CCNE Accredits AUB's Nursing Programs  
Architecture Building and Science Lab Dedicayed in Name of Kamal Shair
Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute Opens
Imad Baalbaki Appointed Assistant Vice President for Development
AUB Establishes Virtual Instrumentation Center
Ziyadeh Appointed Chairman of Internal Medicine
Kibbi Joins ILDS Directors
Faculty Profile: Shadi Najjar
Faculty Profile: Daniel Asmar
Faculty Profile: Karim Nader
Asplante Honors Three AUB Professors
AUB Scientists Hope to Cure Diseases through Stem Cell Therapy
Concerns about Food and Nutrition
CRPH Win Wellcome Trust Grant
AUB Business School Set to Join Rank of Top 6 Percent in the Wolrd
Franklin Scholarship Awarded to 20 Students
Names of First batch of Franklin Scholars
Festival of Thinkers in the UAE
Project Manager Alain Eid Brings His Energy and Success to AUB
Staff Profile: Eleanor Aboussouan
An Urgent Call for Environmental Action
Lebanon's Oil Spill Revisited - 14 Months Later
AUB Hosts Meeting for Reconstruction of the South
Peruvian Diplomat Lectures at AUB
Political Science Lecture Examines Nonviolent Resistance
Iraqi Sociologist Speaks at Sociology Cafe
Learning to Teach: Mellon Summer Seminar 2007
School of Nursing Hosts Lecture on Ethics in Medicine
Volunteers at CCCL Learn about Patient Care
Physician Lectures on the Global Epidemic of Obesity
Award-winning Designer Lectures at AUB
German Architect Lectures on Contemporary Approaches to Landscape Design
JTP Equips Journalists with Survival and Management Skills
Human Rights Week Underscores Humanitarian Concerns
Recently Published
In Memoriam
Laila Baroody Awarded for Outstanding Service
Comic Posters Exhibited
Kulturzentrum Presents Opera Program in Assembly Hall
AUB Spring Concert Enthralls Audience with Early Italian Music
AUB Music Club Sells Out
November 2007 Vol. 9 No. 2

Physician Lectures on the Global Epidemic of Obesity

Dr. Camille Aizarani

Lack of time for sports must no longer be a viable excuse for the sedentary and the overweight. Family physician Camille Aizarani of AUB's Family Medicine Department says that out of each week's 168 hours, a "sparing five hours should be dedicated to what ultimately is a betterment of our daily lives."

In his lecture on November 1, entitled "Obesity and Overweight" and held in West Hall, Dr. Aizarani defined overweight as the first stage of obesity, itself defined as "the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health." The doctor stressed that both overweight and obesity are indicated by a person's body mass index (BMI), which, while it indicates overweight, cannot reveal ideal body mass. Likewise, the BMI cannot indicate the extent of intra-abdominal fat tissues, something which only an accurate measurement of a person's waist circumference can reveal.

In presenting some frightening statistics recently provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), Aizarani dispelled the popular belief that a person's genetic makeup is the most influential instigator of obesity. Because of people's increasingly sedentary lifestyles, there are now around 1.6 billion adults and 20 million children worldwide suffering from obesity and excess weight. Striking people of different ages and socioeconomic groups, this increase in body fat has become "a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability." By 2025, the grim report continued, the prevalent rate of obesity worldwide will have increased by 70 percent if the current epidemic persists.

This phenomenal increase in portliness over the past fifty years, as Dr.Aizarani argued, cannot be solely blamed on genetics, but should rather be examined in light of the confluence of factors exacerbating the epidemic. While he conceded that genetics is partly to blame, Aizarani delineated the more culpable agents fueling the increased incidence of obesity: the popular consumption of energy-dense types of food and beverages high in sugar and saturated fat, reduced physical activity due to modernity's automated, high-tech, sedentary career options, and, finally, insidious marketing stunts that lure people into unhealthy eating habits.

He also cited the most common health consequences of overweight and obesity, namely cardiovascular and degenerative joint diseases, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, gallstones, obesity-related cancers, gynecological irregularities, and sleep apnea or the infamous nighttime difficulty in breathing that obese individuals often complain of.

Aizarani emphasized that any management strategy for the obesity epidemic will require the wholesale concerted efforts of a number of social institutions, like non-governmental organizations, the school and family units, and the food and advertisement industries. At the individual level, people can reduce the incidence of obesity by exercising regularly, embracing healthy eating patterns, and seeking medical and pharmaceutical advice, of which surgery, as Aizarani put it, should usually be "the last resort." Likening obesity to other chronic diseases like hypertension, migraines, diabetes, and asthma, Aizarani concluded that obesity requires diligent lifelong management and control, because "once treatment is withdrawn, the disease will surely recur."