Studies show that obese people take almost 3 times as much time to complete activities of daily living such as taking a bath, getting dressed, meal preparation, attending medical appointments and moving around, compared to their counterparts without obesity.
This typically results in less time for individuals living with obesity to get work done, or engage in leisure activities. At the same time, in certain instances, obese people have challenges accessing certain parts of the body, which limits their ability to perform personal hygiene activities.
Obesity also increases the risk of slips and falls, with a higher risk of injurious falls among individuals with class 2 and 3 obesity. This could be attributed to decreased balance and postural stability that is associated with severe obesity. At the same time, obesity compromises skin integrity. Obese individuals experience multiple skin problems including dryness, redness, broken skin and rashes. These are mostly experienced in areas where there is friction or where individuals have difficulty reaching to clean such as thighs and abdomen, groin, under the breasts and the limbs. Skin issues can also result from excessive sweating and excessive moisture between skin folds as well as malnutrition, all which can also slow down the healing process.
Being able to comfortably perform the activities of daily living is associated with health-related quality of life by reducing disability. However, obesity challenges the quality of life as it is experienced as a disability due to restricted participation resulting from social, personal or body functioning factors. Managing obesity therefore requires full understanding by the health care providers and close contacts of the individual, of the challenges they experience, and supporting them to have better experiences.
If you are a person living with obesity, you can be independent by practicing energy conservation strategies. This includes meal planning to manage the energy needed for daily cooking, food preparation while sitting, reorganizing your house so that things are accessible, using assistive devices for self-care activities and prioritizing household tasks.
Also keep in mind that most people including health workers are often unaware of what you are experiencing, so when you need help, ask with utmost detail.
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