How can I screen for and prevent metabolic obesity?
Is there any method to tell if I am metabolically obese (ie how can I tell if I am affected, are there any screening tools?), and how can I prevent metabolic obesity?
I would presume you are referring to the normal weight but metabolically obese individuals, i.e. people who are not defined as obese by BMI or weight but have features of the so-called metabolic syndrome (high lipids, high sugar, insulin resistance, high uric acid, high blood pressure, fatty liver; with increased risk for diabetes and heart problems).
Individuals with a belly, a sedentary life or sometimes genetic predisposition could be included in this category.
Typically, we screen for all those metabolic disorders eg measuring lipids, liver function tests, uric acid, blood sugar parameters, ECG, blood pressure; but I also screen for kidney function, protein leakage and thyroid function, and occasionally other tests depending on patient's history.
Diet and lifestyle modifications like an exercise regimen and occasionally medications can help.
A good weight management programmes that involve a thorough metabolic screen, as well as tailored advice from a dietician may improve many of the body metabolic parameters, hence reducing the risk for metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes and diabetes.
It should also empower the patient to make better diet and lifestyle choices after concluding the programme.
I hope this was useful.
Wishing you the best possible health,
Obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is associated with insulin resistance (where your body is resistant to the effect of insulin and requires higher levels of insulin to maintain the same level of glucose) and this often leads to the development of diabetes.
The definition takes into account a few parameters, namely your glucose levels, triglyceride levels, good cholesterol levels , blood pressure and waist circumference.
Smoking, high carbohydrate diet and lack of exercise are a few of the factors that increase your risk of having metabolic syndrome. You can prevent this by improving your lifestyle and reducing your weight.
Reducing weight by improving your diet and increasing physical activity are all important aspects of treatment. Choosing foods with low glycemic index (brown rice as opposed to white rice, wholemeal bread as opposed to white bread) and having a diet rich in vegetables and fruit.
Generally, we recommend having at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (eg brisk walking) 5 times a week, but all forms of exercise is useful.
Aerobic exercise helps you burn calories and increases your metabolism. Weight training can build muscle and this in turn improves your metabolism too, as muscle is metabolically active. If you're able to maintain this healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight, you'll reduce your risk of becoming obese.
I believe you refer to Metabolic obesity as the accumulation of visceral fat as opposed to visible fat and the complications?
If that is the case, the best way to screen is for the complications, through laboratory testing and clinical examination as Dr Salcido-Ochoa elegantly pointed out.
Visualising and quantifying visceral fat accurately without imaging is challenging.
Preventing metabolic obesity can be done through a combination of dietary, nutritional and physical activity related activities as well as medical intervention if required.
I agree with Dr Salcido-Ochoa in that any programme should integrate the various aspects of weight management in a holistic, personalised plan.