Obesity, a major health problem

DOSSIERS
Beer and body weight
Obesity, a major health problem
Epidemic
Is there such a thing as a beer belly?
The relationship between beer and obesity: a Belgian survey
Obesity, a major health problem
Excessive consumption of soft drinks and fruit juice is an important cause of being overweight, especially in children. Traditional table beers are a good alternative, which are not only low in alcohol but also low in calories and do not interfere with metabolism.

Obesity is currently one of the biggest problems in the western world. In order to a tackle this problem it is absolutely essential to teach healthy eating habits, preferably as early as possible in childhood. Children and adolescents who have to contend with obesity often face problems in later life.

When is a person too fat ?

The ideal weight is not a question of fashion but one of medical science. Going by the criterion of health, the ideal weight would be the one that statistically yields the greatest life expectancy as a result of an optimum state of health and a limited risk of disease. It can be calculated whether a person is of a normal healthy weight, too light, or too heavy using the “Body Mass Index” formula.

BMI = weight (in kg) divided by height² (in metres)
Classification BMI kg/m²)
Underweight < 18,5 Normal weight 18,5 - 24,9 Overweight 25,0 - 29,9 Moderately obese 30,0 - 34,9 Seriously obese 35,0 -39,9 Very seriously obese > 40
Example of someone who weighs 81 kg and is 1.83 m high:
BMI = 81 / 1.83² = 81 / 3.34 = 24.25

This table applies to adults. For children the age, height and sex has to be considered. Growth curves are used in order to determine whether a child is too fat. Weight and length in relation to age are shown on these growth curves as percentile lines, abbreviated to P. A weight above P97 or below P3 is considered abnormal.