Overweight is described as excessive amount of body weight that may come from muscles, fat, water, and bone, obesity, on the other hand, is having excessive amount of adipose tissue. Obesity and overweight and result from energy imbalances. The body requires a certain quantity of calories from food to maintain necessary life functions. Weight is maintained when calories consumed equals the number of calories the body burns up. If additional calories are eaten than used up, energy stability is tipped toward overweight weight gain, and obesity. Environmental, Genetic, socioeconomic factors behavioral, and can all lead to overweight and obesity (Overweight and Obesity Statistics 2). When analyzing American obesity it is necessary to discuss how obesity can cause health issues, second, why America is leading among the developed countries in cases of obesity and finally the effects it has on the economy. In the 6’s the average weight of the American woman was 143 pounds, which weight has today risen to 155 pounds. That of the male American has risen from 168 pounds to 180 pounds in the same period. In 1970, the center from disease control classified 14% of the total population as obese. Currently, the rates of obesity are twice as high. In the United States, weights have indicated a rising trend, and especially in the 20th century (Cutler et al. 94). Americans today are fatter than science and medicine recommends. Among all the developed countries, Americans are the heaviest. The table below shows the summary of the statistics.
Overweight and Obesity, by Age: United States, 1971–2006
The rising rates of obesity have significant health related consequences. Obesity and overweight are causative to over twenty chronic illness including some cancers, arthritis, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. One in four Americans has some form of heart related disease, and one in three Americans has hypertension. Even in the wake of development of new medical drugs and treatment, these heart related problems are on the rise. Around fifty-four Americans have pre-diabetes; this puts them at a high risk of developing diabetes. An additional twenty million American are battling with full diabetes, which is about eight percent and increase from 5.2% in the eighty’s. Obesity also adds serious complications during pregnancy. This puts babies at increased risk of infant mortality and preterm birth. Diseases that were formerly only found in adults are now being seen in obese children and teenagers. Today roughly 176,500 persons under the age of twenty have type 2 diabetes and about two million persons aged between twelve and nineteen have pre-diabetes. Overweight and obese children are likely to become overweight and obese adults with poor a health track. This might be the first generation to be outlived by their parents. Obesity has created a substantial strain on the health system. Approximately a quarter of the national health budget are directed towards obesity related issues. Direct costs of health care cost that arise due to obesity are approximated to be more than sixty-one billion dollars annually in the united states, while costs associated to physical inactivity is at seventy six billion dollars. Many businesses are struggling because the labor force has become unhealthy and unproductive which has also increases health insurance coverage. Elevated health expenditure for obese and inactive employees is an indication of poorer overall health among these individuals. Poor health results to lower employee productivity and increased absenteeism (F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 24-34).
Among all developed countries, obesity is highest within United States. This has been explained to be as a result of high calorie intake. Research, however, shows that calorie expended has not changed but calories, which are consumed have increased significantly. This raises the question, what has led to the increase in calorie intake?’ in the sixty’s, food preparation process was executed by families. This has since changed giving way to mass food preparation. Technological innovation has enabled manufacturers of food to prepare food in a central location and distribute this food to consumers. In the past, women spent more than two hours preparing food. Today with the change from individual preparation to mass preparation, the time spent in food preparation has been lowered and has led to more variety and quantity of consumed foods. For example, French fries have to be peeled, cut then cooked within a central location using refined technology. They are frozen and distributed to consumption points where they can be reheated and consumed. This has led to a thirty percent rise in consumption of French fries. Increased intake of calories is because of consuming increased meals than calories demand per meal. Eating of food produced through a mass means has amplified in the recent two decades because of technological innovations. The group within population that has had the highest potential to leverage on the new innovation in the food business has had the largest weight increases. In the seventies and sixties, married women spent more time making and cooking food in single men, on the other hand, spent little time on food preparation. Obesity has, therefore, increased within married women. Obesity across nations is connected to access to fresh food innovation and processed foods, and this is the reason the United Stated is leading in obesity cases. It is the most advanced technologically especially in the food business. The European Union is active in taking a strong position in opposition to genetic food, while Germany, for numerous years, has encompassed a Beer Purity Law. Additional set of laws is cultural, such as Jose Bove’s crusade against McDonald’s in France. It is evident that countries with a better quantity of directives that maintain traditional delivery systems and agriculture, which are characterized of lower obesity rates (Cutler et al. 95-96).
The obesity endemic is taking a toll on the U.S. economy by increasing health care costs, and this is hurting the country’s capacity to participate in the international markets. It is comprehensible that obesity has had an impact the whole nation. On average, individuals that are considered obese pay 42 percent extra in health care costs than those with normal weight individuals. For all obese beneficiaries, Medicare insurance reimburses $1,723 more than it reimburses to the right weight beneficiaries. Additionally the same insurance company pays $1,021 more than it pays for normal-weight beneficiaries. Moreover, Private insurers compensate $1,140 more than they compensate for normal-weight beneficiaries. In terms of service provided, for each patient, Medicare pays $693 additional for an outpatient service, $95 additional for an inpatient service, and $608 additional for medicine in contrast to the amount they paid to normal-weight patients. In the same period, Medicaid paid $175 extra for an outpatient service, $213 extra for an inpatient service, and $230 extra for medicine in contrast to the amount paid to normal-weight patients. Additionally, Private insurers paid $398 more for an outpatient service, $443 more for an inpatient service and $284 more for prescription drugs in contrast to the amount paid to normal-weight patients (Finklestein 28). In 2000, the total cost obesity and physical inactivity was estimated at around 117 billion us dollars. In the year 1979-1999, annual coat related to obesity in children tripled. A study done in 2008 showed that obese workers cost private employers an estimated 45 billion annually in medical expenses. Obesity has increased spending in health care by 36% placing it higher than smoking and drinking. Researchers have found that, per 100 full time workers, 183.63 workdays were lost due to absenteeism, therefore, as Body Mass Index increases, so does the number of suck days, health care costs and medical claims. Another study showed that extreme weight and physical indolence negatively impact the excellence of work completed, the amount of work executed and overall job performance among obese, sedentary workers (f as in fat: how obesity threatens America’s future 36).
Obesity has become an epidemic that needs to be dealt with. Paradoxically obesity has continued to increase despite putting measures in place to deal with obesity. The government needs to put strict rules in place to regulate the consumption of genetically modified foods. There is a need to protect the current generation, show them the importance of physical exercise.
Cutler, David., Glaeser, Edward., & Shapiro, Jesse. “Why Have Americans Become More
Obese?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 2003 Pages 93–118.
Finkelstein EA, Trogdon JG, Cohen JW, Dietz W. “Annual Medical Spending Attributable To
Obesity: Payer- And Service-Specific Estimates”. Health Affairs. 2009 page 28 w822–w831.
“F As In Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing In America Issue Report.” Trust For America’s
Health Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 2008 page 24-34.
“F As In Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing In America Issue Report.” Trust For America’s
Health Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2010 page 36.
“Overweight and Obesity Statistics.” U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services .