Overweight, malnutrition, and obesity | Learn how you can make a difference on the environment

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Nowadays, in this modern era, overweight people are seen more frequently around us among both sexes and in every nation of the world, especially affluent developed countries. Some, among them, are aware of the problems with their weight gain while others are in denial. The former had already made-up their minds and consider it as a part of life and that nothing can be done about this. They have got the idea that they have to live with it somehow.

Ironically, over-weight or obese people are mostly heard saying that it has nothing to do with what they eat or the amount they eat. It’s within them, something else is wrong with their bodies, etc. They think they don’t eat much but still weight is increasing. Some enthusiasts will also add that even if they drop weight it will increase back to the same level. Weight-loss is thought to be a one-time cure or something; they forget that it is a constant battle to reduce or to eat less.

Our brain uses mostly glucose as a prime nutrient. When we take sugary foods, like soft drinks, candies, chips, desserts, etc., we get instant energy and we start craving for sugary foods. During the young age when our metabolism is high, these foods give us instant energy boost whenever we are very active physically, and we not only feel energetic, but happy. Some parents can’t keep their kids off of these foods, so they begin to gain weight early in life, and it’s getting very hard for them in their teens to stop eating sweets, candies, etc. This lifestyle sometimes leads to more weight gain and in the end, may lead to frank obesity later in their lives.

With too much weight gain, the problems starting to show up! The person mobility suffered, it’s hard to find the right size of clothes, etc. They try to mix-up with same size people so that they don’t feel uncomfortable or worse, mocked about.

Most of the people who got obese are under a lot of stress. They tend to find gratification in food, hence a vicious circle sets in. The only stress-free moment of their lives is food time, hence they get into the habit of overeating, furthermore, they develop unhealthy habits of eating like continuous eating or whenever they see their favorite food, e.g. donuts, sweets, ice-creams, etc. They don’t even consider between meals eating a real eating, and never skip a meal despite they might have eaten something heavy before meals like a donut or a sandwich.

The story of the people who are overweight and obese is different where food is plenty as compared to where food is scarce. The people who have low-income status and are overweight, mostly are on high carb diets to fulfill their body needs of essential food such as vitamins and minerals. These individuals are not just overweight but deficient in certain essential nutrients like iron, vitamins, etc.

The people who have plenty and their food choices are not restricted by their status are not deprived of the essential nutrients generally, but are eating habitually because they are used to it, like most of the time we see in the US citizens as well some other western countries like the UK.

The word malnutrition needs clarification here. Throughout our life span, we need calories along with proper nutrients, i.e. “nutrition through lifetime”.  There are macro-nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fats, and lipids, which are needed in larger quantities comparatively and they can also be stored in our body. Then there are micro-nutrients, which are trace elements and vitamins, which can’t be stored in the body (except for fat-soluble vitamins) in greater quantity and for a longer time, hence we will always need them. If somehow we are not taking proper essential nutrients, we are malnourished. There are different kinds of malnourishment, e.g., if we are taking too much of carbs but fewer proteins, a condition most prevalent in kids and its severe form is called kwashiorkor. Mostly these kids belong to low-income families especially in the developing world, like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh etc. Kids will have rickets due to lack of Vitamin D and therefore get swollen wrists and ankles, which are mainly due to lack of exposure to sunlight and bodies are unable to deposit calcium in the bones in the absence of Vitamin D. Rickets can also be seen in the developed countries because of lack of exposure to the sun in the winter.

Malnourishment can be moderate or severe and if remain unchecked can hamper the development and growth severely; which in turn impair intelligence and impedes future lives by making poor choices etc.

Girls and women particularly in countries where they are treated as 2nd grade citizens mostly are malnourished since birth. As they reach puberty, their fragile bodies are all but prepared and menarche will aggravate the severe anemia they already had. They get tired easily; lose interest in life, turn negative thinkers, poor decision-makers, and are exposed to certain choices of food that are in no way healthy.

As they say, we are what we eat! It is true if you take the nutritional and caloric aspect of the food. The way food is cooked, processed, and even grown determines ones’ health. If the vegetables or crops are getting polluted or tainted, they will be high in certain elements which are indeed harmful for our body.

Growing and cooking food affects our health immensely so did the habits of eating. If we eat frequently and in large quantities, we eventually get overweight, no matter how active we are. The reason is simple we are giving more to the body and using less. Normal physics apply here:

Energy stored = Input – Output

The value will be positive if the input is more and vice versa.

Our digestive health also depends on the choices of foods. If we continuously or frequently feeding ourselves processed food, we do get deficient in one or two micronutrients. Americans started to complain about constipation more often when they cut almost all green and leafy vegetables off of their diet and start drinking refine juices and eating stakes.

In Japan, it is a routine in hospitals to have endoscopy because mostly they have ulcers which may later lead to cancers due to the high intake of chilies in their diets.

It is very important that whenever we are eating a meal, we focus on the food and not on other issues of life. After all, it’s in our evolution to celebrate eating as our ancestors did once.

When the European colonists arrived at North America, they observed that Indigenous people ate whenever they felt hungry, and not fixed times of the day, which at that time was thought to be very primitive; but now science is emphasizing that there are lots of benefits of keeping ourselves hungry after we reach adulthood. It’s not only cleansing our bodies and mind but also benefits the climate, which we as humans are rapidly consuming and destroying.

As WHO defines malnutrition in all its forms where humans are undernourished in macro or micro-nutrients, overweight, obese that they got diseases related to that overweight or undernourishment; which sometimes is the cause of their death, preventable if addressed properly.

According to WHO, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese, 462 million are underweight, 47 million children under the age of five are wasted (low weight for height), 14.3 million are severely wasted and 144 million are stunted (low height for age), while 38.3 million are overweight or obese.

Out of 7.8 billion world’s population, 1.9 billion adults are overweight. It can be tackled if we just start taking care of our diets as well as our bodies.  Imagine all the population of the world comes to their healthy weight, how much burden we will reduce on this earth. The individual benefits of having a healthy weight are numerous. What a collective weight loss of people means to Earth, a better and lighter world!

Recently a research has shown that half of the Brits are overweight, and their prime minister announced a one billion pound package just to encourage cycling so that people should keep themselves fit and will eventually lose weight.

In my humble opinion, if one has to lose weight, he/she should stop eating and start skipping meals. Once eventually the person gets their target of healthy weight, only then does he or she start doing biking, riding, hiking, or whatever feels good and is environmentally friendly.

I have seen on NBC news that black women made a team and started to run together to keep fit and mostly to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not against physical activity at all, but if one wants to drop weight, one should stop eating, which is the only solution. When they achieve a healthy weight, only than start doing running, biking, etc., to keep themselves fit and active.

The trick in weight loss is simple. You have to train your brain. You don’t have to think about eating. Don’t let hunger ruin your way of life, which is to lose weight. Do not opt for any exercise. Start by skipping meals. A better idea will be just taking one meal a day. Of course, hunger will be there, but don’t let it over-run you. Be strong, say no to food. Keep the equation shown above in a negative balance. Even in that one meal say no to certain foods, like sodas, ice-creams, sugary drinks, confectionaries etc.

Get essential nutrients like iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium, along with vitamins as supplements. Mostly micronutrients are destroyed in cooking or washed away in the water; therefore, doctors recommend the daily dose of supplements to have proper and regular supply in the body.

Trust me when I say that we don’t need an abundance of calories to stay healthy. Weigh yourself in the morning and then do it every day. Make a graph, which will tell you whether you are gaining or otherwise. The ideal weight of a grown-up person is according to the BMI. Take your weight in Kgs and divide it by the square of your height in meters. Google the BMI index and check on which BMI you stand and what is ideal for you. Make it your life resolution to achieve it.

On my blog, I and my husband have put other articles related to these problems. We have also started a “Free advice” section here, where you can ask personal questions and opt for advice about your particular problems. Try it sometimes, it is free and authentic. Till next time, stay healthy and safe.


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