Obesity is on the rise in Kenya. This is according to experts who attended management of lifestyle diseases symposium held at the Laico Regency on Saturday. The key topic was managing obesity.
According to Dr Jane Kamau, a senior lecturer at Kenyatta University, we are facing a worrying rise of obesity levels as a country. She gave an anecdote of conducting a health screen test for members of her church and found out that 50 percent of them were in fact obese.
Obesity is a medical condition where the body has accumulated excessive fat. People are generally considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of the person’s height, is over 30 kg/m; the range 25–30 kg/m is defined as overweight.
The increasing rates of obesity may be attributed to sedentary lifestyles, people spend their days seated with little to no exercise. They then eat junk food from the numerous fast food joints in town. This inevitably leads to an unhealthy accumulation of body fat that can quickly turn toxic.
Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases and conditions, particularly cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetese, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer osteoathritis and depression.
Experts recommend lifestyle changes to combat obesity. They include atleast 30 minutes of exercise daily, changes in diet to healthier options and reducing high energy dense food. In some cases medications may be used and in serious cases gastric bypass surgery is recommended.
Gastric bypass surgery refers to a surgical procedure in which the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower “remnant” pouch and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect to both.
It leads to a marked reduction in the functional volume of the stomach, accompanied by an altered physiological and physical response to food.