Is Obesity a disease, a lifestyle or socio-cultural phenomenon?
In the middle of 2013, the American Medical Association decided to classify and treat Obesity henceforth as a disease. That is a clear stand by the medical world. But is there something beyond? Opinions are divided indeed. Why should AMA classify obesity as a disease in the first place?
Reasons for AMA classifying obesity as a disease
- A hormone called leptin is responsible to send a signal to the brain to stop eating. Constant eating by obese individuals have resulted in unhindered liberal release of leptin and subsequently the brain has developed resistance to the hormone. So in effect the hormone no longer stops the brain to eat.
- If an individual undertakes diet control with or without exercise, the body thinks it was starving and hence now makes the individual crave for more food. This is because the body goes to a calorie saving mode. This mode gives more craving for food and makes them very much hungry all the time which can constitute a disease.
Is Obesity a Lifestyle or Socio-Cultural Phenomena?
It is partly true. Obesity in addition to being declared as a disease, has also been declared as an epidemic. Before half a century the percentage of people reported to be obese was by far less when compared to the statistics of today. Reasons,
- The proliferation of fast food aka junk food restaurants around us has induced us to eat more of such food.
- The late night culture has added to the menace of taking food at odd hours. It must be noted that it is during this odd hours the intake of junk food is at its maximum.
- The odd working hours has also contributed to the rise in stress levels which induces to eat more thereby contributing to obesity.
So in our opinion, obesity is a disease as well as a lifestyle and a socio-cultural phenomenon.
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.