Obesity is one of the most dreaded lifestyle diseases afflicting people, both adults and children, the world over. India in particular is bearing the heavy burden of the disease, which is prevalent even among children and youngsters between the ages of 5 and 19 years. On one hand, India is a country ridden with poverty and malnutrition. On the other hand, we also have to deal with an overweight population, which is growing at an alarming rate both in rural and urban areas.
Of course, obesity is not just an issue of being overweight, but it is also directly linked to metabolic disorders like cardiovascular (heart) diseases, insulin resistance, and Type II diabetes. Thus, obesity is threatening to be an immense socio-economic and public health problem in the country.
Obesity definitely hampers the arthritis treatment because it is a pro-inflammatory state which increases the inflammatory mediator in an individual and it directly effects the knees which needs to bears the complete weigh of a human body.
Similarly smoking, isn’t good to any part of the body. The toxins released by smoking are again pro-inflammatory and arthritis is caused due to inflammation of the joint.
The basic problem of arthritis is inflammation and this two contributes to a major extent.
Other Lifestyle changes which affect the treatment are the poor exercise capacity, sedentary lifestyles, unhygienic food habits, alcohol consumption, stress and other comorbidities are some of the major reasons.
Obesity can lead to a disease known as metabolic syndrome, in which it increases the inflammatory marker like the CRP, ESR which levels will be increased in the body. So when there is an increase in inflammation, the mediators will decrease the amount of liquid in the joint and induce more friction. So this will lead to worsening of arthritis.
Ways to prevent obesity
If the underlying causes of obesity are not addressed early on life, it has the capacity to balloon into a major health issue in adulthood.
- Parents must encourage their children to participate in household activities and regular physical exercises. Consumption of junk food and snacking excessively between meals must be discouraged.
- Physical activity must not stop with childhood games and sports. It must become a part of one’s daily routine even later in life.
- Given the sedentary nature of most corporate jobs, it is essential for all of us to have a dedicated fitness regimen. Apart from sports like tennis, swimming and running, one can also try yoga and fun activities like zoomba and dancing.
- Practice healthy eating habits like eating on time, not over-eating, avoiding fatty processed foods, and eating the right kinds of food (locally available foods, whole grains, vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, beans, and fish).
- There is a pressing need for health awareness and education on healthy food habits to tackle the problem of obesity and its side effects. This must be undertaken by the community at large, including doctors, health professionals, and the workplaces.
By: Dr. Gangi Reddy T K