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Saturday, February 4, 2023

“It is believed that a person’s desire defines whether they are thin or not, but this is a big mistake”

Within the scientific program of a medical congress, it is not very common to find a task that deviates from the norm of conferences, round tables and great magisterial presentations. Even less, call for street demonstrations after discussion, for example, on precision medicine in obesity. But sometimes it happens.

At its annual meeting, the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO) has placed on its agenda this Thursday a concentration “in favor of those who suffer from obesity”. There is much to be seen, justifies Maria del Mar Malagon (Madrid, 59 years old), president of SEEDO. Starting with the most basic—that obesity is a full-blown disease, not a condition related to free choice of lifestyle habits—and continuing with the attention and awareness needed to combat one of the great epidemics of the 21st century.

Malagon, who is Scientific Deputy Director of the Maimonides Institute for Biomedical Research in Córdoba and Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Córdoba, has developed his professional career in the field of basic research. With a degree in biology, she has focused her line of work on uncovering the secrets of adipose tissue, a structure that, despite its complexity and impact on obesity, occupies barely a page of space in the study plans of her time and Captured on time, remember. Now, he assures, things have changed, findings in obesity studies have multiplied and the disease is slowly gaining ground and attention among the scientific community.

ask. Why is obesity not considered a disease?

answer. Why? It is believed that it is the desire of the person who has to define whether he is thin or not. This is part of the stigma and one of the most common misconceptions about obesity right now and it prevents it from being considered a disease. In fact, even in a professional environment, not specific to obesity, but scientific, when I say it’s a disease, everyone’s reaction is: “Well, shut up, huh?” And it’s more complicated than all of that.

P. Where is the origin of obesity? Is it multifunctional?

R. It is multifunctional. There are genes whose mutations determine the development of the disease. [mutaciones en los genes de la leptina, por ejemplo], and there are other genes that favor moderate or sequential weight gain and, with certain diets, make you more susceptible to weight gain. Other factors that are present in the openly obesogenic environment that surrounds us also have an important influence, which not only invites you to eat hypercaloric foods or drinks, but also modifies our intake – so that you eat more-; All of this, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, is a huge contributor to this obesity epidemic.

Furthermore, as if that were not enough, there are other environmental factors, such as endocrine disruption or lifestyle habits, that were not previously considered, such as sleeping hours, that affect our weight through epigenetic mechanisms and allow rapid adaptation to weight gain. Weight. We also have diseases, such as mental illnesses, for example, whose treatment causes people to gain weight. There are many other factors: Education, which reinforces eating habits or purchasing power, are important. This is why we propose a multifactorial approach, as there are many types of obesity defined by different combinations of these factors that I have mentioned.

“Until recently, having a few extra kilos was a sign of health and prosperity, but that paradigm has to change”

SEEDO President Maria del Mar Malagon

P. What does it mean for a person to be fat?

R. Obesity is a very important risk factor for the development of many other non-communicable chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and liver diseases, high blood pressure, some types of cancer and some mental illnesses. There are high chances that you will have such diseases when you are obese. On a psychological level, moreover, people with obesity internally feel that it is their fault and that the message is so dire, that even their body language will be “It’s my fault”.

P. The first thing that is noticed in an obese person is excess weight. How heavy is the stigma?

R. It depends a lot on the individual, but what harm an obese person suffers from having this disease and everything related to it is important. Because she feels sick, misunderstood and she doesn’t control the illness. And as terrifying as knowing you can’t control the disease is, it creates anxiety.

P. Does the population know what obesity means or despise it?

R. I think he doesn’t know and that’s why we need to make noise. The paradigm must change. For example, until recently, having a few extra kilos in this country was a sign of health and economic well-being, wealth. But we have to change it ruthlessly.

P. There is a movement, HAES (health at every size), which defends that health is not just a physical pattern and asserts health in all bodies and sizes. He defends that an obese person can have a good analysis. it’s possible? Can a fat person be healthy?

R. Let’s see, this one stirs up a bit of controversy. You may be fine for a while, but it’s only a matter of time before it causes problems. Obesity gallops with age, with further damage increasing as life progresses. And the length of time that you maintain that metabolic health depends on your genetics, your lifestyle… but it’s a path that we know where it can end. This doesn’t take away from the fact that a person should be proud of their body and think that their body is precious, but so is their health.

P. medicine is weight center,

R. Yes of course. We have to change the paradigm and measure not only body mass index, but body composition as well. There are thin people whose fat gets accumulated in the abdominal area. It is a matter of fat distribution and muscle loss. And this is very important.

P. One of the conference papers talks about how fat tricks the brain. How does it happen?

R. Fat sends signals. It’s like a sensor: When your fat stores become clogged, they send hormones to your brain as a satiety signal, so you don’t overeat. But, in obesity this short circuit happens. Resistance to these signals occurs, you lose control and it sends you signals to store fat and not burn it.

The obese person feels sick, misunderstood and unable to control the disease.

SEEDO President Maria del Mar Malagon

P. What are the medical options for obese people?

R. now anything. But there is great potential for pharmacological treatments in the near future. From now to 2025. But in this highly multifactorial disease many parameters have to be controlled, because since a large part of the body is affected, when we are talking about obesity, it is necessary to check that all these aspects are well controlled.

P. Bariatric surgery is one of the interventions with the longest waiting lists.

R. It is not given priority. With which, in the organization chart of a hospital, there will be more or less depending on how in demand the other surgeries are. It is true that bariatric surgery has been the solution for many, but it also has its complications. So I believe that with pharmacological treatment and a multidisciplinary approach, this type of intervention can be reduced and, although great, is not the best for all patients. It is necessary to influence individual treatment and most importantly to have more therapeutic options.

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World Nation News Desk
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