According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
Obesity is increasing at an alarming rate and can be called the modern-day epidemic. There are several factors contributing to the increase in obesity numbers. The most important causes of obesity are
- Less physical activity
In general, energy intake is more than energy expenditure. Putting on weight is so slow that you hardly notice. It slowly creeps up on you.
Here are some of the reasons for over-eating
- Food has become cheaper when compared to income. Most families these days are double-income families and there is more money at their disposal. And there is less time for cooking.
- A wide variety of foods are available in the market and the grocery store design is such that we can walk around and pick up the foods ourselves. Now shopping for groceries in huge supermarkets is not a chore it is quite an enjoyable experience.
It is not like before where you stand on the other side of the counter and ask for what you want and the salesperson brings it to you. Now we can stroll around pick things to put them back and there is no hurry.
- The marketing of foods is amazing and we tend to put more food in our cart than what we need and what our grocery list says. And there are so many deals and coupons available that it is more than likely we end up with a lot more food than what we came for.
- Preparing snacks at home as our mothers did has become outdated. We buy snacks from stores. Most of the snacks we buy are energy-dense and not nutrient-dense. And the snacks are available in large or jumbo size packs. Once we open the bag of chips or whatever we do not stop till we finish eating the whole pack.
- Skipping meals and then binging has become a norm rather than the exception. Mealtimes have become very irregular as working hours are also not regular. People work late, then they do not have time to cook and they eat out or order. It is a vicious circle.
- Eating out is more frequent. Earlier we would eat out on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and so on. Now we eat out almost every weekend. Home cooking is on the decline. With so many apps now, we can get any food we want at our doorstep within no time. We do not have any control on the ingredients and how much they use when it comes to outside food.
- Eating for comfort is also increasing. People overeat when they are stressed or anxious or depressed. In this day and age stress is something no one can avoid. No wonder comfort food consumption is on the rise.
These reasons clubbed with a sedentary lifestyle are the reasons for the rapid rise in obesity numbers globally.