What is obesity? Is it the same as being overweight?
Obesity is defined as an individual with excessive body weight. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that more than one-third of adults and more than 17% of all youths in the United States are obese. People sometimes confuse obese with overweight. However, they are not the same. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 equals overweight and a BMI greater or equal to 30 equals obesity. BMI is defined as the body mass index of an individual and is calculated with 2 variables; weight and height. A person’s weight in kilograms (kg) divided by their height in meters (m) squared equals a BMI. Therefore, depending on how tall an individual is and how much they weigh determines whether they are normal weight, overweight or obese. And according to CDC, one in every 3 Americans is obese. Obesity is not only widespread, but has become a real health risk that leads to other serious medical conditions.
Medical conditions associated with obesity
• Gallbladder disease and gall stones
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure.
• Sleep Apnea
Obesity is now considered a disease; no longer just a disorder………………..
A disease is defined as an abnormal condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, inflammation, environmental factors, or genetic defect, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs, symptoms, or both. A disorder is defined as a derangement or abnormality of function; a morbid physical or mental state. As of 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) has officially recognized obesity as a chronic disease. Obesity is now classified as a disease because it affects an individual’s entire system; a disease that should alert physicians, patients, as well as health insurers and should be regarded as a serious medical concern.
What are Americans obese?
According to the former US assistant Surgeon General, Susan Blumenthal, obesity coexists with food insecurity in America. The example she gives is that finding affordable healthy foods along with safe places to exercise are quite a challenge for low-income populations. So the bottom line here is that financial health is affecting physical health. Not to mention that most households today to survive require the income of two parents. This in itself allows less time for home-cooked meals as well as less time to exercise. What a vicious cycle, right?! However, obesity does not just target low-income families because in the United States there are more than one third obese Americans.
According to CDC, non-Hispanic blacks have the highest rates of obesity, next is Mexican Americans, then Hispanics, and last are non-Hispanic whites. As far as socioeconomic status, it differs by gender. Women who have graduated from college and women who earn higher incomes are less likely to be obese than women who didn’t graduate from high school or make lower salaries. However, such correlations don’t exist among men, and obesity is roughly the same their incomes are compared. In fact, higher incomes were associated with increased obesity rates among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men. Also, obesity is also more prevalent in southern states with Mississippi having the highest percentage of obese adults; 34 percent.
So can we fix this problem, and if so how do we do it?
Everyone is aware of the adverse effects of obesity, we all know about the strong association between obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and the media provides us with tons of information on eating healthy and staying fit. So the problem we need to fix has very little to do with lack of knowledge. We know!
Our society actually promotes obesity. For example, the fast food industry has basically taken over our lives, all because of convenience and the pressure of meeting family needs. But it’s time for us to fight back! We need to balance our life style with healthy food choices with an exercise program.
According to CDC, childhood obesity has doubled over the years and if an individual is obese as a child, they have a two time fold chance of being obese in adulthood. Therefore, parents need to do everything within their power to keep their children active. Computers and cell phones are our youth’s worst enemy! Our children need to get up and move around; too much electronic game playing and not enough activity.
Yes we can fix this problem, but it’s not going to be a quick fix. After all, weight gain didn’t happened overnight and neither will it leave overnight. It’s going to take time but if we step up and confront obesity now we will not only stop it but even prevent it. There is no better time than now to take a stand against this now known chronic disease, obesity. The choice is ours and only we can make it happen!