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Obesity Epidemic

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Obesity can be defined as a medical condition where the body accumulated fat that is in excess.  This accumulation is normally associated with health problems and risks as well as the reduction of one’s life expectancy. Obesity can be said to be caused by accumulation of excess fat in the body accompanied by lack of exercise.  In the United States and largely in the western world, Obesity is among the number one killer especially of young people (WHO report, 1999). Many young people are losing their loves to Obesity leaving their parents behind which is a very sensitive effect to the economy as the aged will be the ones in population and the energy and new ideas from the young is fading along with their lives.

In America, the number of obese young adults has been rising from 19.4% I 1997 to 24.5 percent in 2004. In 2007, the rate increased to 26.6% and if we were to go by these estimates, by 2015, the percentage of obese people will be 41% and overweight people will be estimated at 75% (WHO report, 1999).  According to history, obesity normally affected adults but nowadays, fifteen to twenty five percent of children are obese and this is likely to go on even in their adulthood. Some babies are born overweight but this is not obesity. Twenty five percent of the teens in America too are estimated to be obese or overweight which has largely been attributed to fast foods and sedentary lifestyles (Healey, 54).                                

Other than Obesity itself, it brings with it susceptibility to dangerous diseases and health problems as well some of which could include type two diabetes, certain types of cancer, breathlessness among others that will be looked at in the paper. Since the year 1980, the cases of obesity in children have doubled while it has tripled in the adolescents (Miller, 26). This is alarming as it increases the chances that the young have of exposure to health risks that come with obesity.  Even in the glare of these statistics that should cause a change, the young do not still seem to practice healthy eating habits. Fatty foods with high calories and sweets are the order of the day among young people and even when advised on healthy eating, most people will listen but just for listening sake without taking any action as they do not view themselves as unhealthy as they are still young and energetic. These habits continue until it is extremely hard to turn back or it is too late.  

The US economy is also adversely affected by this vice. A lot of money goes into hospitals to treat health problems that come with obesity for example cardiovascular diseases. Parents are forced to divert their hard earned money to medical expenses that could have been avoided in the first place and this could lower their spending power and time making them less productive members of the society which in turn is predicted in the nosedive the economy would take as a result. We are all affected by obesity either directly or indirectly and it is a condition that even affects the lives of those obese in regard to society and how the society views them. Self esteem is affected as well as their social lives in almost all aspects of life in society.  

HEALTH RISKS OF OBESITY

Apart from being a problem in itself, obesity brings with it numerous health risks that patients have to be worried about over and above the fact that they are overweight. Obesity in turn becomes not only a problem that needs exercise and dieting but one with medical checkups and monitoring, others with medical injections and expensive medicine to curb the health problems that come with it.  Obesity is viewed as the number one preventable killer in the world today. According to the World health organization definition of obesity published in 1999, the measure of obesity is shown below where BMI stands for the body mass index.

BMI

Classification

Less than 18

Underweight

18 to 25

Normal weight

25  to  30

Overweight

30 to 35

Class  one obesity

35 to 40

Class two obesity

 Above 40

Class three obesity

Obesity health related risks or problems include type 2diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis.

Abdominal obesity

For those patients with an abdominal obesity also referred to as central obesity, fat is concentrated around the stomach and they run a bigger risk of cardiovascular diseases and insulin resistance syndrome. The danger in women is a having a waist of more than thirty five inches while in men is a having a waist of more than forty inches. With a waist to hip ratio of more than 0.8 in women and more than one in men, they are referred to as apples and are exposed to greater health risks due to the distribution of fat (Miller, 19). Cardiovascular diseases are very dangerous as they constrict the heart due to fat and this could eventually lead to death.                                   

Increased premature death

It is estimated that over three hundred thousand deaths in America each year are as a result of obesity. As one’s weight increases, the risk of premature death. Ironically, increase in weight of a normal moderate gain in weight also increases the chances of death especially of persons between the ages of thirty and sixty four. Obese individuals have a fifty percent to a hundred percent risk of premature death as a result of health risks caused in comparison to people with a weight considered healthy (Healey, 22).

Researchers in the World Health Organization in their publication of 1999, their new study argues that one hundred and twelve Americans are killed every year by obesity. Obesity is considered to cause more premature death instances compared to being underweight. These facts should be enough to call the young into action against obesity while they still have the chance. We all have got dreams and aspirations and this should not be cut short while we are at our peak or before we get a chance to live out our dreams. Premature death also robs parents of their children along with their expectations of them. Premature death is robbing the society of young innovative talent that is crucial in modernization and development.

Heart disease

The obese or overweight persons run a greater risk of being affected by a number of heart diseases which include: cardiac arrests, heart attacks, chest pains and congestive heart failure (Healey, 16). They also get high blood pressure at an increased rate compared to those with a healthy weight. Obesity also causes triglycerides. All these are painful health problems that require medical attention seriously and it could all be avoided by just eating healthy and regular exercise. It is a pain we should all not be willing to bear due to our own liking. These health problems force people to live healthy and in cases where unhealthy living continues, death could occur.                           

Risk of Stroke

A blood clot in the artery which is as a result of arteries narrowing has caused many strokes. Narrowing of the arteries is increased by high blood pressure, large amounts of cholesterol and lack of exercise. Obesity causes accumulation of high cholesterol accompanied with no exercise and an increased blood pressure level. This makes obesity a very serious secondary cause of strokes. A stroke is severely painful and could paralyze somebody in any part of the body causing dysfunction. This becomes a burden to those who have to take care of you especially your parents as one cannot function fully in a particular field which is life changing. All this can be avoided by watching what we eat and exercising regularly as opposed to seating somewhere helpless without the ability to perform the simplest of life’s functions.                             

Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

When one gains weight let us say of twelve to twenty pounds, one’s risk of getting type 2diabetes is increased twice compared to those with a stable weight. Of the people with diabetes, eighty percent of these are either overweight or obese. There is a close relationship between diabetes and being obese. When you are obese, there is pressure on the body in its normal regulation of blood sugar and this makes it easier for obese persons to develop diabetes. This pressure affects the way the body controls insulin utilization. Diabetes is a disease that is a great burden both physically and economically and is even known to lead to death of some patients especially if they do not check what they eat and if they lack enough sugar in their body when desperately needed.  

Cancers

Some cancers are associated with obesity for example endometrial cancer which affects the uterine lining. There is also the risk of cancer of the colon, prostate, gall bladder, kidneys breast cancer that is post-menopausal. For women who continue to gain weight from the age of eighteen up to their mid life increase their chances of post-menopausal breast cancer twice as much if you compare to women who maintain a stable weight.

Fatty liver disease

Liver diseases are mainly caused by alcoholism but there is also the case of obesity. Due to accumulation of fat that interferes with distribution and effect of insulin that causes its resistance, there is the development of the fatty liver disease. Obesity causes insulin resistance especially abdominal or central obesity. The higher the body mass index of a patient, the higher the risk of worsening the fatty liver disease. The eventuality of the liver disease is death.

 Chronic venous insufficiency

Obesity does not directly cause chronic venous insufficiency. Nonetheless, it is a crucial factor of risk. Morbid obesity normally leads to increased blood pressure and restricts one in using their muscles of the leg properly as well as the modern sedentary lifestyle that has made efforts to eradicate manual work and moved to more mechanical and machine oriented. All these are contributors to chronic venous insufficiency. Other disorders are also likely to crop up due to obesity which could include ischemia of the lower limb which is brought about by lack of proper blood flow. 

Risk of Gallbladder Disease

In obese patients, they are likely to suffer this disease three times more compared to people with normal weight. This is due to gallstones which have a higher likelihood of manifesting themselves in obese patients. This is mostly caused by increase in their body mass index.

Breathing problems

Apnea is a condition where one’s sleep is interrupted by heavy breathing making it impossible to have a good sleep. The excessive fat that blocks airways makes this condition prevalent in obese patients. Other health problems of this nature attributed to obesity could include bronchitis, asthma, hyperventilation and insufficient respiration.                        

Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a condition normally associated with factors such as history of prior occurrence of the disease, hypertension, blood clotting and vascular damage. Obesity is associated as a factor for causing deep vein thrombosis for those with a body mass index of more than thirty. This is however disputed by modern experts and obesity is still in question as to the extremities of its cause for this condition.

Arthritis

Obese patients have got problems with blood flow to the extremities which cause muscle and skeleton disorders. This includes osteoarthritis normally evident in patients with especially mobid obesity (Gard, 174). Fat is normally concentrated from the thighs upwards and this affects the knees severely when it comes to osteoarthritis and the risk of this condition is said to increase as one gains every two pounds of weight. Mobility becomes a problem and moving from one place to the other is viewed as an uphill task that is also accompanied by muscular pain.                      

Risks to Expectant Mother and Baby

During and after pregnancy, obesity poses a very significant risk to both the baby and the mother. While pregnant, obese mothers risk the occurrence of death and the eventual death of the baby as well. The mother also runs the risk of health problems such as high blood pressure by more than ten times (WHO report, 1999). Birth defects are also risks of obesity in mothers an example which is spina bifida. After childbirth, obesity could cause endometrial infections, infections of the urinary tract and endometritis. This is quite sad. Not only does obesity cause health risks to those affected, but it also runs the risk to an innocent unborn child who could even die as a result of the mother’s obesity. This should be a wakeup call especially to women who are supposed to carry on family names and enrich the society through children. By putting these innocent lives in harm’s way through avoidable means is cruel and selfish. If we cannot do it for ourselves then we should do it for healthier future generations. Giving birth to defective babies is also cruel as there are chances to give birth to healthy babies but we selfishly do not take it. Defective babies robs them the chance of a normal life where they can be themselves and be productive members of society.              

Weight reduction and the Health Improvements

Obese patients should not view this as the end. They can still save their lives and have many chances of doing so. In losing small amounts of their weight, some health problems and risks are reduced which include heart diseases and also chances of stroke. Reducing one’s weight by a certain percentage improves the workings of the heart, reduces blood pressure as well as cholesterol in the blood. A little exercise and commitment to better healthy eating never hurt anyone and for the price of getting your life back, it is a small price to pay

Obesity and its Psychological and Social Effects

In the world today, the media is a big determinant of how we view society. the society thus views the thin or slender body type to be perfect and obese people are viewed as lazy and not normal members of society. This is hard especially for young people growing up who have to put up with stares and teasing everywhere they go. Obesity is a constant reminder as a source of stress for these people and instead of allowing depression to creep in, one should do what is best for them and their health and what makes them happy instead of living their lives for society. it is also difficult for obese people to find clothes in stores as most clothes are tailor made for what society considers “normal weight” or body type.  

Obesity and the Attitude of obese persons

Nobody would like to be obese. Very few if any in society are disgusted by their appearance especially physically as opposed to the health problems associated with obesity. Not only do those close to them complain and tease about their weight, but so do strangers in their schools, places of work and everywhere they are in society. This makes them look closely at themselves and in comparison to other people, they end up not loving themselves some of who are very kind hearted people and creative talented members of society if given a chance. Most obese persons also walk alone as their friends abandon them for not wanting to be associated with an obese person. Instead of this being the source of depression and self hate, it should be a motivation to better one’s life and health for themselves but not to try and please others. This would in turn build better confident people. 

Conclusion

Obesity is the number one killer of people in America and the sad thing is it can be avoided altogether.  It not only is a problem by itself but comes with health problems that are a danger to our lives. One is faced with not only one problem to solve but numerous health problems that not only take up one’s life but finances as well. Close family members and friends are also affected when they have to watch their loved one self destruct as well as take up most of their time, energy and money that could have been directed to better more productive use.

Pregnant obese mothers also run the risk of killing themselves and the babies they carry or giving birth to deformed babies. Obesity should be avoided from the very beginning especially by parents with their children. Watching and teaching their children on healthy eating habits should be of importance as the child grows up with instilled principles on eating habits and the consequences of unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. Through education, this problem can be controlled. For those already obese, life does not end there and they still have a fighting chance for a healthy productive life.

With exercise and healthy eating one day at a time, they will save their lives and those of others. They can still live out their dreams and be big contributing members of society who many other people can learn from and be hopeful in knowing that if another person can do it then they can do it too. We should also be supportive to obese persons and encourage them in their struggle since if the shoe was in the other foot, we would want somebody to lend a helping hand however small in encouragement. The population can be changed to consist of more young and energetic persons who will succeed their parents enviably as well as come together in the modernization and improvement of America’s economy. The greater shame is not trying.

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