“Overweight-obesity” is a “chronic condition” that is linked to both increased mortality and morbidity, as it is an independent risk factor for many diseases.
It’s not just a cosmetic problem; it has quality-of-life repercussions that can also be severe.
In the last few decades, this condition has become a real epidemic.
The condition of overweight-obesity is a risk factor for the development of chronic diseases such as: Diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension, hepato-biliary diseases (affecting the liver and bile), some cancers (esophagus, pancreas, kidney, endometrium, liver, gallbladder, breast after menopause), osteoarticular diseases (affecting the bones and joints) and alterations in lipid metabolism, i.e. the ability of our body to metabolize fats effectively.
We speak of obesity (or adiposity) when we are in the presence of an excess of adipose tissue due to an incorrect lifestyle: sedentariness and excessive intake of energy (calories) with food.
A surplus of energy, which exceeds actual needs, is stored in the body as fat.
Today, the number of overweight or obese individuals in the world has exceeded one billion and includes younger age groups, especially in Italy.
From the 2017 “Okkio alla salute” survey promoted by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, it emerged that 21.3% of the sample of participating children was overweight and 9.3% was obese, thus with a total of more than 30% of children in a condition of overweight-obesity.
As for the Italian regional variability, there is a greater prevalence in the center-south. On the positive side, we can highlight that the comparison with previous surveys shows a trend of slow but steady decrease in the prevalence of obesity among children (in less than 10 years the excess weight of children has decreased by 13%).
As for the Italian adult population, according to the Osservasalute 2016 report, more than a third (35.3%) are overweight and one in ten is obese (9.8%). Overall, almost half (45.1%) of adult years have excess weight.
This percentage grows with increasing age and, in particular, overweight goes from 14% of the 18-24 years age group to 46% of the 65-74 years age group; obesity goes from 2.3% to 15.3% for the same age groups. In addition, the condition of overweight-obesity is more common among men than women (overweight: 44% men, 27.3% women; obesity: 10.8% men, 9% women).