Obesity is a medical state that is characterized by people having surplus fat in their body which in most instances adversely affects the general health of a person. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), People with obesity, in most cases, have their body mass index (BMS) being more than30 kg/m2. Being obese is distinguished from being overweight by the measure of BMS, whereby overweight people have a BMS of more than 25 kg/m2.
Obesity and overweight have become some of the most critical health issues facing the world. It is becoming a threat to world health and is associated with decreasing life expectancies around the world. The proportion of those affected has reached alarming levels with a report by the World Health Organization (2007) showing that in the United States alone, over 8 million children from the ages of five to nineteen and about 33 percent of adult men and women are overweight.
There are various factors that are seen as the major causes of obesity. The major factors include stress, a blend of consuming foods that have high levels of calories as well leaving a life that is sedentary in nature. Genetic predisposition has also been cited as another cause. Cases of the condition tend to run in families. Obesity can also occur as a result of psychological factors. These factors may determine a person’s eating habits. Thus, “regressive emotions like boredom or anger may cause one to overindulge in food” (Astrup et al., 2004).
The availability of easy and accessible diets that are high in empty calories, e.g., fast food and diet soda and the declining emphasis on physical fitness as a result of mechanization of work and leisure activities has meant that the rates of those being exposed to it continue to increase.
There are various symptoms and effects that are associated with obese people. According to a research done by the American Heart Association in 2007, “nearly 350,000 lives are lost as a result of obesity and that the harm to our bodies as a result of obesity surpasses that caused by smoking, alcohol and poverty.” Some of the medical conditions brought about by obesity include “high blood pressure, heart and cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancers” Sufferers may also experience sleeping and respiratory problems. People also have psychological problems, especially in the general modern society where a person’s attractiveness is measured in terms of their physical appearance. Thus these people often feel unattractive and face prejudice from the general society, which views them as being lazy.
Treatment and control of obesity is dependent on various factors. These factors include the degree of the condition, the overall wellbeing of a person and motivation of the sufferers to lose weight (p. 4). Generally, treatment involves a combination of changes in diet, programs to promote exercise and changes in behavior and also drugs. Extreme cases of obesity may require victims to undergo surgery and a combination of physical and occupational therapy to cope with everyday life.
In conclusion, obesity is one health issue that is becoming a challenge in most countries. Its causes are varied and are mostly attributed to changing lifestyles of people. There is therefore need for concerted efforts by medical practitioners and the society in general so as to contain it.
Astrup A, et al. (2004). Obesity as an adaptation to a high-fat diet: Evidence from a cross- sectional study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 59. 35-37.
WHO definition, diagnosis, and classification of diabetes mellitus and its complications. 1999. Web.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2008). Web.
American Heart Association and National Heart, and Lung Blood Institute. (2005). Diabetic Nephropathy: diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. Web.