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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide obesity rates have almost doubled since 1980. In 2008 alone, more than 1.4 billion adults aged 20 and older were classified as overweight and of these statistics, approximately 200 million men and 300 million women were obese. Overweight and obesity are defined as excessive or abnormal fat accumulations which could impair one’s health and decrease a person’s quality of life.
What is the difference between being overweight and obese?
Someone’s body mass index (BMI) is a simple measurement of weight-to-height ratio.
The World Health Organization definition is the following:
- People with BMI’s greater than or equal to 25 are considered overweight
- People with BMI’s greater than or equal to 30 are considered obese
A BMI reading provides the most useful evaluation to measure overweight and obesity at population levels. However, BMI should only be considered as a rudimentary guide, because it may not relate to the same degree of fatness among different people.
What causes someone to become overweight or obese?
The straightforward cause for obesity and someone becoming overweight is consuming more calories than a person expends. Globally, the causes of obesity and being overweight can be attributed to the following:
- An increase in physical inactivity due to a sedentary lifestyle
- An increased intake of calorie dense foods with a high fat content
What are the health related consequences of being obese or overweight?
Having an increased BMI can lead a person to suffer from many health-related consequences. The most common issues faced by someone who is overweight or obese include the following:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Different types of cancers
- Cardiovascular disease
What is the latest research in obesity prevention?
In a recent study done by Vanderbilt University, certain bacteria in the gut were tested and produced a “therapeutic compound” which stopped insulin resistance, weight gain and other health complications related to consuming a high fat diet. Research done in the past has shown the natural bacteria found in the gut plays a role in the development in obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Scientists now wonder if manipulation of the gut’s microbiota could lead to promoting better health.
What is GenEng?
A scientific procedure known as GenEng was epitomized when an international group of researchers illustrated just how to use genetically modified probiotics to prevent diseases. When using only specially designed bacteria, the researchers found obesity could be prevented in mice and it gave them a healthier life.
Through manipulating of bacterial DNA, the basis of GenEng, the researchers focused on ways to not only understand the nature of the genetic code, but also how to manipulate it for its benefits. During the 1970’s, scientific researchers were coming up with ways of removing, inserting and altering genes in bacteria which revealed more direction for future research.
In the beginning GenEng was used only for fundamental science, but eventually it became more prevalent to use in medical research. There was an inherent need for mass production of valuable medicine and GenEng seemed to be the answer to the issue. With certain bacteria, multiplying happened in a matter of twenty minutes, which made them indispensable for future pharmaceutical needs.