Background to the Study
Obesity is an abnormal accumulation of body fat, usually 10% or more over an individual’s ideal body weight. Obesity is associated with increased risk of illness, disability and death. The branch of medicine that deal with the study and treatment of obesity is known as bariatrics (medical dichotomy) (Bell and Goodrick, 2002). An excess of subcutaneous fat in proportion to lean body mass, excess fat accumulation is associated with increase in size (hypertrophy) as well as the number (hyperplasis) of adipose tissue cells (cited in Medical dictionary, 2008: http://dictionary-med.com).
Statement of the Problem
Obesity is a problem affecting people of all ages, racial and ethnic background, and socioeconomic status. The case of Nigeria is an exception of overweight and obesity among rural and urban Nigerians. A recent study of adults in North-Central Nigeria indicated an increase from 12% to 18% occurring between 1991 and 1998. The study actually estimated that a full 40% of all urban dwellers are overweight (Dankyau, Adeyinka, Oyebanji & Mamve, 2016). Medical data report from the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan shows that the prevalence of obesity was 6.0%, with class I obesity (86.1%) being the most common pattern. Hypertension (16.3%) was the most common primary co-morbidity; others included low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (21.7%), high low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (9.3%), high total cholesterol (7.8%), high triglyceridemia (4.7%) and diabetes mellitus (3.9%). At the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, out of the 200 deaths that were recorded, 68 were as a result of overweight (obesity); males had lower BMI compared to females (23.8kg/m2) vs. (28.1kg/m2). Overall, 63.4% (23.2% obese, 31.4% overweight) were overweight or obese and 60% had abdominal obesity. Females had higher mean waist circumference than males (92.1cm vs. 83.0cm). Data from the UBTH and central hospital shows similar trend of mortality resulting from obesity between 2008 and 2014 (that is 120 out of 1000 and 125 out of 1000 respectively). This indicates that is approximately 12%. In all, female and married women especially seem to be more likely to be obese or overweight. Hence, the need to investigate women in Irrua in respect to their nutrition knowledge which is a precursor to their obese state.
From my personal observation, rural women are even worse in regards to increasing incidence of obsession. This could probably be as a result of their excess eating habit. There is a popular saying amongst the Esan rural women which says “ebai ha lehe’ Esan”, meaning “it is food that people eat back home.” This is not peculiar to many women in Irrua. By consciously eating whatever comes their way, they imbibe unhealthy eating habit; more calories are consumed than the body burns, and the excess calories are stored as fat (adipose) tissue. That is not to say that the exact cause is clear and likely, it could arises from a complex combination of factors. Genetic factors significantly influence how the body regulates the appetite and the rate at which it turns food into energy (metabolic rate). Studies women in the study area were noticeably following a pattern of weight gain that is more closely resembled to that of their birth parents. A genetic predisposition to weight gain, however, does not automatically mean that a person will be obese. In some cases, sendentary lifestyle, Psychological factors, such as depression and low self-esteem play a role in weight gain. There are even worse beliefs that ravaging health issues ranging from hypertensions, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus to cancer diseases leads to obesity, especially among women.
But what actually is the leading cause of obesity among women in Irrua? What are the effects or consequences of obesity? Research shows that approximately 2000 deaths a year are attributed to obesity, prompting leaders in public health, such as former Surgeon in the University of Ibadan to label obesity “the third leading cause of preventable deaths in Nigeria (Owolabi, Owolabi, Ola Olorun & Amole, 2015). The rising incidence of potentially life-threatening health problems, including hypertension , Type II diabetes mellitus, coronary disease, unexplained heart attack to mention a few poses serious concern for women and the general public in Irrua, Edo State. There is need therefore ascertain their connections with nutrition knowledge of women in relation to obesity.
Scope of the Study
This study covers nutrition knowledge of obese women in Irrua township. Specifically, the study will focus on obsessed women attending clinic for one ailment or the other in Irrua Teaching Hospital. The study will attempt to find out whether these women are actually consuming too much of carbohydrates food instead of fruits and vegetables with physical exercise. The study will as well focus on the women’s pattern of staple food consumption and its effect on obesity.
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