By James Day and Michael Lucas
Obesity is considered the number one most serious health issue facing the developed world. Globally there are over one billion overweight people, and at least 400 million of these are obese. More than 40 million children under the age of 5 were overweight in 2010. An adult (aged 20 or older) who has a BMI, or body mass index, greater or equal to 25 is considered overweight. An adult (aged 20 or older) who has a BMI greater or equal to 30 is considered obese. Obesity affects countries all over the globe, such as Australia, America and India. It affects people of all ages, and of all social classes. Obesity is caused by lifestyle choices, but it can also be genetically passed down.
Age and Gender
Both the age and gender of people can cause them to have obesity. As your age increases, your body’s ability to metabolise food slows down, and you require less calories to maintain your weight. Women tend to be more overweight than men, because women have a lower resting metabolic, meaning they burn less energy at rest than men, causing them to be more overweight. Women’s metabolic rate decreases postmenopausal.
Genetics and Environment
Obesity, and thinness, tends to run in families. A study showed, that adopted children’s weight, when adults, was closer to that of their biological parents, rather than their adoptive parents. The genetic makeup of a person has more effect on the person’s weight, than the effect of the environment in which they live. There is a 75% chance that you will be the same weight as your biological mother. Many people who are genetically predisposed to obesity are able to lose weight and keep it off. Although genetics are a major cause of obesity, environmental factors such as the diet of a person, and how active a person is, can lead to obesity.
Physical and Psychological
People that are physically active require more calories than less active people to maintain their weight. Physical activity tends to decrease appetite in obese people, whilst increasing the body’s ability to metabolize fat as an energy source. Lack of daily physical activity in the last 20 years, is thought to be a major factor in the increase of obesity in our society. Psychological factors, such as negative emotions, influence obesity. Many obese people suffer from emotional and psychological issues suffer from cases of binge eating, where they eat large amounts of food, whilst feeling they can’t control how much they are eating.
Illness and Medication
It is not as common as many think, but some illnesses can lead to cases of obesity, some of these being hormone problems such as hypothyroidism, depression, and some rare brain diseases. Certain medication such as steroids and anti-depressants can have the same effect.
Obesity around the world
Australia has become the fattest nation on earth, by percentage of population being obese, with 14 million Australians being overweight or obese; 5 million of these are obese (BMI 30 or more). IF the weight gain continues at current levels, by 2025, close to 80% of all Australians adults, and a third of all children, will be overweight or obese. Smoking used to be the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia, but this has eaten by obesity, and this is now the leading cause. Obesity has become the single biggest threat health in Australia. Based on present trends, when this generation of kids is 20 their life expectancy will be shorter than that of any generation beforehand purely due to obesity. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian are 1.9 times as likely as non-indigenous Australian to be obese. The prevalence of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years, and has now become a huge problem in our society.
America is the world’s second largest nation, between 1980 and 2000 obesity rates doubled. Roughly 30% of the adult population or…