Essay on War on Obesity: an Alarming Epidemic

Submitted By skyblue222
Words: 1366
Pages: 6

An epidemic is defined as the rapid spread of disease throughout a vast region that consequently affects many individuals in an area or a population. Many associate diseases such as typhoid, the bubonic plaque, small pox, and various strains of influenza as past and present epidemics. Although, many tend to ignore one epidemic that has taken the world by surprise; obesity. In 2008, about 1.4 billion adults were classified as being overweight. According to the Worldwide Health Organization, 500 million of these adults were put into the category obese (“Obesity”). This is a staggering amount, and the rates are still climbing. Now, people tend to ignore these statistics based upon the simple fact that they refuse to believe obesity could happen to them. Maybe they are a little overweight, but diet and exercise can fix that, right? Truly, obesity can happen to anyone, and it all starts with being a few pounds overweight. Through discovering what obesity is and how it happens, what consequences it can pose to your health and the world, and how to prevent it, one will see that obesity is a major health concern in which could affect us all in drastic ways. Obesity, also called corpulence or fatness, is made possible by the over accumulation of body fat. This happens when the individual consumes more calories than the body uses, a process that leads to excess calories being converted and stored as fat around the body (Newman). To be classified as obese is to have your BMI, or your body mass index, exceed 30. Your body mass index is a complex calculation in which your weight is divided by your height. For example, to be at a healthy weight your BMI would be between 19 and 25; if it’s above that you are overweight. Continuing with this, body weight is influenced by multiple factors. There is evidence that certain mutations in genetics of some obese individuals make them more inclined to accumulate fat. This mutation is present throughout their family history and appears to cause obesity to occur along the family line. Although, for most that are obese, their conditions seem to be caused by an interaction of various circumstances and choices. As one article published in 2013 from Britannica states, “The rapid rise in obesity worldwide is likely due to major shifts in environmental factors and changes in behavior rather than a significant change in human genetics” (“Obesity”). For example, an obese mother may impose risky eating patterns upon her child. In these early periods of development, in which the child is highly susceptible to being influenced, the mother has already influenced her child to eat badly and cause the child to become possibly obese in the future. Feeding patterns like this may play an important role in the transmission of obesity, rather than the genetic transfer, from one generation to the next. Furthermore, researchers believe that the way of life an individual chooses to live or what way of life a nation encourages could be the most common cause of obesity and contribute significantly to the spread of it. As the article by Britannica later discusses, “Among affluent populations, an abundant supply of readily available high-calorie foods and beverages, coupled with increasingly sedentary living habits that markedly reduce caloric needs, can easily lead to overeating” (“Obesity”). Simply, the stresses of living in the modern world cause people to turn to an over excess of foods for comfort. Eventually with these diets that compose of saturated fats, sweeteners, and processed foods, as well as the combination of a lack of exercise, obesity appears in them. Many do not realize the consequences of what obesity can pose for your body, or many choose not to care. Statistics show that being overweight is associated with 400,000 deaths a year (Newman). Obesity increases the risk of developing a number of chronic diseases including insulin resistance (a precursor to type 2 diabetes), type 2 diabetes, hypertension,