Are we all condemned to overweight or obesity?

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Better eating habits and regular physical activity allow you to lose weight./ Photo DDM, Nathalie Saint-Affre

Better eating habits and regular physical activity allow you to lose weight./ Photo DDM, Nathalie Saint-Affre

"Tomorrow all obese?" will be the subject of the conference given Wednesday at 18 hours at the Assezat Hotel in Toulouse. Among the speakers, Professor Philippe Valet, researcher at the Institute at the Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases and President of the French Association for Study and Research on Obesity (AFERO).

"Tomorrow all obese?", That's a very disturbing question …

The title is provocative it's true, but we can not deny that there is an increase in the percentage of obese and overweight people in the industrialized countries. Worldwide, 35% of adults today are overweight or obese. In France, 56.8% of men and 40.9% of women are overweight and we have seen a slight decrease in overweight among children since 2002.

What are the consequences of this increase in the number of obese people?

Obesity is associated with many diseases: diabetes of course but also cardiovascular problems, digestive, cancers, incidences on the reproductive system, etc. The more obese you are, the more likely you are to die.

How do we define obesity today?

It is an excessive development of fat mass (adipose tissue) and it is not defined just with BMI (body mass index). A very muscular rugby player can have a BMI of 35. We talk about healthy obesity when there are no metabolic complications. What matters is the waist (taken at the level of the navel, the threshold is 80 cm for a woman, 94 cm for a man) because it measures the visceral fat, the one that is directly in contact with the organs and that will generate malfunctions. Abdominal fat is more dangerous than the saddlebags.

Pr Philippe Valet./ DR

Is obesity a genetic disease?

No, genes do not explain everything. There is not one gene responsible for obesity but 135. In contrast, epigenetics (which is the modification of gene structures by environmental factors) is influential: children whose parents are obese are more likely to become so, because the genes that have been transmitted to them work differently. And then, of course, there is the diet become richer, fatter, sweeter, sedentary (we lost 15 km of walking a day in 150 years), the loss of sleep (we sleep 1:30 less per night 50 years ago). Obesity is complex, it comes from all that.

How to cure it ?

I am not a supporter of diets, they all lead to nutritional deficiencies, a loss of muscle and bone. Weight loss must be slow to be sustainable and be associated with regular and moderate physical activity. A person who goes from 150 kg to 135 kg will not see too much difference in his image but it will be better because with 10% less weight, it will have improved all its risk factors. We must get out of guilt and adopt a change of behavior for life.

What are the research carried out in Toulouse?

The Toulouse laboratories have long been interested in obesity, including the understanding of adipose tissue dysfunctions, the links between obesity and cancer, obesity and intestinal microbiota, and the differences between men and women.


Free Conference

The University Toulouse-Paul Sabatier, the Academy of Sciences, Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres of Toulouse, in collaboration with INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) propose the first conference-debate of the cycle of Grand opening of the season 2018-2019 this Wednesday, November 21 in Toulouse, at the Hotel d'Assézat at 18 hours.

It will have the theme "Tomorrow all obese? And will be moderated by Dr. Max Lafontan, research director emeritus Inserm, member of the Academy of Sciences, Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres. Speakers: Dr. Anne Bouloumié, Research Director Inserm, Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases of Toulouse; Pr Philippe Valet, professor of physiology, Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases of Toulouse.
Free entry.