Obesity is a serious health and economic concern in modern societies that most people seem not aware of. According to Bhargava (2248), most people who are overweight are mistaken to be obese. However, there is a very thin line between obesity and overweight. There are so many concepts and beliefs on obesity (Bhargava 2249). In some communities it is considered as a sign of wealth and status, while in others, like in Greek, it was believed to be a mental illness. Most of such beliefs have some kind of facts in them but are prone to mistaking a huge body size for obese.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines both obesity and overweight as a condition of accumulation of excessive body fat that presents a health risk. However, an individual with Body Mass Index above 25 is considered overweight while one whose Body Mass Index is 30 or more is obese. Obesity and overweight was once considered as a problem only in the high income countries but is now on the rise in also low and middle- income countries. It is, indeed, one of preventable causes of deaths in the world and health authorities view it as a very lethal public health problem. Obesity was formally recognized as a Global epidemic by The World Health Organization (WHO) in 1997 (Schmidt and Salahudeen 486).
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Experts have estimated the number of obese persons to be as high as 1.72 billion. This is due to a number of factors that leads to the condition and warn that unless further actions are urgently taken, obesity may gradually cripple the financial status of health services. There are classes of obesity: severe obesity, morbid obesity and super obesity. All these classes are due to Body Mass Index being greater than or equal to35, although the values are being debated upon (Bhargava and Guthrie 720).
Obesity has some adverse effects on health of the individuals concerned. It is mostly caused by a living of sedentary lifestyle with no or negligible physical activities plus excess calorie diets although to some people it has been found to be beneficial health wise. Most people tend to avoid exercises and physical activities at all cost. Even to the already affected they will always ask whether there is any substitute to exercises whatever the cost. However, some causes of obesity are genetic and currently about a quarter of obesity cases are due to genetic factor. The lifestyles of people either pave way or eliminate the possibility of obesity and its effects into their lives (Wanless 245). Eating habits have been the conspicuous factor here.
Eating of junk foods and fast foods in the modern world has brought about the increase in the figure of the obesity cases. These foods lead to accumulation of fats in the lower abdomen even if the quantity taken is perceived to be little to occasion obesity. This is because obesity is not a matter of the quantity taken but the quality of food. These fast foods are known to contain some unsaturated fats that are accumulated in the belly. Furthermore, they contain toxins that affect the brain cells leading to addiction and eventually become genetic (Wanless 248).
The first big problem is that obese individuals usually deny their conditions not until the effect become so intense to occasion huge life risks and even death. It is said that obese people over and over again lie about their food consumption as compared to people of normal weight and this fact is supported by both calorimeter room tests and direct observation. Perhaps it is because of stigma but still one has to accept first the condition before any progress is made towards solving or containing the situation. This involves changing of eating habits and embarrassing physical activities and daily body exercises since exercise alone without change of eating habits of that individual or the otherwise will not sufficiently work. One should understand that this condition reflects a proportional decrease in ones immunity thus vulnerable and prone to infections and diseases.
Obesity leads to a number of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis, other types of cancer and diabetes type 2 that predispose to end-stage renal diseases. With one's body immunity weakened, such diseases can easily cause adverse effects to one's life. These diseases can easily claim lives of persons if nothing is done on the concerns.
Obesity still can lead to pass-on effects to the offspring of individuals who are obese. Although, excess intake of energy by children lead to hyperplasic obesity. Unlike in adults obese children are not that much in an alarming condition but it is not desirable. It may have psychological effects on a child due to stigma and discrimination or just teasing from their friends. Psychological factors are also known to be one causes of obese.
Obesity can be viewed as a health problem that has significant economic effect. Economic impacts are in terms of increasing the cost of medication and cost of awareness creation (campaigns), disadvantages in the field of employment and increase in business costs which directly or indirectly touch the financial effects on the society, corporate organizations and the government. Obesity has been found to be a discriminating edge in employments. The heavy people are perceived to be less productive and generally unreliable which causes many to miss employments or get and paid less than their normal fellows. This lowers per capita income in the victim's households thus lowering their standards of living (Manson et al 677).
Concerns have also been raised by industries dealing with transportation. Due to obesity the estimated lifetime of their assets are shorted in a way. Airline companies are facing higher fuel costs and the demands to increase the sizes or width of their seats which reflects to a respectively higher production and operation cost. On the other hand food industries are accused of being the sources of obesity. These litigations cause increase in cost of running their business while many shun from using restaurants and fast-foods joints due to the awareness created. This calls for more costs in advertisement in order to reassure their customers of their quality (Manson et al 678).
The overall effect of obesity is depletion of manpower in a state or society. Death and other incapacitations due to obesity lead to loss of worth skills and efforts in the society. Depriving the society of the capacities of these brains and efforts is depriving the society of major developments opportunities. Some of the abilities and resources of the society are diverted into taking care of the affected and their families. Policies are made from comprehensive approaches to addressing the issue of rising rates of obesity (Allison et al 1536)
The world Health Report in 2002 projected that there were more than 2.5 million deaths each year due to obesity and forecast a rise of the figure to about 5 million deaths by 2020. This is no mean feat, a more vigorous plan have to be put into place considering that all these deaths plus other effects are preventable. If there have to be a question by anyone whether obesity is a problem, the answer is not complete by the word 'yes'. Of course it is right but we are past the recognition age, we need actions towards fighting the problem of obesity.
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