ObesityObesity has long been a major health concern in the United States, growing to become a more notable issue in Europe too. But several new studies warn that obesity is quickly becoming a major global problem too, even in countries who seem to have a food scarcity problem.

According to one Lancet study, average body mass index (BMI), of the 19.2 million adults observed from 200 countries, through 1698 studies, increased from 21.7 to 24.2 km/m2 among men and from 22.1 to 24.4 km/m2 in women between 1975 and 2014.

Nida Khan, who is the clinical dietician at Eurodiet Muscat, warns, “Obesity can set in from the age of six or seven years. A child with unhealthy eating habits may tend to gain excess fat which can lead to him or her being overweight, and ultimately obese.”

Khan goes on to say, “Teenagers going through puberty tend to have cravings for various foods, which sometimes leads to overeating. A lot of people in their mid-20s tend to gain fat mainly due to unhealthy eating habits, timing and work pressure. Also, psychological factors can affect people at different stages. Many adults become emotional eaters in their 20s and 30s due to stress and busy lifestyles.”

Khan also notes that obesity tends to affect women more often than men because women, in general, have a lower metabolism rate.

She continues, “Women tend to have more cravings than men due to their menstruation cycles and emotional stress. Abdominal obesity is more prevalent in men and lower abdominal obesity is more common in women. People with obesity are more likely to suffer from Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, blockage of arteries, cancer, skin diseases, osteoporosis and gout.”

Nida advises that a healthy lifestyle coupled with a balanced diet and exercise are key solutions to this universal problem.

Health education and awareness can play a major role in addressing this growing issue as most people are not aware of the right sources of nutrients and the quantities that should be consumed.

Finally, she concludes, “There is a lot of generalised information but knowledge is limited and not customised, according to individual needs, which is why people find it difficult to lose weight.”