Causes and effects of obesity

Obesity is a complex chronic disease. It arises from many different causes and does not go away on its own without treatment. The treatment of obesity is difficult, long and requires the use of various methods tailored individually to each patient.

In Poland, approx. 70% of the population is either overweight or obese. Among people with obesity of the third degree, there are more and more people with a BMI (body mass index) of 50 or more. This stage of the disease is often colloquially referred to as extreme obesity. It leads to full mobility disability and dependence on the help of others, and often to death.

Full classification of BMI according to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • Less than 18.5 – underweight
  • From 18.5 to 24.9 – normal weight
  • From 25 to 29,0 – overweight
  • From 30,0 to 34,9 – obesity of 1st degree
  • 35,0 – 39,9 – obesity of II degree
  • Above 40 – obesity of the 3rd degree, also known as giant or malignant obesity.

The environmental factors that can lead to obesity are those associated with our daily lives – including family, private and professional. It’s not just about eating foods that have too much fat, or avoiding exercise, but about many other reasons that can lead to overweight and obesity, which we are often not even aware of.

Poor nutrition, as well as family habits of preparing and eating meals, such as:

  • Eating too much
  • Eating foods that are too energy-dense
  • Eating too many meals without a 3-4 hour break between them
  • Irregular eating of meals and eating between meals “to spare”, e.g. sweet or salty snacks
  • Disruptions in meal times
  • Not eating breakfast
  • Eating one meal a day – e.g. after work,
  • Eating dinner too late – it should be eaten 2 hours before going to bed at the latest
  • Drinking sweetened beverages
  • Not eating vegetables
  • Unwillingness to try new foods

Inappropriate food shopping, including:

  • Highly processed products that provide large amounts of calories in small amounts
  • Products with preservatives, ‘enhancers’, artificial colouring
  • Fruits and vegetables whose development has been aided by chemicals
  • Choosing a product based on its price – not always, but often the cheapest products contain the most unhealthy fats and sugars, and little healthy dietary fibre
  • Succumbing to false information in the food advertising slogan

The development of civilisation, including food production, sales methods and new technologies has meant that we move less and less also to ‘get’ food. We no longer have to hunt for it (including the one in the shop), bake, pick or even drive to the shop to get it.

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