According to the W.H.O, obesity is defined as an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair one’s health. A person is classified as obese when their Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults is at 30 or above. It's important to understand that obesity is more complex than one would instinctively think - it doesn’t simply just come down to what you eat and how much you move. In fact, the European Association for the Study of obesity has identified 12 causes of obesity, one of which is genetics. It is estimated that genetics accounts for up to 70% of one's risk of obesity. Genetic mutations inherited from our parents can heighten our risk, explaining to an extent why obesity risk is two to eight times higher for a person with a family history of obesity than a person with no family history.
Your genes may determine the amount of body fat you store and where the fat is deposited. Your genetic makeup may also play a role in determining how efficiently you convert food into energy (your metabolism) and how many calories you burn during exercise. It's important to understand the link between the cause and effect that may lead to obesity because there has been a rapid increase in obesity rates in many countries across the globe in the past 2 decades. With stats from the W.H.O estimating that in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults who were 18 years and older were overweight. Of these, over 650 million were obese. In that period, 41 million children under the age of 5 were classified as either overweight or obese, with a further 340 million children and adolescents between the ages of 5-19 also being either overweight or obese.
Obesity can lead to a number of health risks such as getting type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, currently increases your chances of experiencing severe symptoms if you catch COVID-19, and generally known to shorten one’s lifespan. At the rate at which obesity rates are surging in the UK specifically, this places a strain on the public health system. Obesity is said to be a common problem in the UK that's estimated to affect around 1 in every 4 adults, and around 1 in every 5 children aged 10 to 11. According to the latest year (2018/19) of data available from NHS:
- 11,117 hospital admissions are directly attributable to obesity, with an increase of 4% from the previous year.
- Majority of those hospitalised, 67% were men vs 60% of women were overweight or obese.
- From that group, 26% of men vs 29% of women were classified as obese.
- Wherein, 20% of year 6 children were classified as obese.
This has a massive reduction on the quality of life of the individuals affected and their families. But it is not all doom and gloom when it comes to obesity because it's a preventable disease that is also reversible. Weight loss and weight management being proven to be the way out. Making lifestyle changes like healthily cutting down on fatty and sugary food intake, eating more fruit and veggies, lowering alcohol consumption, introducing consistent physical activity as part of your regular routine would be a great start in your path to increase your energy output, and better stress and sleep management.
Utilising nutrigenomics in your weight-loss
Enter nutrigenomics - the study of genetics in relation to how you respond to nutrition based on your genetic make-up and its effect on your health. Having an in-depth understanding of your genetics allows you to make an informed decision when it comes to the food choices that you need to make in your weight loss efforts. Nutrigenomics ensures that you are informed about your optimal diet type, and the proportions of macronutrients that will lead to the most effective results.
Several genetic reports can help you understand where to put your diet and fitness focus to help reduce your risk. Your fat and carbohydrate sensitivity, for example, tells us your risk of weight gain with a diet high in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates respectively. If you have a high genetic sensitivity to these components, you can use your results to focus on the right types of carbohydrates and fats for your body and follow an optimal diet that aligns with your genetic makeup.
It's also important to keep in mind that your diet will also still need to be supplemented by active time to be more effective.
Add in some aerobic training time...
Exercising for weight loss should aim to improve your aerobic fitness levels as a start. This will allow you to be able to increase your exercise duration leading to an increase in calorie output. When starting out, steady-state cardio performed for a minimum of 45 minutes at a low intensity may be the best option. Thus it can serve as an introduction to aerobic training and help you gradually improve your aerobic capacity without running yourself to the ground too soon.
The other style of training that can be included in your weight loss exercise plan is high intensity interval training (HIIT). If you are looking to improve your aerobic capacity, high intensity cardio is the most desirable option to explore. There are also other different modes of cardio, like running, cycling, swimming etc. that you can incorporate in order to have variation in your workout for both steady state cardio and high intensity cardio. To improve aerobic fitness levels, it's recommended that you partake in a minimum of 3 days of cardiovascular exercise a week. The objective is to maintain moderate intensity for a longer period of time to increase the number of calories burnt during those sessions to lose weight.
Aerobic training response results vary from individual to individual, which means we do not have the same rate of improvements in aerobic training. Some individuals see quick improvements in their aerobic capacity and have a great potential to lose weight in terms of tolerating higher workloads relative to their aerobic fitness levels. Meanwhile, medium responders may take a little longer to improve their aerobic capacity, with low responders possibly taking the longest time to improve their aerobic fitness levels. If you want to understand which level you rate at, get a genetic test.
You can buy Circle Premium Test during Black Friday to learn and understand your predisposition to chronic lifestyle diseases like Obesity so you can take preventative measures for yourself while also empowering your whole family for a healthier future.
The test comes with reports on your overall genetic risk for developing obesity so that you can make informed decisions about your lifestyle. The test also informs you on your appetite control, and likelihood of developing a sweet tooth. Certain genetic variants, like FTO and MC4R can affect appetite control measures in your brain, and may make some more prone to overeating than others. Understanding this information can help you take measures to work with your body, instead of against it, and find ways to control portion sizes. Stress also plays an important role in weight management, more so for some than others. Your genetics can also impact your risk of stress-induced obesity and the likelihood of a revved up appetite during stressful periods. This comes down to certain genetic markers that can influence dopamine levels in your brain. Higher amounts of dopamine signals in the reward areas of the brain can lead to increased pleasure from eating calorie dense, delicious foods, leading to behaviours that can result in weight gain. Understanding your risk of stress-induced obesity can help you understand your need for stress management in your weight loss journey.
So why not take action today to get ahead of your genetic risks before they become long-term health challenges. Your genetic risk doesn't need to become your reality, you are not helpless. Prevention is always better than cure!