BENGALURU: There is nothing wrong in saying that obesity has become an epidemic within the world with an estimated 1.5 billion people being overweight. With changing lifestyle, our eating habits and food pattern have also been changing drastically. According to NCBI, nearly 300 million women are thought to be clinically obese.

What causes obesity?
Each and every individual needs calories to function properly and to be active. However, when the body stores more calories than it uses, it leads to immense weight gain. This occurs because there is an imbalance between calorie consumption and calorie expenditure. In some cases, it can be related to genetic, behavioral and hormonal imbalance. Major causes for obesity can be categorised into two segments – inactivity and unhealthy eating habits.

Threats due to obesity
Being obese can cause certain health issues like diabetes, coronary artery disease, osteoarthritis and even increase the risk of lower back pain, knee joint pain. Obesity can also impact menstrual cycle, ovulation and fertility. There is a higher chance of facing complications such as diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy which can have an impact on the mother as well as the baby in an adverse way.
In such cases, it gets very important for women to reduce weight in order to avoid life-threatening diseases. Obese women should try and maintain their normal weight by increasing the amount of physical activities. Consume foods which are less inflammatory and follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight.

What is bariatric surgery?
It is a surgical procedure for weight loss which restricts the amount of food that the stomach can hold along with some hormonal changes in the intestine. Weight loss surgeries are performed using minimally invasive techniques, namely, laparoscopic techniques, requiring a very short hospital stay with quick recovery and getting back to work at the earliest. It reduces the stomach’s storage capacity by limiting the food intake and helping the person  feel full much sooner. People who have a BMI of 37.5 and more can be the candidates for the surgery. But if they have co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, infertility etc, they can be eligible for bariatric surgery even at a BMI of 32.5 also.
While obesity and the health complications associated with obesity are rising at an alarming rate, bariatric surgery represents a powerful tool for providing a sustained relief for people who are morbidly obese and who are unable to lose weight with diet and exercise. Women with obesity should consult a doctor and get themselves thoroughly checked in order to avoid certain life threatening conditions.

The author is consultant, bariatric and metabolic surgery, Fortis Hospital, Bangalore

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