Dietary aspects of obesity and malnutrition

Dietary aspects of obesity and malnutrition


Did you know that obesity and overweight are not the same thing? It's so. Obesity is considered to be the accumulation of fat in the body, while overweight means actual excess body weight for a given height in relation to the standards. So, these two terms are similar and related, but not identical.

According to some data, there is an increasing number of obese people; in the last three decades their numbers have tripled!

What is particularly worrying is the fact that more and more children are overweight and have poor nutrition, especially taking into account the fact that most of them have weight problems, even while growing up.

There are many reasons for the occurrence of obesity, but most important are:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Environmental factors

Increased body weight is not just a cosmetic problem; it can reduce one's quality of life and lead to a shortened life expectancy.

From a health perspective, where the excess fat is distributed in the body is very important. Thus we can distinguish from among a few types of obesity:

  • Abdominal (also known as android) which involves the accumulation of excess fat in the abdomen
  • Gynoid, which involves the accumulation of fat in the lower part of the body. This type is considered to be milder and less dangerous.

Identifying obesity is very simple and is done using the body mass index. The body mass index is determined based on your body weight and height.

BMI formula

BMI - Body mass index

Body mass - your body weight in pounds

Body height - your body height in inches

People with a normal weight have a BMI of 19-24. Overweight people have a BMI from 24 to 29, while obese people have a BMI of 30 or over.

Recommendations for overweight people

The first thing you need to do when you find that you have excess body weight is to work on your motivation and determine how much you are prepared for the challenges you need to face. Set a target and do not give up on it! Be persistent and persevere. From our experience, motivation and willingness are two of the most important preconditions for losing pounds and bringing your weight within normal limits.

Once you achieve the desired effect, do not allow yourself to return to your previous diet, because it will create a so-called yo-yo effect and you'll quickly gain back your lost pounds.

We believe that your family and friends can help you with motivation and increasing your self-esteem. Sometimes an ordinary conversation with loved ones can help you be persistent in losing pounds.

When you're ready for your weight-loss venture, you must select a reduction diet that suits your needs and engage in regular physical activity. Diet and physical activity are the foundations of success in addressing obesity.

Diet is most effective when it is specific and planned individually. Take into consideration following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Lifestyle and eating habits
  • Level of physical activity
  • Nutritional status

The goal of weight loss should be the loss of fat and not the loss of protein. Many people have tried to localize the loss of fat in certain body parts (e.g., wrapping the stomach with plastic or other materials in order to lose belly fat). However, you must know that this is neither effective nor possible. When you are losing weight, you are losing fat equally in all parts of the body where it is located.

Do not force yourself, and do not set goals/targets that are too high and too rigorous. Rapid weight loss is not good for your health and should be avoided. Those who lose weight quickly often gain back the pounds as quickly as they lost them.

Most experts recommend losing weight moderately and slowly. The initial goal should be to lose 10 percent of your initial body weight in six months.

Physical activity is equally important. Regular physical activity every day or just four times a week will greatly assist you in achieving your goals and maintaining good health.

Dietary aspects of malnutrition

The simplest definition of malnutrition is lower body weight in relation to height, or a body mass index lower than 19 (BMI < 19). Malnutrition is generally a much more serious problem than obesity because a lack of nutrients leads to a variety of disorders.

How to determine malnutrition

The criteria for determining malnutrition are given in the table below:

Table 1

The loss of more than 5% of body weight in a month or a loss of more than 10 % of body weight in 3 months
BMI lower than 20 in people under the age of 60 or BMI lower than 22 in people above the age of 60
The increase in cytokines levels
The low percentage of lean body part (< 10 %)
Albumin concentration lower than 35 g / L

These are just some of the many criteria used for this purpose. In addition to determining the body mass index as the basic criterion, it is also desirable to determine the thickness of skin folds above the triceps (the muscle located on the upper arm) and arm circumference. The speed of weight loss should always be considered; significant loss is considered to be greater than five percent a month for people who are not on a reduction diet.

The main causes of malnutrition are:

  • Poor nutrient absorption
  • Poor digestion of food
  • Inadequate food intake
  • Increased energy expenditure
  • Loss of appetite

A nutritional plan for malnutrition involves determining energy needs and protein requirements, as well as monitoring nutritional status and determining one's diet.

Diet must be determined individually and adjusted to the cause of malnutrition and the nutritional status. The goal of a diet in such people should be a gradual increase in food intake so as to create an energy surplus and increased body weight. Nutrition in such people should be:

  • Rich in vitamins
  • Rich in minerals
  • Rich in proteins
  • Rich in carbohydrates

Sometimes it is enough to simply introduce regular (more frequent but smaller) meals containing food that is attractively presented and pleasant to taste, making use of spices that stimulate the appetite. (For this purpose, it is best to use ginger.) Increased intake of foods with high energy density, such as nuts, dried fruit and juices, is also recommended.

Going to the mountains and enjoying fresh air can also be helpful in increasing body weight, as can occasional physical activity.