a result of imbalance between the amounts
of energy intake versus the amount used. If the intake is
higher than the expenditure then the fat which is produced
is stored and the patient becomes obese.
The World Health Organization classified obesity as a disease.
It is a disease, which is associated with high morbidity
as many disorders are found in obese people (e.g. diabetes
mellitus, hypertension, osteoarthritis, hyperlipidaemia,
social, sexual and psychological diseases) and also high
mortality (high risk in dying unexpectedly from complications
play a major role in obesity by affecting the person's
metabolic rate. Life style and eating habits ie. eating
a lot of fast foods affect the population negatively.
Social and psychological
factors are also very important. Food is an addiction,
which is difficult to cure.
The statement of the International Federation for the Surgery
of Obesity in Prague 1996 summarizes the above quite well:
"Obesity is a chronic, lifelong, multifactorial,
genetically-related, life-threatening disease of excessive
fat storage with highly significant medical, psychological,
social, physical and economic co-morbidities."
300 000 Americans die every year in the USA as a result
of obesity complications. Together with the rest of the
world South Africa is also experiencing the global wave
of the Obesity Epidemic (globesity). In South Africa white
men and black women are the most affect by obesity. In a
study from the Medical Research Council in 1990 it was found
that 44% of African Women living in the Cape Peninsula were