It seems like no holiday is complete without a little bit of binge eating. Here in China, that certainly includes the Chinese New Year holiday. Even if you don’t celebrate Chinese New Year the same way your Chinese friends, colleagues or relatives do, that doesn’t mean you don’t indulge in a little bit of overeating during the break!

    Our modern society is more and more accepting of different body types, but obesity remains a serious threat to global health.

    Obesity is a common problem

    A large-scale study published in the "The Lancet" medical journal in 2014 showed that the total number of overweight and obese people in the world surged from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013, and 671 million had a body mass index of more than 30kg/m2. China has the second highest number of obese people in the wold, with about 62 million [1]. In 2020, the "Report on Nutrition and Chronic Disease Status of Chinese Residents (2020)" issued by the Information Office of the State Council of China showed that 9.6% of children and adolescents are overweight, while 6.4% are obese.

    Fat isn’t all from eating

    What is the cause of obesity? Simply put, when the energy you take in greatly exceeds the energy your body uses, the excess energy causes the fat cells in the body to increase and enlarge.

    It’s easy to attribute the main cause of obesity to eating, especially right after Chinese New Year, when may of us eat vast amounts of food with family and friends.

    However, obesity is not all about what you eat. For some people, diet alone may not be enough to avoid obesity.

    Obesity and genetics

    The onset of simple obesity has a certain genetic background. Studies have shown that if one of the parents is obese, and the obesity rate of their children is about 50%; if both parents are obese, the obesity rate of their children rises to 80%.

    Mental and psychological factors, the reason behind "overeating"

    As the saying goes, "You can’t get any work done on an empty stomach.” This sounds harmless enough, but it represents a bad behavior pattern that relieves mental stress through excessive eating. Many psychological and behavioral imbalances can lead to abnormal eating patterns. For example, heartbreak may lead to long-term binge eating.

    You may have an underlying illness!

    Diseases of the endocrine and metabolic system, such as type 2 diabetes, pituitary disease, abnormal thyroid function, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc., can all manifest as weight gain or abnormal accumulation of fat.

    At this time, thoughts like "I just ate too much" and "I'm not sick, I'm chubby" may become stumbling blocks that cause you to ignore the signal from your body that remind you to seek medical examination. If you are stubborn for a few years, you may end up finding yourself requiring long-term hospitalization to deal with your medical issues.

    Of course, for most people who are overweight, unhealthy diet or abnormal eating patterns (such as night eating syndrome), and energy metabolism imbalance caused by lack of physical activity are indeed the main causes. Although you can make changes on your own, many find it is not easy to persist and maintain for a long time. What's more, the fragmented information we receive from places like social media can actually make it more difficult to practice proper nutrition and exercise.


    So, don't attribute your obesity to simply eating too much. The reasons behind your weight gain may be more serious than you think.

    Weight loss treatment requires systematic, complete, long-term, multi-disciplinary cooperation between you and a team of clinical dietitians, exercise therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, endocrinologists and even surgeons (because bariatric surgery has become a recognized, safe and effective treatment for severe obesity and obesity with metabolic syndrome).

    Let us be by your side as you seek a healthier, happier lifestyle in the future!

    Simply scan the QR code below to add the Jiahui Health Surgery WeChat, then make an appointment for an initial assessment with Dr. Louis Pan.


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