World Obesity Day Date in the current year: March 4, 2024

World Obesity Day World Obesity Day is observed annually on March 4. It was initiated by the World Obesity Federation to raise awareness of the fact that obesity is a disease that affects 800 million people around the world and to promote efforts to reduce, prevent, and treat obesity on a global scale.

Obesity is a medical condition in which the accumulation of excess body fat may have a negative effect on one’s health. To draw the line between being overweight and being obese, the World Health Organization has adopted the body mass index (BMI), which helps assess whether a person’s body weight is normal for their height.

To calculate your BMI, you should divide your body mass in kilograms by the square of your body height in meters. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered normal, a BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, and a BMI above 30 is considered obese.

Of course, the BMI scale isn’t 100% accurate because it doesn’t take into account one’s sex (women and men have a different muscle to fat ratio), age (normal BMI is different for children, teens and the elderly), and level of fitness (very fit or athletic people can be erroneously classified as overweight due to their high muscle mass). However, it is a convenient rule of thumb to determine whether one is at risk of possible complications.

Obesity increases the risk of various medical disorders, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis, menstrual disorders and infertility, fatty liver disease, and others. One of the most recent concerns is that obesity increases the risk of developing COVID-19 complications; according to statistics, obese people are twice as likely to be hospitalized if tested positive.

Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death, alongside high blood pressure, smoking tobacco, malnutrition, STDs, poor diet, physical inactivity, alcohol, indoor air pollution, unsafe water and poor sanitation. In the United States, for example, being overweight, high blood pressure and smoking are the three most common preventable causes of death.

The top ten countries with the highest adult obesity rate are Nauru, the Cook Islands, Palau, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, and Micronesia. Interestingly, all these are Pacific island nations. The main causes of high obesity rates in the Pacific Rim are a poor diet that includes a lot of processed, salty, high-saturated-fat foods, a relatively sedentary lifestyle, and poor public health education.

World Obesity Day was created to increase awareness of the root causes of obesity and the actions needed to address then, encourage advocacy for a healthy lifestyle, create a healthy environment where obesity is prioritized as a health issue, and to share experiences to unite people from around the world.

World Obesity Day should not be confused with Anti-Obesity Day launched by Indian wellness brand VLCC in 2001. The latter is observed on November 26.

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