Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness, refers to a reduction of the total body mass. However it is broadly divided into categories.
- Unintentional Weight loss
- Intentional Weight loss
Unintentional Weight loss
It can occur due to malnourishment or an underlying disease. "Unexplained" weight loss that is not caused by a reduction in caloric intake or exercise is called Cachexia and may be a symptom of a serious medical condition. It may result in loss of body fats, loss of body fluids, muscle atrophy, or a combination of these.
It is generally regarded as a medical problem when at least 10% of a person's body weight has been lost in six months or 5% in the last month. Another criterion used for assessing weight that is too low is the body mass index (BMI).
Malnutrition can affect every function of the human body, from the cells to the most complex body functions, including,
- immune response
- wound healing
- muscle strength (including respiratory muscles)
- renal capacity and depletion leading to water and electrolyte disturbances
Such a weight loss should be identified at the earliest and should be consulted by a doctor immediately.
Intentional weight loss
It is commonly referred to as Slimming and is a result of a conscious effort to improve an actual or perceived Overweight or Obese state. Various combinations of aerobic activities like jogging, swimming or running can be used to attain intentional weight loss.
At least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity helps in keeping the body healthy and fit. However, to effectively lose or maintain weight, some people may need up to 300 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity, however it is important to consult a physiotherapist or a trainer before following a schedule.
Written by: Dr. Nensi Modi
Edited by: S. Soni