Burden on health and emotions

Overweight is widespread. Can promote certain diseases. It usually results from an unbalanced diet and lack of exercise. A gradual change in eating habits and more physical activity are therefore the most important measures to reduce overweight.

At a glance

– More than half of all adults and about 15 percent of children and adolescents in Germany are overweight. – Obesity increases the risk of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and joint and back problems. – Weight gain may be related to hereditary predisposition, but is usually due to a diet too rich in fat and sugar and lack of exercise. – Behavioral changes, a balanced diet and exercise are the most important measures against obesity. – Overweight people also suffer psychologically from the consequences of obesity and bullying.

What is overweight?

Adults with a body mass index (BMI) of over 25 are considered overweight. BMI is calculated from body height in relation to body weight: BMI = body weight (in kilograms) divided by body height (in meters) squared. For children and adolescents, other reference values apply due to their growth.

On the BMI calculator of the BZgA you can calculate the BMI of children and adolescents (from 1 to 18 years) and compare it directly with the growth curves. Click here for BMI calculator.

Obesity can be promoted by a disease or predisposition. In most cases, however, obesity is the result of a one-sided diet, or a diet too rich in fat and sugar, and a lack of exercise.

With a BMI over 30, the body's fat content is clearly too high. One speaks then of strong predominance, Fettleibigkeit or also of "Adipositas".

Being overweight, and obesity in particular, can increase the risk of certain diseases and sometimes significantly reduce quality of life.

Important to know: Those who are overweight should not rely on crash diets for weight loss under any circumstances. Professional advice and help is offered by doctors, trained nutritionists, therapists or self-help groups.

Further information can be found on the website of the German Obesity Society (DAG).

Obesity can promote certain diseases

Diets and new nutritional philosophies are among the most frequent searches on the Internet. Not without reason: Many people in Germany, including numerous children and young people, suffer from excessive body weight and are trying to lose weight. Two-thirds of men (67%). Half of the women (53%) in Germany are overweight. A quarter of adults (23% of men and 24% of women) are severely overweight (obese).

Aiming for a normal weight is always good for your health. Because with overweight, the function of the fat cells are. Its information exchange with the other organs is disturbed. Not only does it lead to further weight gain, but it also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and even problems with the joints and musculoskeletal system.

Good for your health: Balanced diet and exercise

The main cause of obesity is that more calories are consumed in the daily diet than are needed and used.

But simply eating less, switching to crash diets or a low-calorie but at the same time low-nutrient diet is not the way to go. Healthy weight loss should be more about eating better and eating less unhealthy fats, less sugar, fast food, pasta, white bread and highly processed foods like convenience foods.

Freshly prepared meals with lots of vegetables and fiber-rich ingredients such as whole grain products and legumes are not only much healthier. They are also more satisfying and make a significant contribution to boosting fat burning and achieving and maintaining the desired weight. The choice of beverages also plays a major role, because alcohol or sugary juices and soft drinks contribute significantly to weight gain.

Another factor in obesity is lack of exercise. Our way of life has changed in recent decades so that we sit and stand much more than move, especially in the workplace. The body often lacks the exercise it needs to burn off excess calories. The good news for those who don't exercise is that even more "everyday" movement (such as climbing stairs, walking, etc.) can be beneficial.) can do a lot. Rule of thumb: 10.000 steps per day should be ideal. Take the bike more often. The stairs instead of the car or elevator. – If you use public transportation: Sometimes get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. – Go for a walk – half an hour a day can go a long way. – Combine the useful with the beautiful: a hike or bike ride on the weekend, romping with the kids, swimming in the lake in the summer, climbing or swimming indoors in the cold season.

If you want to exercise regularly, don't be afraid to try a few things – to find what's really fun and fits into your daily routine in the long run. A great side effect of regular exercise: it not only makes calories disappear, but also lifts the mood and self-confidence, which generally improves the quality of life and can also be conducive to a healthy diet.

Overweight: recognize reasons, change unfavorable habits

Overweight can have many different reasons. For some people, eating is a reward for a goal achieved. For others, stress or lack of sleep causes insulin levels to spike, which can lead to the body breaking down less fat. In such cases, it is important to identify the triggers and, for example, ensure more rest and less stress.

But habit often plays a role as well: people have become accustomed to convenient fast food due to a lack of time or have "always" eaten this way. The good news: behavior patterns can be broken step by step. Many people are surprised when they discover how uncomplicated healthy cooking can be and how good balanced, low-fat meals can taste.

Healthy eating: step by step against obesity

Bans or radical diet changes from one day to the next are not very useful, especially since they usually lead to relapses or the well-known yo-yo effect. So you should take your time and implement a healthier diet step by step without too much prere.

What can help with it:

– A food diary: Writing down what you eat provides an initial overview and the basis for new habits. – Eat smaller portions and replace unhealthy snacks like sweets and high-fat snacks with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. – Cook for yourself: Prepare simple, healthy dishes and integrate them into your daily routine. Vegetables, whole grains and legumes should be essential ingredients. – At lunchtime, gradually give up canteen meals or fast food and prefer salads you bring along or home-cooked meals. – Replace sugary and alcoholic drinks with water, unsweetened teas and highly diluted juices.

Important to know: Healthy eating should not be a torture, but should definitely be fun and enjoyable. It's best to experiment with new ideas and find out what gradually integrates well into your daily routine and comes as easily to you as possible. Only those who take the first cautious steps without coercion will learn to appreciate the positive aspects of a new way of life.

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