OBESITY AND ITS REMEDIES 7
Obesityand its Remedies
Obesityand its Remedies
Theimportance of health cannot be understated as far as the overallwellbeing of a country is concerned. Indeed, it has well beenacknowledged that the health status in a particular country isdirectly related to the wellbeing of a country’s economy especiallyconsidering that only healthy people would have the physical,emotional and psychological capacity to engage in wealth creationactivities. Of course, this implies that the health sector is one ofthe most fundamental in any country, which is why enormous amounts ofany country’s GDP are dedicated to the same. Needless to say, thereare a myriad of ailments that affect Americans in differentproportions. Of particular note is the fact that a large proportionof these have gained immense interest and controversy in the recenttimes. This is the case for obesity. While there may be varyingopinions regarding obesity, it is evident that the cause and remedyfor obesity in America lies in individual lifestyles.
Recenttrends regarding the rates of obesity in America have been extremelyworrying in the recent times. Research has shown that the rates ofobesity have more than doubled in both children and adults since the70s. As much as some recent estimates insinuate that the generalrates of obesity have been constant or on a steady decline in somegroups of people, it is evident that the ailment is quite widespreadand has persistently been one of the leading public health problemsin the United States (Marks,2014).Further, there exists some substantial disparities on the basis ofdemographics such as gender and race or ethnicity, as well associoeconomic status and geographical region (Marks,2014).Nevertheless, research shows that over two thirds or 67 percent ofAmericans fall in the category of obese or overweight. On the samenote, the rates of obesity or overweight are considerably higher formHispanic and African- American women than Caucasian, and higher inthe case of Hispanic men compared to African American and Caucasianmen. Further, the rates are higher in Midwest and the South, withstudies showing an increase in the rates with increase in age.Irrespective of the statistics involved, it is evident that thelifestyle that an individual leads determines his or her probabilityof becoming obese.
First,obesity has been linked to the level of physical exercises that anindividual takes up. Indeed, there is a higher likelihood forindividuals who take little or no physical exercises to be obese thanthose who engage in the same. In a survey carried out by the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, the correlation betweensedentary lifestyles and obesity was highlighted. The researchers hadcollected information from physical examinations and from surveys soas to assess the health of Americans. The survey results considered17, 430 participants for 6 years (1988-1994) and about 400participants every year from 1995 to 2010. The survey participantsnoted the intensity, frequency and duration of exercise in theprevious month with an ideal exercise being over 150 minutes ofmoderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of intensive exercise perweek. The research showed that an increase in women who reported nophysical exercise from 19% to 52% and 11% to 43% in the case of menculminated in an increase in obesity from 25% to 45% in women and 20%to 35% in men (Ogden et al, 2014). This explained the correlationbetween physical exercise and obese. When translated into thelifestyles that individuals lead, it has been acknowledged that alarge number of people have been engrossed in their need to earn thatthey do not take much physical exercises (Ogden et al, 2014). Thishas also been worsened by the convenience that the modern world hasbrought, where individuals would rather take buses than walk or cycleto work, and would rather take a lift than climb up the stairs.
Inaddition, research has tied the occurrence of obesity to theconsumption of high calorie foods. This is, undoubtedly, lifestyleproblem. Scholars have underlined the fact that obesity or overweightemanates from an increase in the amounts of calories deposited in anindividual’s body. It is noted that the average, physically activeman requires approximately 2500 calories per day so as to maintainwhat would be a healthy weight, while a female counterpart wouldrequire about 2000 calories daily (Davieset al, 2008).As much as this seems quite high, the limit can be easily reached byconsuming certain foods. For instance, a typical hamburger, milkshakeand fries comprise of about 1500 calories. With two similar meals ina day, it goes without saying that an individual would have even morethan the required amount of calories. If this is coupled by thelifestyles of reduced inactivity in a large number of individuals,there would be a surplus of calories, which would essentially bedeposited in the body as fat (Davieset al, 2008).Unfortunately, a large number of people are too preoccupied withtheir daily tasks to make up a proper meal, in which case they end uptaking fast foods such as hamburgers and fries, which have extremelyhigh levels of calories. This would, essentially, explain theincrease in the levels of obesity and overweight in the contemporaryhuman society.
Onthe same note, obesity has been tied to poor diet, as well aslifestyle choices. Scholars have noted that obesity never occursovernight, rather it develops in a gradual manner as a result oflifestyles that involve consumption of large amounts of fast foods orprocessed foods that are high in sugars and fat, consuming too muchalcohol (which comes with an increase in calories), eating out toofrequently (where an individual may be tempted to consume a dessertor starter, which often have high sugars and fat contents), consumingmore than is necessary or taking too many sugary drinks (Skelton,2009). Further, obesity has been seen as being directly related tocomfort eating, where individuals consume higher amounts of food morefrequently as a result of depression and low self esteem that isprevalent as a result of the many pressures of the contemporary humansociety.
Needlessto say, the above notions imply that the problem can be cured bysimply changing one’s lifestyle. Indeed, it would be imperativethat individuals who are obese consume foods that have just the rightamounts of calories to prevent an addition of the same in theirbodies. This would mean that they remain in the increase in weight orcalories in their bodies would be halted (Skelton, 2009). Suchefforts may be accomplished by giving up on fast foods, alcoholicbeverages, sugary drinks or even the consumption of higher amountsthan an individual requires. This would be complemented by anincrease in the levels of physical activity that an individual takesup. Indeed, scientists have acknowledged that an increase in thelevels of physical activity would, essentially result in an increasein the consumption of energy (which, essentially, is the burning upof calories). This means that a change of lifestyle where healthierfoods are consumed in healthier quantities, coupled with an increasein the levels of physical activity would essentially result in areduction in the cases of obesity and overweight/.
Inconclusion, obesity has been one of the most prevalent epidemics inthe contemporary human society. It is defined as a condition wherethe weight of an individual is higher than what would be generallyconsidered healthy for that person’s height. Indeed, it is amedical condition where the excess body fat accumulates to the pointthat it incorporates negative effects on that person’s health,resulting in a reduction in the person’s life expectancy, as wellas an increase in health problems. While there may be numeroustheories pertaining to the occurrence of this epidemic, obesityremains a lifestyle disease (Ogden et al, 2014). Indeed, individualsbecome overweight and obese in instances where they consume higheramounts of food than they need, higher amounts of calories thannecessary or even too many sugary foods and drinks. Similarly,reduced physical activity would result in an increase in body fat orweight. This essentially means that a decrease in consumption ofhigh-calorie foods and increase in physical exercise levels wouldresult in decreased cases of obesity. This would mean fewer sugarydrinks, less alcohol consumption, reduced or eliminated consumptionof fast foods and taking up some physical exercises. This is, by allmeans, a change of lifestyle.
Davies,H. D., Fitzgerald, H. E., & Mousouli, V. (2008). Obesityin childhood and adolescence.Westport, Conn: Praeger.
Marks,J.B (2014). Obesity in America: It’s Getting Worse. AmericaDiabetes Association.Web retrieved fromhttp://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/22/1/1.full
OgdenC. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B.K., & Flegal K. M. (2014).Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States,2011-2012. Journalof the American Medical Association, 311(8),806-814.
Skelton,J.A (2009). “Prevalence and Trends of Severe Obesity Among USChildren and Adolescents.” AcademicPediatrics.Vol. 9(5):322-329.