be overlooked. These include an increase in overweight people and obesity sufferers. According to data from the World Health Organization, adults suffering from obesity in the world have increased by 200% in 30 years, and adolescents by 400%. Today, there are 1.9 billion adult overweight people worldwide, and 13% of the world's population are obese. Women, from all demographic groups, are particularly affected, however, most worryingly young people and the problem of obesity is increasing the most and at a faster rate.
The differences between the world's regions are considerable, with the US accounting for 35% of obese adults and Vietnam for only 1.6%, but according to data from the Global Burden of Disease, the trend is global: obesity levels have increased in all countries, regardless of income levels. There is no doubt: the problem affects everyone.
Obesity: what causes it and what are the risks?
But is having too much body weight really such a worrying condition? The data on the relationship between obesity and disease outbreaks suggest the answer is yes. The health risks associated with being overweight and obesity conditions are many, and often serious: chronic diseases such as second type diabetes and cardiovascular disorders are significantly associated with excess body weight, as well as respiratory problems, musculoskeletal problems, metabolic disorders and cancers.
In 2015, obesity has been estimated to have contributed to the deaths of 4 million people worldwide, which is equivalent to 7% of total deaths. Of these, most were caused by cardiovascular diseases, followed by chronic kidney diseases.And if it is not possible to identify a single cause, the increase in availability, accessibility and affordability of high-calorie foods has been identified as a determining factor in the growing imbalance between calories consumed and energy consumed, which is the most direct cause of obesity.Now, pointing the finger at technological development is clearly simplistic. To say that our smartphone applications are the cause of such a big problem would not only be naive, but totally incorrect.Added to this is the decrease in opportunities for movement, deriving above all from the sedentary nature that characterises an increasing number of occupations, the change in modes of transport and the unstoppable increase in urbanisation in every geographical area of the world (when we said about the long and challenging day; did you imagine a big city or a quiet country village?).
A matter of lifestyle
If excessive weight, therefore, represents a danger, it is above all the poorly active lifestyle that gives rise to concern. Or at least that should be the case. It is a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association that poses the question in these terms, shifting the focus of most research conducted so far from weight to movement: according to the study's physiologists, changing the lifestyle of Americans could be more effective in combating obesity-related disorders than actions aimed exclusively at the loss of excess kilos.
Just train yourself
A regular training program can help combat the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels and improving metabolism. Regardless of weight loss. However, it should not be forgotten that weight loss in itself also brings important physical benefits: less body weight means less pressure on the joints. In addition, a physical activity that is carried out assiduously promotes blood circulation towards the joints, improving lubrication and reducing friction.
And if there was still a need to find incentives for physical activity, the positive effect of mood exercise could perfectly serve the purpose: thanks to the endorphins released by the brain, after some workout it is the body itself that "asks to move". What better chance to turn a healthy gesture into a habit?