Obesity is a major health issue in the United States. Factors that contribute to obesity include behavioral, genetic and environmental. There are a number of environmental factors that contribute to obesity. Usually, people make decisions on their surroundings. For example, an individual might choose to use a car to the store because there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. The home environment is also a contributing factor. Televisions, computers and mobile devices have resulted in the adoption of a sedentary way of life thus reducing physical activity (Pennings, 2013). The food environment is also a factor. The presence of fast food chains in the neighborhood contributes to increasing obesity rates.
There are a number of obesity-related health concerns. They include: Type 2 diabetes; high blood pressure/heart disease; osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints; sleep apnea/respiratory problems; gastro-esophageal reflux/heartburn; depression; infertility; urinary stress incontinence and; menstrual irregularities (Autajay, 2012). In order to tackle obesity, efforts should be made to engage families, individuals, community organizations and policy makers in a process of enhancing the understanding of the significance of regular physical activity and healthy diets. Advocates should be able to use advocacy campaigns that raise awareness on the adverse effects of poor diets and inactivity on the overall well-being and health. Community programs that support physical activity and healthy foods should be rolled out. Policy makers can influence legislation and policy on matters of food consumption. For example, policy makers can make policies that ban advertisement on fast foods. Also, policies can be made to increase taxes on unhealthy foods such as junk foods while subsidizing vegetables and fruits.
As stated above, commercial factors contribute to obesity. One factor is advertising. Advertising of “junk foods” increases the uptake of unhealthy foods. Also, relatively cheap prices for fast foods and relatively high prices for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables contribute to the consumption of fast foods leading to obesity (Nestle & Jacobson, 2000). Government and private businesses or corporations should form partnerships that address obesity issues. For example, creating activity parks, sidewalks and increasing the presence of grocery stores in neighborhoods can help in tackling obesity. Businesses and corporations should develop health programs to educate their employees on healthy eating habits and the importance of physical activity.
Autajay,K. (2012) Obesity-Related Health Problems. Rush University Medical Center, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1116006426755.html
Nestle, M. & Jacobson, M.F. (2000) Halting the Obesity Epidemic: A Public Health Policy Approach. Public Health Reports, January 2000, Vol. 115, pp. 12-24.
Pennings, J.L. (2013) Factors Contributing to Obesity. KREM.com, 2013. Retrieved from http://ww2.krem.com/Global/story.asp?S=2009937