Diabetes and Obesity
What is Obesity?
Obesity, meaning adiposity, is the excessive collection of fatty tissue in the body and weight increase. There are many factors determining obesity, like genetic, environmental factors, socio-economic status, metabolic diseases, medicines. Even if the general trend in patients is to make these factors primarily responsible, the most important reason for obesity is simply taking much more food than necessary.
The intensive tempo of working life at present, with a reduction of time to spend in the kitchen, has added fast and easily preaparable and consumable foods to our lives. These foods much much sugar, fat and high calories, contain little in the way of vegetables and fruits, and particularly comply with the tastes of children and juveniles. When a life away from exercise is adopted, even for the shortest distances vehicles are used, and the time spent in front of computers and TV are added to this, then obesity becomes inevitable.
What is the Connection Between Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity?
Obesity is not only an aesthetic problem, but eases the development of many diseases; Type 2 Diabetes, hyper-tension, arteriosclerotic heart diseases, menstrual cycle disturbances, increase in pregnancy complications, gallbladder stones, liver lipidosis, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and depression are some of these.
The important measurement to determine obesity is the body fat ratio. This ratio is 20-25% for females and 15-18% for males. But this measurement, even if it should be precise, is difficult to apply. Therefore, the more easily applied Body Mass Index (BMI) is used. The BMI is obtained by the division of the weight with the square of the height. The ideal is 20-25/m2. 25-30kg/m2 is defined as overweighted; 30kg/m2 and more as obese; 30kg/m2 and more as morbid obese.
We have said that body fat increases in obesity. It is also important in which region this fat is distributed. Fatty tissue in the tummy and waist area further increases the diabetes risk. There is a close relation between type 2 diabetes and obesity and 80% of persons with type 2 diabetes are fat. Obesity causes insulin resistance and this allows diabetes development. At the same time, obesity obstructs diabetes treatment and blood sugar control. Blood sugar control is much easer with weightloss and exercise, and the use of oral anti-diabetic medicine doses decrease significantly compared with obese patients.
Considering this close relation between diabetes and obesity, it is obvious that good results can be had if preventative measures are taken early. Studies performed in recent years have revealed that life style changes can prevent the conversion of Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) into Type 2 Diabetes. For example, in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study, weightloss, diet with high fibre and low fat and increased exercise have decreased the development of Type 2 Diabetes in overweight persons with Impaired Glucose Tolerance by 58%.
When we consider obesity as a chronic disease, like diabetes and hyper tension, it hase difficult and long-term treatment. Before obesity treatment becomes necessary, treatment which has many components such as exercises, low calorie diets and phychological support, it is much more important to prevent the development of obesity in the first place. Therefore it should not be forgotten that this is an issue to be dealt with at an early age. Thoughtless behaviour in supplying nutrition to children prepares the basics for obesity, since the increase of fatty cells and the adipose tissue mass during childhood are obesity preparers. This adipose tissue mass in obese persons is 5 fold more than in normal persons. And, as is now known, diets do not reduce the number of fatty cells, just their size.
Relationship Between Nutritional Habits and Obesity
Poor nutritional habits and immobile life styles indicate that obesity will appear with increasing frequency in coming years. One good thing is that whilst fatness was in the past considered an indicator for being healthy, now it is seen as a serious health problem. Through the attention given this topic and better education people are slowly realising that fat may cover a thousand faults, and may be accompanied by many diseases. The development of some diseases, with diabetes in the lead, can be prevented or retarded with proper health management, and their treatment might be easier.