Obesity: setting the record straight
Journalist at Daily Doctor, Hélia Hakimi-Prévôt reveals the results of her survey on overweight in a very comprehensive book.
Why did you find it important to write this book?
According to the latest WHO report released in May 2022, 6 out of 10 Europeans are now overweight or obese ; 1 out of 2 French people are overweight and more than 17% are obese. This epidemic is progressing and people who are affected by it still suffer from preconceived ideas that are detrimental to their treatment. One does not become obese through gluttony, laziness or lack of willpower. Obesity is not a lifestyle choice, but, as the WHO has recognized for twenty-five years, a chronic disease.
What do we know today?
It is defined medically as an abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat, which can be detrimental to health, in particular when it is localized at the level abdominal. It has been identified that it is likely to cause 19 pathologies: diabetes, hypertension arterial diseases cardiovascular notably. It is a disease of adipose tissue: in most cases, fat cells grow until they become hypertrophic, inflamed, fibrous, and unable to store and release fat according to the body’s energy needs. The causes are always multifactorial.
People in a situation of obesity have in common to have more or less predisposing genes. Obesity occurs when these genes interact with an obesogenic environment: unbalanced diet, lack of physical activity, taking certain medications, stress, trauma suffered in childhood.
How should we treat it?
All these causes which interact between them being documented, it is obvious that there is not one, but obesity. Above all, they cannot be treated with restrictive diets. Bariatric surgery, which was improperly proposed in France a few years ago, and which must be framed by new recommendations at the start of 2023, is not enough. Management must be global, in a hygieno-dietetic environment that promotes weight loss, multidisciplinary and personalized. Doctors must take the time to unravel the life trajectory of patients, in order to be able to work on each of the causes, relying on other health professionals.
To read : The Truth About Obesity. Understanding and treating this new epidemic, Hélia Hakimi-Prévôt, ed. Robert Laffont, 360 pages, €20.90.