A Growing Epidemic: ObesityCarter PopelasHonors English 12January 11, 2018California Area High School AbstractObesity in both childhood and adolescents continuesto be a prevalent health issue that is still increasing in size every year (Reilly& Kelly, 2011). Research has discovered that in the United States, one inevery two adults is either overweight or obese according to their BMI (Must,Spadano, & Coakley, 1999). This goes to show that numerous people, evenoutside of the United States, are somehow affected by obesity. This epidemic isoverwhelming even those who are not obese or overweight.
Obesity takes a lotout of you, not only in costs, but also in health. This paper examines howchildhood obesity affects adulthood health wellness, the health risks andeconomic factors that go along with obesity, obesity evolving throughout thepast decades, and how research has come up with a few successful methods toprevent obesity. This paper also examines where future research could be donethat involves this topic. KeywordsObesity, overweight, epidemic, prevention, children,adults, economics, diseases, health, prevalence, B.
M.I., widespread, weight Definition of TermsB.M.
I. – A simple wayto classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’sweight, in kilograms, divided by their height squared. ( ).(W.H.O.
, 2011)Overweight – When one’sB.M.I. is greater than or equal to 25. (W.H.
O., 2011)Obesity – When one’s B.M.I.is greater than or equal to 30. (W.
H.O. – World Health Organization Literature Review Childhood Obesity Childhood obesity frequently travelsinto adulthood, which is becoming more and more of an issue as the prevalenceof childhood obesity increases worldwide. As the amount of obese childrenincreases, so does the amount of obese adults. The chronic diseases andconditions expressed in obese adults are also associated in children who areobese. These include high blood pressure, depression, skin fungal infections,and hyperlipidemia, which is a condition that causes high levels of lipids tobe in the blood.
Approximately one third of obese children grow into obeseadults. If at least one parent was overweight, the risk of having obesity as anadult is greater in both obese and non-obese children (Deckelbaum , 2001). This is one of the factors that causes the prevalence ofobesity continues to increase all over the world. The obesity continues tofollow the family until someone puts a stop to it, ends their obesity, andprevents their children from becoming obese. According to a recent study,children from the wealthiest twenty percent of families expressed the lowest frequencyof obesity according to their economic statuses (Cunningham, Kramer, , 2014). Children who are suffering fromobesity usually suffer from more psychological problems than adults do withobesity. This is because their minds are still growing and have not yet maturedinto their final form.
Obese children become targets of discrimination early intheir life because they look a little bigger than their peers do. As they growolder, the discrimination occasionally follows them throughout their lifetime. Thisis unfortunate because the discrimination has a high chance of leading to numerouspsychological factors for the individual. These factors include depression, feelings ofrejection, negative self-esteem, and withdrawal from peers. The negativeself-esteem usually affects the individual when they become adults.
This ispossibly because of the positive advice parents/guardians and teachers giveout. Once one becomes an adult, society starts to turn into a big part of theirlife. They want to look like the skinny celebrities or the fit models andactors/actresses that the media portrays as the ideal body.
This starts toimpact obese adults because they want to look like these people, but they maynever be able to. Numerous predictors of adulthoodobesity appear while the individual is still a child. A high level of BMI as achild usually predicts the individual becoming overweight or obese in theiradulthood (Deckelbaum & Williams, 2001).
It has been discovered that a highbirth weight is a worthy predictor of obesity in adulthood and has been linkedto insulin rejection. Health Risks and Economic Factorsof Obesity Obesity is one of the main causes of numerous healthconsequences and negative economic factors. According to a recent study, morethan eighty percent of obesity related deaths occurred among individuals whohad a BMI greater than thirty (Allison, Fontaine, Manson, Stevens, , 1999). There are so many health problems caused by obesity thatthey will be broken down by subcategory. The first category to discuss is themetabolism complications. The main metabolism problem caused by obesity isdiabetes.
According to the C.D.C., the Center for Disease Control andPrevention, diabetes is the number seven cause of death in the world.
Obese individualssuffer from diabetes because obesity has a high chance of rejecting insulin. Tounderstand the idea of diabetes in short, it impairs the body’s ability toproduce insulin, which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Diabetescauses the amount of glucose in the blood and urine to skyrocket to extremeamounts. Almost ninety percent of obese individuals are bound to develop typetwo diabetes in their lifetime.
There has been an increase in the prevalence ofdiabetes, which has been most likely caused by the increasing prevalence ofobesity. Other metabolic complications include dyslipidemia, which is acondition that elevates the amount of cholesterol and lipids in the blood,metabolic syndrome, which is actually a cluster of conditions that increase therisk of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, and hyperuricemia, which is an excessof uric acid in the blood (Tsigos et al., 2008) Another main category of healthproblems caused by obesity is cardiovascular disorders. Cardiovasculardisorders were the number one leading cause of death in 2012. These conditionsinclude hypertension, which is when the force of the blood is too strongagainst the artery walls. The severity of hypertension can be based on theindividual’s blood pressure. A blood pressure level above 130/80 is describedas hypertension and above 180/120 is described as severe hypertension. Coronaryheart disease is another cardiovascular disorder caused by obesity, which isdamage or disease in the heart’s major blood vessels.
Another cardiovasculardisease caused by obesity is a stroke, which is defined as interruptions to thebrain’s blood supply, which start to cause damage to the brain. (Tsigos et al.,2008) Numerous types of cancer are causedby obesity. These include major types of cancers such as liver, pancreas, andkidney.
Some other possible forms are colon, rectum, gallbladder, leukemia, andlymphoma cancer. In women, obesity has a chance to cause ovary and breastcancer after menopause. Obese men have a chance to receive prostate cancer. (Tsigoset al., 2008) Numerous other miscellaneous healthcomplications are caused by obesity. These include skin infections, inconsistencyin urine, miscarriages, infertility, and periodontal disease, which is aserious gum infection that can destroy the gum line and damage gums permanently.(Tsigos et al., 2008)As one’s B.
M.I. increases, the risk of contractingthese diseases also increases (WHO, 2011). As the current obesity epidemiccontinues, future generations may have lower life expectancies.
A high concentrationof liver enzymes tends to be a common occurrence in obese children and adults.These liver enzymes are frequently related to fatty liver, fatty hepatitis,fatty fibrosis, and cirrhosis, which are all conditions that have the abilityto greatly damage an individual’s liver. Cirrhosis can actually lead to liverfailure, which is a life-threatening condition. A reduction in body weightprompts a normal amount of liver enzymes to occur.
Overweight and obese children have atendency to be taller, have advanced age on their bones, and start to matureearlier than their peers who are not overweight or obese. Studies have shownthat an excessive gain of height usually is followed by an excessive gain ofbody weight. Overweight and obese children tend to start something called earlymaturation, which has been connected to an excessive gain of weight (Deckelbaum& Williams, 2001). Not only does obesity cause suchdiseases as stated above, but also it causes several psychological andbehavioral problems. These psychological consequences affect those who areobese and are of any age. These problems include depression, anxiety, thefeeling of chronic rejection, withdrawal from interaction with peers, and a negativeself-esteem (Deckelbaum & Williams, 2001), which can occur in both childrenand adults with obesity. Researchers are studying weather obesity causesdepression or the other way around. Both of these studies are important in theresearch of this paper because one can determine the one of the factors thatcause obesity and if obesity causes serious psychological consequences.
Along with numerous negative health andpsychological effects, obesity has a huge economic consequence that goes alongwith it. These costs will only rise as the prevalence of obesity increases andthe costs of the related health care. The total health care cost that accountfor obesity and overweight would nearly double every year, which could rangefrom about eight hundred sixty billion to about nine hundred fifty-six billionU.S. dollars by 2030.
This accounts for sixteen to eighteen percent of totalU.S. health care costs. It has been estimated that people who fell into theobese group had to pay almost one thousand more dollars than individuals whodid not have obesity paid for health care (Wang, Beydoun, Liang, Caballero,& Kumanyika, 2008). Not only has obesity cost many individuals their healthand thousands of dollars, but also the prevalence of it is on the rise. Trends of Obesity throughout theYears As one can see, obesity causes a multitude of healthrisk factors and economic consequences, and it is only affecting more and morepeople. Numerous studies have shown that the prevalence of obesity has beenincreasing over the past few decades.
Since 1975, the amount of worldwide obesityhas nearly tripled (WHO, 2011). This means that unless if we find a solution toslowing down obesity in the near future, we could see the majority of the worldsuffering from obesity. This is something that most likely no one wants to seeoccur. For now, though, we are forced to look in the past and discover why thefrequency of obesity has been increasing every year.
These increases in obesityprevalence are across all genders and of all races. They are affecting everyoneall over the world. According to a recent study, since 1960 to 2008, theprevalence of obesity in the United States among non-Hispanic white men hasincreased from twenty percent to thirty two percent, twenty one to thirty sevenpercent among non-Hispanic black men, and from twenty four to thirty sixpercent among Mexican-American men. The same article stated that the prevalenceof obesity among women in the United States increased from twenty three to thirtythree percent among non-Hispanic white women, thirty eight to forty nine percentamong non-Hispanic black women, and from thirty five to forty five percentamong Mexican-American women. Trained health technicians who were usingstandardized measuring procedures and equipment took these measurements (Ogden& Carroll,2010). These calculated states prove that obesity affects allgenders, races, and nationalities across the world. This increase in the prevalence of obesity is notonly affecting adults, but also it affects the children of this world. Theincrease is greater among adults rather than children though.
Nearly twenty twopercent of children attending preschool in the United States can be defined asoverweight and ten percent can be defined as obese. These numbers compare to eighteenpercent and eight percent respectively in 1983 (Deckelbaum & Williams, 2001). This not only occurs in industrializedcountries, such as the United States, but also developing countries all overthe world. Prevention of Obesity Obesity is an epidemic that is overwhelming a hugequantity of people from all around the world and of all ages. There have beenmany discussions and much research put into finding ways to stop, or even slowdown, obesity. For suggesting forms of prevention, researchersoccasionally sort it into five stages of development. These stages includePerinatal, Infancy, Preschool, Childhood, and Adolescence. In the Perinatalphase, having good health care, nutritional education, controlling diabetes,and helping mothers lose weight postpartum are all effective ways to start theprevention.
In the Infancy phase, it is suggested to breastfeed until about theinfant is about six months old, and then introduce solid foods after sixmonths. In addition, following the infant’s weight control carefully andproviding a balanced diet with few high calorie snacks are useful suggestions. Duringthe Preschool phase, helping develop healthy food preferences, monitoring theweight increases of the child, and encouraging child and parent nutritioneducation are some of the methods used by many parents to prevent childhoodobesity. During the childhood stage, parents are suggested to monitor theweight increase based on the child’s height, supplying nutritional education,and encouraging daily physical activity. Ways to prevent obesity in the stageof adulthood include preventing excess weight gains after growth spurts,maintaining healthy and balanced nutrition, and continuing with the daily physicalactivity (Deckelbaum & Williams, 2001). As stated above, the majority of obesity preventionis focused on starting when the child is young.
This allows them to stop theobesity and poor nutritional choices before it gets too bad in their adulthood.A lower prevalence of childhood obesity in turn shows a lower prevalence ofobesity in adulthood. Having excellentnutritional choices and daily physical activity are the two most important waysto prevent obesity.
Having those nutritional choices causes one to eat lessfood that is high in fats and sugars. It is clear that one should stay awayfrom these foods or at least eat them on rare occasions. When one has dailyphysical activity, they are going through with numerous health benefits. Physicalactivity is the number one method to prevent chronic diseases. Daily physicalactivity not only prevents obesity, but also several chronic diseases, such ascardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, depression, andosteoporosis. The higher the use of daily physical activity, the lower chancesof said chronic diseases, especially obesity and being overweight (Warburton,Nicol, & Bredin, 2006). Researchers have discovered that children who livein high-income households are less likely to become obese than their peers whoare living in lower-income neighborhoods.
Lower-income neighborhoods tend tohave not as advanced schools to educate the youth about the importance of anutritional diet and physical activity. These may provide outside schoolphysical activities, such as sports, that the students’ families are not ableto pay for. These neighborhoods have a higher chance of not having pro-healthstores, such as Whole Foods and farmer markets. They also most likely containless advanced gyms and recreational centers. Those areas that are available forthe public may not be as accessible or safe for individuals to attend.
Thisforces the children to stay inside and usually do activities such as eatingmore or watching the television. Individuals in these neighborhoods also aremore likely to purchase foods that are high in fat and sugar because they tendto be less expensive than their healthier alternatives. They also, usuallyoverwhelmed by stress and economic problems, tend to cope by indulging in saidsugary foods. Children who eat together with their families are less likely tobecome obese. One reason for this is that their families encourage healthiermeals. Another reason is that this prevents children from eating in front ofthe television, which may cause mindless eating, which is eating while notpaying attention to what and how much is being consumed (Veugelers &Fitzgerald, 2005).
Conclusion/DiscussionConsidering everything, obesity is a developingepidemic that is negatively affecting everyone all over the world. Obesechildren have a great chance of remaining obese into their adulthood. There arenumerous health risks and economic factors that affect individuals who areobese and their families. The prevalence of obesity is increasing not only inthe United States, but also numerous other countries. There has been a lot ofresearch dedicated to discovering a way to slow down, or even prevent obesity. Future ResearchIt is possible for future research to be done innumerous topics involving obesity. The main topic is the discussion on how toprevent obesity from occurring so rapidly.
Scientists have not found that oneperfect program for everyone to follow. There are already a few programs thatare able to help some individuals who are obese, but there is still a largepercentage of people that are unable to follow these methods. More research couldalso be done every year in proving the hypothesis that the prevalence ofobesity is increasing. This should not only be done in the United States, butalso other various countries. There is already research examining othercountries, but the times of research should be longer than previously recorded. References Allison, D.B.
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