Obesidad, causas y consecuencias de una epidemia global

Obesity, causes and consequences of a global epidemic

Overweight is defined as an excessive accumulation of fat that is harmful to health. Everything outside of this falls into the realm of aesthetics and beauty (but not excess weight). The various tools that exist to measure excessive weight gain are diverse and should always be supported by the advice of a nutrition professional. Today we want to focus on obesity (causes and consequences) and how this 21st century epidemic is affecting Spain. Do you need to lose weight ?

Obesity and its causes

In recent years, special attention has been paid to obesity facilitators. Surprisingly, genetic, cultural and social factors are being found that promote excessive weight. And on the one hand, a direct relationship has been found between a gene and obesity, but there are also other factors such as eating habits or indicators such as poverty that are directly associated with obesity.

The FTO gene linked to a greater tendency towards obesity

To date, various studies had been carried out in animals that suggested that this gene could be linked to a greater tendency towards obesity. Among them, the study carried out by MIT and Harvard University stands out, in which 127 types of human cells were studied, among which it was found that "the cell type most affected by genetic variation in the FTO locus are the progenitors of adipocytes" or, in other words, a correlation was found between the variation of the FTO gene and greater fat storage .

The most interesting thing about this study was that there is the possibility of altering the cycle called thermogenesis, which would imply clear progress in the fight against obesity.

Poverty and other social factors

Obesity goes from being an aesthetic problem to a public health problem when it increases the risk of suffering from diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks or certain types of cancer. However, it is becoming an epidemic that continues to affect around 600 million people around the world. In Spain, the profile of an obese person is female, poor and unemployed according to an INE Survey carried out last year (2018) and which we will delve into later.

To understand this, you have to understand why poverty is an indicator of obesity in developed countries . This is easily answered thanks to the information collected by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which already in 2017 warned that nutritious and fresh foods were more expensive for European families than packaged and low-quality foods. nutritional quality . Thus, we find alarming figures in Spain such as that 23.98% of low-income women in Spain are obese and women of a high socioeconomic level barely reach a ratio of 7.26%.

For its part, childhood obesity is directly linked to the poor family conciliation facilities that prevent parents from paying direct attention to their children's nutrition. If we add to this an increasing tendency on the part of public authorities to disassociate themselves from the obligation to control the products served in school cafeterias, we can outline an alarming situation that is, in turn, costing the system millions of euros. sanitary. Similarly, the FAO has indicated that minors are also the most vulnerable group not only due to little access to quality school cafeterias but also access to any cafeteria (due to the low income of their parents).

(Opinion)The solution, greater nutritional education and access to quality food

In some places in Spain such as the Canary Islands, the problem of obesity seems to be more related to factors other than poverty. This is because access to fresh products is much easier than on the peninsula. Thanks to local Farmer's markets, butchers and fishmongers with sustainable prices, it is relatively easy to eat better this way than buying ultra-processed foods in large stores. However, there are other indicators that come into play such as genetic factors, anxiety that comes from a changing socio-labor situation and poor nutritional education in which the terms "homemade" and "healthy" are confused. We must demand a commitment from our leaders to achieve greater access to quality nutritional information and, at the same time, we have to become aware that without a healthy lifestyle and adequate nutrition it is very possible that, within a decade, we will have to regret having made bad decisions in our daily lives.

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