It is pretty apparent that obesity is a worldwide concern and with it surrounding us it is hard to not notice that obesity rates have definitely increased over the years. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980 where 1.5 billion adults who are 20 years of age or over are overweight1. Obesity is defined as the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health1. Overweight individuals are at risk for many debilitating and life-threatening chronic conditions namely high blood pressure, psychosocial dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, arthritis, digestive disease and cancer1. Sounds like a lot to digest, no pun intended.
The typical notion of eating too much and getting little exercise has been associated with obesity. But leading research has indicated environmental, genetic and potentially ethnic factors may influence this growing epidemic. So all this information, all these potential causes what about ways that we can help fix this problem?
Over the last 2.5 years I have been lucky enough to be in school studying the biomedical sciences. Much of my degree has been aimed at gaining and understanding of the mechanisms behind disease and potential explanations. Although having this knowledge behind me the focus of intervention and treatment has been lacking in my education. In by no means am I devaluing my education as it has given me a very valuable outlook on disease but my hopes are to shift my future studies into treatment of disease. I suppose, you cannot treat anything without knowing how it manifests and my degree has definitely opened up my eyes to the principals of scientific study. There are tremendous amounts of ways to treat disease and simply stated I am not here to determine what is the right treatment but rather discuss treatments that intrigue me such as acupuncture.
Studies have concluded that acupuncture treatment has ben effective in procuring weight loss by affecting appetite, digestion and metabolism2. By ways of hormonal balance, happy hormones like beta-endorphin and serotonin have been reported as being increased during treatment2. This has been related to decreasing stress and particularly interesting to acupuncture reducing appetite2. Definitely something to consider for those stress eaters!
The study has suggested that there are advantages to acupuncture treatment in obesity cases. Although the study has reported promising results for acupuncture treatment I think it would be a bit naive to conclude that it will solve the obesity epidemic. Rather, the right choice of food, regular exercise and acupuncture may provide solutions to binge eating; reducing caloric intake and decreasing the fat around your ever so challenging mid-section. Look out for my personal testimony to acupuncture treatment over the next four months, perhaps my documentary of my experience with alternative therapies.
3 Image: http://www.ocfamily.com