Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in infants, children and adults, where it is responsible for more health disorders than all the vitamin deficiencies combined. Obesity requires constant care because of the numerous complications and the predisposition it creates to common and potentially serious conditions such as Diabetes mellitus, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some forms of cancer. It is frequently associated with emotional and other psychological disturbances, all of which may interfere in a major way with the welfare of an individual, a family or a community. Obesity can be defined as an abnormal accumulation of fat in the stores of adipose tissue through out the body.
In Ayurveda it is called as Medo Roga. Ayurveda means- Ayur for life, Veda for knowledge. Ayurveda is a knowledge of life which helps in promotion of health, prevention of diseases & achieve a long life. All matter in the universe is comprised of five elements- Prithvi(Earth), Apa(Water), Teja(Fire), Vayu(Air), Akash(Ether/Sky).
They combine to form biological humors called Doshas- Vata, Pitta, Kapha. All process in our body to be governed by a balance of three doshas. Every person has a specific prakriti(Nature or the balance of Doshas unique to every individual) according to the dominancy of doshas. Well being of an individual is judged on the basis of the tridoshas. Any imbalance in the doshas, may lead to different ailments and disorders. These doshas act on the tissues of the body known as dhatus.
There are 7 dhatus in our body are – Rasa(Lymph), Rakta(Blood), Mamsa(Muscle), Meda(Fat), Asthi(Bones), Majja(Bone-Marrow), Sukra(Semen).
Meda roga or sthoulya (Obesity) is caused by excess accumulation of Meda (fat) and Vasa(Adipose tissue).
i) Genetic and environmental factors- A genetic component can be identified in many cases. Environmental considerations such as the dietetic habits of the family and economic factors are also important. Excessive intake of fried and heavy food, over eating, rich fatty and junk food, cold drinks, excessive sleep, also are responsible for increasing weight.
Many people develop the habit, taking one large meal a day, rather than three or more smaller meals. There are grounds for suggesting that such a habit is more likely to be associated with obesity than a more evenly spaced intake of the some amount of food at intervals throughout day.
ii) Physical activity- lack of proper exercise and sedentary life is more in the obese than in the lean, though the amount of energy expended by an obese person on most tasks is likely to be more because of extra weight involved. That does not, however, discount the fact that the sedentary lifestyle causes obesity and may also be caused by it since obesity also causes lethargy, shortness of breath, etc.
iii) Psychological Factors- Obese patients are often psychologically disturbed, though it may be difficult to distinguish between cause and effect. Depressed or anxious patients or the emotionally derived may seek relief in food. Many patients, especially younger adult females, are often greatly ashamed of their appearance and may be easier to treat than the older patient who has lost any ambition to recover a more youthful appearance.
iv) Endocrine factors- Adrenocortical hyper function is often associated with a gain in weight and an increase in body fat. In pregnancy, endocrine factors contribute to the increase in weight. Hypothyroidism , diminished energy expenditure may be associated with gain in weight.
The Ayurvedic point of view
Immune system mechanism of the body depends upon the agni(enzymes) and dhastus. When first dhatu rasa is defective it affects the successive dhatu, because each dahtu is nourished by the previous dhatu.
If we want to keep tridoshas in a state of health and equilibrium, Ayurveda prescribes a specific food, dincharya (daily routine), ritu charya (seasonal routine) for any specific prakriti. If a person with kapha prakriti consumes food which is sweet and heavy in nature, and indulges in a sedentary life style, sleeps during the day and performs little or no exercise whatsoever.
There is more nourishment of Meda dhatu.
Increased meda dhatu creates Shrotoavarodha(Blockage of channels)
No nourishment of further dhatus.
So there is more accumulation of Meda in the body.
Health risks of Obesity:
2) Breathing problem
3) Cardiovascular diseases
4) Fatty liver
5) Gall bladder disease
7) Hormonal abnormalities
Treatment- The single most important requirement in the management of obesity is education of the patient.
“KARSHYAMEVA VARAM STHOULYAT”- lean is always better than obese, so to avoid – Longer the waist line and shorter the life line
Follow these points
1) Diet- Any successful diet means consuming fewer calories, eating less food but healthy food. Eat a healthy breakfast, a substantial lunch and a light dinner.
• Never skip breakfast
• Eat slowly and thoroughly chew your food.
• Avoid fried food.
• Eat less, but more often
• Avoid juices, cold drinks, ice creams, and food that have high quantities of sugar
• Drink plenty of water
• Eat fibre rich food, salads (lots of cucumber)
• Avoid alcohol
• Eat Fruits- watermelon, papaya, orange.
2) Exercise -
• Morning walk, jogging
3) Panchkarma and kerala therapy - Concentrates on melting the fat and removing it from the body, tighten the muscles, detoxification this can be done by Ayurvedic massage therapy, vasthi and virechana.
a) Abhayangam and udhvanthanam with special oil suitable for the body along with udhvarthnan helps to reduce weight.
Duration of treatment – It depends upon the obesity.
Medicines- Some of them are
Meda mix etc.