For the establishment and maintenance of an intestinal flora that contributes to a healthy metabolism in both children and adults.
Overweight or obese?
Being overweight is usually defined as a BMI between 25 -30 (kg/m2) while having a BMI > 30 is defined as obesity. In the past 30 years or so, the percentage of people who are overweight has grown significantly. The causal links are complex as many genetic factors and lifestyle components, such as eating habits and the level of physi- cal activity, the balance between energy-giving nutrients, individual metabolism and ability to regulate metabolism, all play a part.
In earlier times and throughout human history, intermittent scarcity of food would occur depending on season, population density, wars and natural disasters, so the people who survived the times of scarcity were those who were particularly good at ‘storing’ when food was plenty. We also know that babies who have been starved as foetuses and are therefore born underweight in relation to the length of the preg- nancy, adjust their ‘biological regulator’ to ‘starvation’ and are therefore coded to utilise food very efficiently so that when they are given sufficient amounts of food, there will be a greater risk that they will become overweight. This is hitting society like a boomerang now, when most societies in the world have access to energy-dense and nutrient-poor food and industrial development is gaining speed and eliminating the need for the physically demanding activity of earlier eras.
Occurrence: the high level of overweight and obese people is noticeable in many countries, independent of geographical location, ethnic composition of the popula- tion, age and gender. Table 1 shows the percentage of people who are overweight (BMI 25-29.9) and obese (BMI +30). The prevalence of both overweight and obesity is high all over the world, and that the only group with a lower prevalence is adults in Asia. This means that there is a serious mismatch between our biological needs and the overall environment that we have created.
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