Obesity: A Million Dollar Disease

How often can we see overweight people walking on the street, do we have family members that have this disease? (the decision to classify obesity as a disease come at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association on 2013). 

Obesity is no longer just anesthetic problem, nowadays in one of the most important health problems facing out diverse countries around the world. According to WHO (world health organization) 39% of the adults over the world haveobesity and more than 42 million children. 

People and disadvantaged social groups in terms  of income and culture suffer more illness and have less access to quality feed and a reputable information about eating habits, and also get less exercise. Therefore combat obesity contributes to maintaining fairness and equal opportunities between populations.

The importance of obesity not only lies  of the millions of people around the world with this disease, is well know that the most prominent forms of obesity reduces life expectancy, due to metabolic and circulatory complications: hypertension (40%), diabetes mellitus (30%), coronary heart disease (5%), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) (25%), respiratory failure (10%), dyslipidemia (30%), hyperuricemia (20%) and musculoskeletal  problems (40%) syndrome. In addition obese individuals are subjected to social stigma and discrimination lead to loss of self-esteem. As a consequence children have a higher prevalence  of psychopathology  and maladjustment social, marking them for lifetime.

Medical implications not only make it worthy of special attention of the medical society, also the great costs involved, both direct and indirect costs, has placed in the spotlight of the health authorities. It is estimated that in developed countries, its direct and indirect costs reach 7% of health spending total.

The pharmacology field during the past 5 decades were researching to launch drugs that can improve or eliminate the obesity. The anti-obesity drugs can work in several ways, for example by suppressing appetite, altering metabolism or inhibiting the absorption of calories but, commonly prescribed have generated serious concerns for patient safety, to the point that has just been removed from European market leaders like drug sibutramine (reductil, meridia) and rimonabant (Acomplia). A consequence of these setbacks, there are few anti-obesity drug under development.

As a consequences of the ineffective obesity drugs marked the researchers will focus the attention into the lifestyle: food consumption and exercise. According with world health organization and the national institutes of health a modification of lifestyle (consumption of healthy food & 1 hour exercise at least three days per week) produces a 7% to 10% reduction in initial weight improving clinical status associated with CVD risk factors, including the prevention of type 2 diabetes. 

The technology well used in an important contributor to decrease obesity; "new technologies, including wi-fi scales (which can automatically transmit weights from a scale to a server), smart phones and tablets (and dozens of weight loss applications, as well) should make it easier and more convenient for individuals to monitor their food intake, physical activity, and weight -behaviors that are critical for short- and long-term weight control.(1)"  

It can be concluded that changes today with the adoption of inappropriate lifestyles, scientific-technical progress and the absence of inadequacy of health policies in line with these changes, influencing the increased prevalence of obesity globally. This contributes to increased morbidity from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and cancer, also obesity and its consequences has great impact on health spending in the world.

1. Wadden TA, Webb VL, Moran CH, Bailer BA. Lifestyle Modification For Obesity: New Developments in Diet, Physical Activity and Behavior Therapy. Circulations 2012;125(9):1157-70.


Adriana Munoz, a Mexican PhD and did the MSc Pharmaceutical Science and Engineering in University of Leeds, England and an internship in Universidade Federal do Para, in Belem, Brazil. she loves writing and discuss scientific topics.

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