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Obesity - Health Risks, Economic Costs
Weight-Related Health Risks and the Treatment of Obesity
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Obesity - Health Risks and Economic Costs

An increasing prevalence of obesity all over the world reflects a lack of effective measures in both prevention and treatment of obesity. Obesity as a disease has been underestimated by the lay-public as well as health care providers. However, obesity represents a substantial health problem associated with a decreased quality of life. Obesity is linked to numerous chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, gout, osteoarthritis, gall-stones, and bowel, breast and genitourinary cancers) that lead to premature disability and mortality. Health risks increase with a body mass index (BMI) over 25 in individuals 19-35 years of age and with a BMI over 27 in those 35 years of age and older. Health risks also increase with an excess accumulation of visceral fat manifested as an increase in waist circumference (> 100 cm) or in waist to hip ratio (> 0.85 for females and > 1.00 for males). According to studies carried out in different countries current economic costs of obesity represent 5-8 percent of all direct health costs. In contrast, effective treatment of obesity results in a substantial decrease in expenditures associated with pharmacotherapy of hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and osteoarthritis. Both scientists and clinicians involved in obesity research and treatment recommend to introduce the long-term weight management programs focussing more on the overall health of the participants than the weight loss per se. Therefore, it will be necessary to establish new realistic goals in the obesity management that reflect reasonable weights and recently experienced beneficial health effects of modest (5-10 percent) weight loss. Comprehensive obesity treatment consisting of low fat diet, exercise, behavioral modification, drug therapy and surgical procedures requires differentiated weight management programs modified according to the degree and type of obesity as well as to current health complications present. The Czech Society for the Study of Obesity defined a comprehensive weight reduction program carried out in weight reduction clubs, out-patient obesity clinics and in specialized departments attached to the university hospitals. In order to provide an integrated knowledge from many different disciplines connected with obesity three week postgraduate course has been organized for physicians involved in obesity management. Even the most spread weight reduction clubs in our country (STOB) are supervised by the trained counselors. The main goal of different weight management programs is to find out optimal approaches leading to long-term beneficial outcome and ameliorating the variety of disorders associated with obesity.

Source: Hainer V, Kunesova M, Parizkova J, Stunkard A. IV. interni klinika 1. LF UK a VFN, Praha.

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