Myth #1: People only become obese and overweight because they do not engage in weight loss efforts including physical activity and have unhealthy eating habits.
Fact: It is important to remember that obesity is not always a behavioral issue. Although physical activity and eating habits are major contributors to obesity, there are other elements to consider in evaluating the causes of obesity. In many instances, weight loss and management efforts require a balanced combination of behavioral change, medical/scientific evaluation, and intervention. In addition, hormone disorders (metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, thyroid disease) – such as those related to the thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries, and pituitary – can contribute to obesity.
Myth #2: Obesity is only dominant in developed countries that foster indulgent lifestyles, with poor diets and lack of exercise, like the United Kingdom and the U.S.A
Fact: In economically advanced regions of developing countries, prevalence rates of obesity may be as high as rates in industrialized countries. Contrary to popular opinion, in developing countries, where malnutrition levels are high, there are also reported cases of obesity. While the exact cause of obesity is still under investigation, researchers hypothesize that rising obesity rates in developing countries may be due to societal changes such as greater food consumption and genetic adaptations that impact metabolism. In addition, a recent study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization suggests that reducing malnutrition in pregnant women could prevent childhood (pediatric) obesity. The theory is that under-nutrition in the womb may adversely affect a fetus’ metabolism – essentially training the child’s metabolism to conserve, rather than use, calories predisposing the childhood (pediatric) or adult obesity.
Myth #3: Once committed to a weight-loss regimen, obese individuals should attempt to lose a large amount of weight as quickly as possible.
Fact: Actually, weight loss – especially fat loss (more than 1.5kg per week) or loss of a large amount of weight – can increase the risk of developing gallstones. Maintaining a steady regimen of about 1/2 to 1 kg of fat per week overtime is more sustainable and less likely to cause gallstones.
Myth #4: Weight gain in women over time is healthy and part of a natural aging process.
Fact: Although metabolism may change over time, weight gain of more than 10kg is not a normal part of the maturation process and may actually increase a woman’s risk of obesity-related disease. According to a recent report on overweight and obesity published by the office of the U.S. Surgeon General, women gaining more than 10kg between age 18 and midlife double their risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, compared with women whose weight remains stable.
Myth #5: Osteoarthritis only develops when an individual gains a large amount of weight over a short time period.
Fact: Timing is not a major factor in the development of osteoarthritis. For every 1kg increase in weight, the risk of developing arthritis is increased by nine to 13 percent.
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