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Obesity Rates at an All-Time High – Risks, Implications, and Health Education

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An individual is classified as being obese when the body mass index is 30 or higher. While obesity rates are worryingly high on a global scale, the situation in the U.S. is definitely the most troublesome, approximately 4 in 10 American adults suffering from obesity. What is even more troublesome is that the trend has seen an upraise in the sense that since the beginning of the century, obesity rates have grown from 30.5% to 39.6%, and these percentages don’t seem to be getting any lower. Seeing how the risks and implications associated with a dangerously high BMI are severe, one must wonder why people don’t take better care of their bodies and health. Health education regarding this topic is clearly needed as individuals might make better choice if they were better informed on the repercussions of their actions.

Causes

1.      Socioeconomic factors

An increased likeliness towards developing the affliction is seen in people with lower levels of education and who have lower than average incomes. The lack of education implies that they are not aware of the risks involved with poor diet habits like eating fast-foods and replacing drinking water with drinking sodas, for example. Fast-food consumption is one of the main reasons why Americans are inclined to be obese, while improper hydration makes people predisposed to gaining weight as toxins aren’t eliminated properly from their bodies. When it comes to those who have a low income, their financial situation might make it difficult at times for them to invest in healthy foods as these products tend to come at higher prices.

2.      Inactivity

A tendency towards a sedentary lifestyle can be witnessed among all people who suffer from this affliction. The lack of physical activity brought upon by the type of job performed by individuals and their lazy choices when it comes to how they spend their time when they’re not at work contribute greatly as there doesn’t exist the needed effort to burn the calories consumed during the day.

3.      Modern lifestyle

This is the most convenient era to live in as we have plenty of transportation means to get to the destinations we want to reach, so walking on foot is not the preferred choice anymore, household appliances that can handle chores which would have implied physical effort exist, which means that not even housework is what it used to be, and the electronics in our life that entertain us like the computer or TV make us sit on the couch for hours each day, forgetting about being active.

4.      Overconsumption of kilojoules

Regardless of your genes, one thing is for sure – if you consume more kilojoules than you use, fat will deposit on your body. Even people who look slim might be affected as they don’t realize the amount of fat that has gathered on their arteries as a cause of overconsumption of foods, their ‘perfect’ figures not letting on that there are health complications involved. What you should do is reduce meal sizes and spread your meals throughout the day, drink the recommended amount of water each day, and be as active as you can to use the energy you take in while eating.

5.      Poor quality food

Nutrient poor foods and drinks that come at incredibly cheap prices are readily available almost anywhere you look, which encourages people to make the wrong choices when it comes to what they introduce in their diets. Instead of drinking a glass of water, they prefer consuming the cheap juice they bought from the store as it tastes sweet, while instead of buying broccoli, for example, some turn to packaged meals that are full of artificial flavors.

6.      Genes

Genetics do play a role in the predisposition towards obesity, but it is still up to each individual to choose the right path and prevent extreme weight gain. Blaming the genes for the affliction is not alright as people who come from obese parents are aware of their predisposition and thus must make higher efforts to not go down the same path by making the needed lifestyle changes.

Risks and implications

  • Heart disease: Not keeping your weight in healthy parameters puts you at higher risk of developing coronary artery disease, which increases chances of a heart attack. Furthermore, it has been proven that individuals who are obese are at a much higher risk of developing all types of heart diseases.
  • Cancer: Per year, in the U.S., it is estimated that obesity is the cause of up to 90,000 cancer deaths, the high BMI being in direct relation with the appearance of this disease.
  • Respiratory disorders: Due to their body mass, these individuals even end up at higher risk of developing respiratory infections and disorders as their lung capacity is dramatically reduced.
  • Bone/joint damage: Evidently, our bones and joints, especially in our feet, are not designed to carry a huge amount of weight. This is why obese people suffer from more bone and joint issues like spinal disorders, back pain, and disc herniation, pressuring their bodies to handle carrying weights way over their top limit.
  • Diabetes: The leading cause of type 2 diabetes, obesity makes people who suffer from it be 10 times more likely to develop the disease. This is one of the most dreaded conditions as it not only doubles the risk of death, but it can lead to blindness, heart disease, impotence, amputations, and more.
  • Stroke: As the condition puts pressure on your entire circulatory system, it increases your risk for stroke. It also leads to the appearance of other factors that will ultimately lead to a stroke, including hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, and metabolic syndrome.

Education on the topic

A lack of education regarding proper dieting, exercise, lifestyle choices as a whole, and the implications that comes with ‘letting go’ is what has caused this trend among modern people. Even those who are faced with challenging financial situations can eat healthy foods, but a lack of information is what is actually preventing a positive change from occurring.

Hope isn’t lost when it comes to those who suffer from obesity as drastic lifestyle changes and procedures can help them lose the excess weight. However, it would be preferable for individuals to not reach the point of obesity to start with as permanent damage is done to the body, so even if the weight is lost over time, the repercussions cannot be remedied completely.

Education related to healthy living should start at home and be further explored in schools. At home, parents can prepare healthy meals for their children, encourage outdoor activities, and keep the small ones away from abusive use of electronics like their phones, laptops, gaming devices, or the TV. When it comes to education in schools, teachers can integrate lessons regarding diet and exercise during a few classes each semester to act as a reminder of the implications that come with obesity and how life quality increases when the right choices are made.

Summary:

Nearly 4 in 10 Americans classify as obese, which is extremely troubling considering the health implications of too much fat in the body. What is more worrying is that the trend isn’t only among adults but among toddlers, children, and teens as well.

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