Obesity and Diabetes
02 May, 2013
Obesity is an ongoing worldwide issue that every nation is subjected to. According to the World Health Organization, it has doubled in its prevalence since 1980. With the United States leading the list of the countries with the highest obesity rates, one may wonder where Georgia stands. But just because we slather our Churchxela(s) in sweet syrup, doesn’t mean we should sugarcoat the truth.
The World Health organization defines an obese individual as someone with a BMI greater than or
equal to 30. However, someone with “a BMI greater than or equal to 25” is considered overweight.
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, obesity rates in Europe have been rising, though not catching up with that of the United States.
The 2010-2015 Health Promotion Strategy for Georgia written by Philip Milner, Tata Chanturidze and Jeff Levett stated: “As a result of an unhealthy diet and low exercise, the obesity rate is increasing rapidly. The proportion of adults who are overweight (34.9%) and obese (29.4%) is high, as is the proportion of adults whose waist circumference measurements exceed optimal/physiological levels (men 38.8%, women 54.4%).”
Based on three recent surveys mentioned in the same report, obesity counts for 29.4% of the major lifestyle risk factors in Georgia. For males it is a 31.6% risk, which is higher than that of females (27.1%). It is also listed as one of the “major causes of death and morbidity” in Georgia.
Moreover, a study published by the Georgian Med News about the “parameters of physical growth in 5-6 years old children in Tbilisi” concluded from its results that “a prevalence of children having normal indices of BMI between 5 and 85 percentiles, approximately 13% of children have low weight (less than 5 percentile), approximately 18% have risk of overweight and 16% have obesity”. It seems like being underweight is not as big of a problem as is being overweight when it comes to 5-6 year olds in Georgia.
Obesity is associated with a lot of other health problems that are caused by an improper diet. The report indicated obesity and a poor diet are linked to a lot of cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease. Not to mention that the epidemic is always accompanied by another dangerous disease – diabetes. Cancer and some respiratory diseases are also listed as results of obesity and an unhealthy diet. The report states that “excess consumption of red and preserved meat may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer”, mentioning that such poor diet is very widespread in Georgia.
The World Health Organization reported the prevalence of diabetes in Georgia as 200,000. In 2008, the Embassy of Japan and the Georgian Diabetes and Endocrinological Association Union signed a contract for a diabetes prevention project.
According to a study published in 2009 by the Oxford Journal on diabetes care in Georgia, “Diabetes-related mortality in Georgia is among the worst in Europe and Central Asia”. It also stated that “while many essential inputs for diabetes care are in place, constraints within the health system hamper the delivery of accessible and affordable diabetes care”.
Needless to say, the consequences of this medical condition spread to social life as well. The excess weight hampers the development of social connections and the continuity of existing relationships. It is a universal concern that calls for more attention and awareness.