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The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified three different obesity levels that depend on a number of variables. The aim of identifying these levels is to assess the risk of possible secondary diseases that are caused by obesity.
Pre-obesity, the precursor to obesity
If your body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9, the preliminary stage to obesity obesity has already been reached. According to the German Obesity Society (Deutsche Adipositas-Gesellschaft or DAG in German), the risk of secondary diseases caused by obesity is still low, but it is important to be aware of the risks associated with obesity-related illnesses.
If one’s waist circumference is more than 88 centimetres for women or more than 102 centimetres for men, there is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Complications arising from poor blood circulation are also more likely. In these circumstances, doctors are concerned about an increased proportion of abdominal fat since metabolic diseases and cardiovascular disorders are more common with a higher body mass index.
Obesity Grade 1
Health experts consider grade 1 obesity (mild obesity) to be when the BMI is between 30 and 34. The German Obesity Society has pointed out that the risk of secondary diseases is already slightly increased even with grade 1 obesity. The most likely complications are:
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes mellitus type 2
- Myocardial infarction
Obesity grade 2
If the BMI value is between 35 and 39.9, health experts consider this to be grade 2 obesity (moderate obesity). In this case, obesity is already well advanced and even simple movements are now difficult. The risk of secondary diseases is correspondingly high. In particular, the risk of heart attacks and strokes is much higher than average.
Diet alone often is not sufficient to help an individual to escape from grade 2 obesity. More extreme diets such as a juice or salad diets seldom help those affected by grade 2 obesity. Moreover, strict diets can trigger the so-called yo-yo effect. In this case, the willpower needed for a diet to work decreases while cravings for unhealthy food increases. There is a risk for any weight that has been lost to return quickly. This is because extreme diets are rarely permanent, and weight can quickly return after the intensive slimming phase.
Obesity grade 3
When the BMI value climbs above 40, the most extreme form of obesity (obesity grade 3) has set in. Health experts also refer to Grade 3 obesity as permagna or morbid obesity. Serious diseases and health problems are much more likely at this stage.
Obesity is usually accompanied by other unpleasant effects such as shortness of breath, uncontrolled sweating, and severe joint pain. Psychological complaints such as self-doubt, depression, and anxiety can also be caused by severe obesity. If the body is exposed to extreme stress over a longer period of time, Grade 3 obesity can even become chronic.
At this stage, professional diet plans are often not enough. Those who are affected by grade 3 obesity need further professional help such as behavioural therapy and other expert health advice. They should also be self-reflective and rethink their eating habits, question them, and change them for the better. Occasionally, doctors also recommend surgical measures to treat obesity.
Success in the fight against obesity
The higher the degree of obesity, the more long-lasting excess weight remains. At the same time, resulting complications such as high blood pressure, fatty liver, and arteriosclerosis cannot be easily reversed. This makes it even more important to declare war on extra kilos early.
A healthy lifestyle is still the best way to keep obesity in check. Vitamins, fibre, and unsaturated fatty acids are beneficial for your body’s health. However, foods containing industrial sugar and saturated fats should only be consumed in moderation or should be avoided altogether.
Exercise, exercise, exercise
Sitting is the new smoking. Germans spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in the chair. No wonder that exercise is not enough! However, exercise is indispensable in the fight against excess kilos. We should exercise for at least one hour a day. In doing so, you can get creative by climbing stairs, taking a walk, or doing some sports in front of the TV. All this helps you integrate more exercise into everyday life.
Enlightenment is the key to success
Finding a healthy diet that suits you does not have to be difficult. It is purely a matter of education. Moreover, the earlier it begins, the better. Children need role models who can show them how to eat consciously, not only at home, but also in kindergartens, schools, leisure facilities, and clubs.
- Engin A. (2017) The Definition and Prevalence of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, vol 960. Springer, Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-48382-5_1
- Adipositas | Apotheken-Umschau
- WHO. (2000) Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. WHO Technical Report Series 894.
- Wirth, A & Hauner H. (2013) Adipositas. Springer. 4. Auflage