Unhealthy lifestyles have been associated with high levels of obesity and anorexia. Lifestyle changes are believed to have a significant effect in reducing people’s risk to anorexia and obesity. Anorexia has mainly been due to media’s obsession with very thin fashion models.
Obesity on the other hand is the opposite of anorexia. It is excessive gain of weight. This topic on healthy lifestyles caught my interest because of the realization that these two disorders with associated detrimental effects can be prevented by adoption of healthy lifestyles.
Therefore, I found it necessary to get more insight on this concept. What is more is that other people will benefit from this piece of information hence; will save a life through instigating change with regard to lifestyle. The reader needs to understand the importance of lifestyle in control and prevention of anorexia and obesity, as well as how he/she can adopt a healthy lifestyle. This paper will therefore focus on healthy lifestyles in the context of anorexia and obesity.
Anorexia is associated with excessive loss of weight from the normal due to an extreme fear of gaining weight. Anorexia is synonymous to being skinny/thin and the growing numbers of anorexia, mainly among teenagers, are due to the media’s focus on thin fashion models.
Anorexia is very prevalent among teenagers and as many as 3 in 100 teenagers are anorexic1. Unhealthy lifestyles such as avoiding food/fattening food, engaging in excessive exercise and self-induced purging cause anorexia. Healthy lifestyles that counteract these unhealthy lifestyles coupled with treatment help to avoid anorexia’s complications.
When anorexia sets in, there are major lifestyle changes that need to be implemented. To start with, an individual needs to develop a regular eating habit involving a healthy diet. Anorexia entails unhealthy lifestyles with regard to eating. The need to have regular meals that consist of a healthy diet is imperative.
This is because severe anorexia results in death due to the body’s inability to function properly. The functioning of almost every body organ is impaired to the point of death. This is attributed to irregular heart’s rhythmic action, hypokalemia, low blood pressure and related critical conditions of the body2.
Healthy lifestyles in the context of anorexia nervosa, requires one to adopt healthy eating habits. In addition, a thorough evaluation of one’s lifestyle is imperative so as to rectify that which is causing the anorexia. The essence in this case is to avoid the skinniness associated with anorexia.
Since anorexia is still an emotional disorder, a healthy lifestyle that promotes healthy stress and emotional coping mechanisms is necessary. A healthy lifestyle, when these elements are put in place, helps to prevent and counteract the effects of anorexia nervosa.
Physical activity is another element of healthy lifestyle. It is an independent protective factor against lifestyle diseases and helps to maintain an ideal body weight. It is very essential in preventing obesity but in the case of anorexia nervosa, it is not recommended. This is attributed to the fact that the body is too skinny and does not have the energy to engage in physical activity. As a matter of fact, a lot of deaths have resulted from being skinny or anorexic, and especially among women3.
Physical activity is very important in as far as maintaining an ideal body weight and reducing obesity are concerned. Physical activity helps to maintain weight by regulating energy taken in and energy expended. When used with a low calorie diet, physical activity helps to increase fat loss and preserve muscle tissue.
However, it is important for one to identify the type of activity that fits one’s daily schedule. This way, one is able to commit themselves in the routine activities. Since genetic factors cannot be ruled out with regard to causing obesity, a healthy lifestyle helps to suppress the genetic factors associated with obesity.
Obesity is a predisposing risk factor to various degenerative diseases like heart diseases and diabetes. Despite the fact that there is need to lose weight, weight should be lost in a healthy way, usually 1kg every two weeks. The contemporary world promotes inactivity because individuals are engraved in their occupational sedentariness and there are machines for practically everything hence, inactivity is high4.
Reducing the amount of fat content in food is very essential with regard to obesity. This is because, fatty foods promote gluttony and one becomes obese. Gluttony is especially evident when one is watching television. It is the excessive energy intake compared with energy spent, that results in obesity.
This subsequently leads to the increase of adipose tissue that is mainly composed of fat hence overweight. Therefore, energy balance is very important to prevent and counteract obesity. Fat balance is the critical balance takes a considerable length of time hence the need to reduce fat intake from the diet and/or engagement in physical activity to burn down this fat5. All in all, it all boils down to embracing a healthy lifestyle.
Obesity is a predisposing factor to lifestyle diseases that can be easily prevented and/or controlled by embracing a healthy lifestyle. There is still a chance to change this trend because as seen in this paper it is possible to reduce and prevent obesity while applying a healthy lifestyle.
As discussed in this paper, it is clear that physical activity and a healthy balanced diet constitute healthy living styles with regard to obesity and anorexia. Therefore, it is important that both the public and the government consider healthy lifestyles as a public health priority.
In answering the question whether I agree that it is better to be skinny, I am of the position that an ideal body weight in relation to the relevant anthropometric measurements works best. It ensures that individuals are neither too thin for their height/age (anorexia) nor overweight/obesity. This way, a healthy body weight is achieved hence, good health.
Gurr, M et al., Healthy Lifestyles: Nutrition and Physical Activity, International Life Sciences Institute, Brussels.
LaValle, JB et al., Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, LexiComp, Hudson, 2000, pp. 387-388.
University of Maryland Medical Center, Anorexia Nervosa, University of Maryland, 2011, retrieved <https://www.umms.org/ummc>
Williams, PM, J Goodie & CD Motsinger, ‘Treating eating disorders in primary care,’ Am Fam Physician, vol. 77, no. 2, 2008, pp. 187-95.
Yancey, et al., ‘Creating a Robust Health Infrastructure for Physical Activity Promotion’ American Journal of Prev Med, vol. 32, no. 1, 2006, pp. 1-11.
1 University of Maryland Medical Center, Anorexia Nervosa, University of Maryland, 2011.
2 JB LaValle, et al., Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, LexiComp, Hudson, 2000, pp. 387-388.
3 PM Williams, J Goodie & CD Motsinger, ‘Treating eating disorders in primary care,’ Am Fam Physician, vol. 77, no. 2, 2008, pp. 187-95.
4 AK Yancey, et al., ‘Creating a Robust Health Infrastructure for Physical Activity Promotion’ American Journal of Prev Med, vol. 32, no. 1, 2006, pp. 1-11.
5 M Gurr, et al., Healthy Lifestyles: Nutrition and Physical Activity, International Life Sciences Institute, Brussels.