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Obesity in the United States

Obesity in the United States

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Letter

Obesity is a condition that has led to the death of many individuals who could have otherwise prevented their unconventional demises, were they educated about the dangers of the medical condition. It is important to understand obesity as it is a trait associated with the American culture and society. Therefore, the medical condition does not respond to the victims but also to the members of the public comprising both children and adults.

Table of Contents

Background Information ……………………………………………………4

Stratification of obesity ……………………………………………………..5

Effects on Health ……………………………………………………………5

Mortality …………………………………………………………………… 6

Morbidity …………………………………………………………………… 6

Causes of Obesity …………………………………………………………..7

Diet …………………………………………………………………………7

Sedentary Lifestyle …………………………………………………………8

Conclusion ………………………………………………………………….8

Recommendations ………………………………………………………….8

Education Sector ……………………………………………………………8

The Government …………………………………………………………….9

List of Illustrations

Figure 1: Obesity levels according to age

Figure 2: Percentage of obese adults in relation to smoking

Executive Summary

The report seeks to explore on the classification of obesity, effects of obesity on health, causes that lead to the medical condition as well as the various recommendations that can be advocated to accommodate the condition and prevent it from causing more detrimental harm to the American society.

Introduction

The term obesity is usually associated with the popular American culture, which is characterized by precarious and health detrimental lifestyles. Such lifestyles usually involve the consumption of various foodstuffs, socially defined as fast foods, which are widely popular especially among the youth in the United States. The over consumption of such foods such as French fries, chocolates, burgers and other fatty foods have led to a rapid elevation in the percentage of obesity in American citizens affecting both young people as well as the adults in the American society.

Background Information

Stratification of obesity

Obesity is a state of ill health that is characterized by the accumulation of excess fat in the body to the extent or degree the excess fat creates adverse health effects, causing decrease in the rate of life expectancy and an increase in various health problems. The health condition is denoted by the Body Mass Index (BMI) and consequently evaluated through the criterion of distribution of fat through the ratio of the waist to the hip and sum of cardiovascular risk aspects. The BMI is also related to the percentage of body fat and the sum of the body fat. People suffering from obesity are termed as obese. BMI, which is denoted as Kilograms per meters squared (kg/m2) is usually calculated by dividing an individual’s mass in units of kilograms for every unit square of the individual’s height, in meters. This is because obesity is measured whereby one’s BMI exceeds 30 kg/m2. However, the BMI only focuses on the individual’s weight and height without incorporating other factors such as variations between persons in amounts of body mass such as muscle mass. The other criterion for determining obesity is the waist –hip ratio. The waist hip ratio is obtained by dividing the circumference of the waist by the circumference of the hips. The waist-hip ratio to determine obesity differs from country to country. The ratio to determine central obesity in the nation should be greater than 0.9 for men and 0.85 for women. The body fat percentage expresses the total fat of the body as a percentage of the sum body weight.

Effects on Health

The fact that obesity is listed as a medical condition indicates the prevalence of the health condition to other diseases. Obesity increases a person’s susceptibility to various diseases. Most of these diseases arising from obesity are cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus II, variations of cancer and asthma. Moreover, obesity leads to a decrease in life expectancy.

Mortality

Obesity leads in the list of preventable causes of death around the world (Barness & Opitz, 2007). Research carried out large scale in America has discovered that the risk of mortality is at its least at a BMI of 20-25 kg/m2 in those who do not actively smoke, and 24-27 kg/m2 in smokers. Additionally, obesity has caused an excess of 111909 to 365000 deaths each year nationwide (Gonzalez, 2000). On average, obesity decreases the expected length of life by around six years. A BMI of 30-35 reduces the expected length of life by two to a maximum of four years whereas a BMI greater than 40 reduces an individual’s life expectancy by 10 years.

Morbidity

Obesity raises the possibility of acquiring numerous mental and physical ailments. These ailments are usually indicated in various medical disorders such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol in blood and diabetes mellitus II. The complications are caused either directly or indirectly by obesity since they are related in terms of their respective causatives. Such causatives are mechanisms that characterize the common factor leading to the complications. These mechanisms include poor diets or sedentary lifestyles. However, the strength of the relationship between obesity and definite conditions differs. One of the strongest relationships is denoted by the association that exists between obesity as well as diabetes mellitus II. Excess body fat is the cause of 64% and 77% of diabetic cases in men and women respectively (Seidell, 2005). Furthermore, the health consequences are categorized in two classes: the complications characteristic of the consequences of elevated mass and those caused due to increased fat cells. Either way, both states indicate an increase in body fat or mass. Increase in body mass adjusts the body’s reaction to insulin causing resistance to insulin.

Causes of Obesity

Most instances of obesity at an individual level are identified by an amalgamation of excessive intake of food energy and a deficiency in taking part in physical activity. Few obesity cases result from other complex factors such as genetics, psychiatric infirmity and other medical reasons. In contrast, occurrences of obesity at a community plane are attributed to the notion that diet is easily available and appetizing, increase in the reliance on vehicles and autonomous manufacturing. Other causatives attributed to obesity comprise factors such as inadequate sleep, environmental pollutants, late pregnancy, generational factors, decreased smoking (since smoking reduces appetite), and increased medication ingestion.

Diet

Diet has a compelling function in the advancement of obesity. This is because a variety of factors such as advertisements, cultural influences, food availability, personal preferences and pricing influence the method and quantity of what a person consumes. Regarded as diet, fast food meals lead to the increase in the obesity levels. For instance, the consumption of sweetened drinks is attributed to increase in the percentage of individuals with obesity nationwide. The portion size is also another obesity indicator. This is because many restaurant meals such as hamburgers are 2 to 5 times larger than they were in the 1980s (Ledikwe, Martins & Rolls, 2005). Sugar consumption is also another major cause. According to Malik et al. (2006), the consumption of sweetened substances such as beverages is directly proportional to the obesity epidemic in the United States among both grownups and young ones. This is as a result of substances that contain sucrose and fructose, which amount to weight gain because of increased energy intake. Social policies have also led to diet change because of the decrease in the price of food in the United States. The decrease is attributed to agricultural policies and modus operandi. According to Pollan (2007), the increase in the availability of processed food has been attributed to subsidization of corn, wheat and rice in the United States.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Inactive lifestyles are also attributed to the list of causes of obesity. Throughout the United States, there has been a considerable shift towards reduction in physical work. This is because there is an increasing use of autonomous transportation and a larger pervasiveness of automatic technology at people’s abodes. Taking part in physical activity among children is also declining due to a decrease in physical education and walking. According to Brownson and Boehmer (2005), leisure time for physical activity in the United States has not changed despite the decrease in physical activity. Furthermore, other factors such as television viewing and video games have been attributed to increasing obesity rates as part of sedentary lifestyles.

Conclusion

Obesity is a state of ill health that is rapidly advancing in the American society. The condition has led to many deaths, which could be avoided if the right measures and steps are taken. Obesity is avoidable since majority of its causes are causes that can be avoided individually and without incurring costs.

Recommendations

There are various recommendations that have been devised to promote awareness over obesity as well create methods and techniques that can assist people to combat the medical condition since every person is at risk of becoming obese if not careful with their health.

Education Sector

Foremost, vending machines should be interdicted in the public schools to prevent the intake of sweetened substances. Children should also be able to dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes to physical activity each day in all educational settings. All schools and educational facilities should be encouraged to develop policies that promote healthy eating by addressing school meals.

The Government

The United States government should examine the impact of fiscal policies on consumer purchasing in relation to impact on obesity. For instance, assessment on taxation promoting healthy eating and active lifestyle should be conducted by the Finance department. The government should also work together with international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) to govern trade activities by encouraging their trade of healthy foodstuff. Furthermore, the government should regulate advertisements by showing beneficial advertisements relating to food consumption to children.

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