The research carried out for this paper is to for the analysis of the demographic trends that exhibits itself among particular age groups across the U.S. The sole reason is because of the great prevalence of obesity in United States population which eventually results in fatal effects on the health of individuals. This rise of poor health causes a further effect on the general economic wellbeing of the country which brings about losses to the productivity of the nation. The solutions to obesity and weight problems are also focused on this paper.
The condition of obesity is one that results because of the body fat accumulation to a great extent not desired by the body and it hence causes adverse health complications. The differentiation between body weight and obesity is the (BMI) body mass index. The adverse health complications that are caused by the excessive body weight include conditions such as: cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and diabetes. These diseases are fatal if occur in extreme conditions and are entirely manageable if proper consideration is made to the diet and the physical activities engaged by Americans are taken seriously.
Around the entire world, there is and increasing rate of obesity among the adults and children and this is as a result of lack of physical exercises and poor eating habits such as diets containing junk foods. In the United States, the second leading cause of preventable deaths is obesity which follows deaths caused by smoking. Different parts of the world perceive obesity different, for instance; Africans perceive it as a sign of material wealth whereas in other parts such as developed and western countries, it is considered a stigma. The primary focus of this research paper is on the United States.
The incidence of obesity is on a steady increase for the past 20years with the statistics indicating that more than 25% of Americans are obese meaning that 1 in 4 Americans are affected by the disease considered to be spreading. The occurrence of obesity in other countries such as Europe, New Zealand, Middle East, and the other parts of America, the increasing trend is between 15 to 25 percent. This is among the demographic groups including; Hispanic, whites, African American, men and women, and across all age groups. This depicts a condition that affects everyone and it had its onset during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The prevalence of obese among individuals across states has increased with only one state the state of Colorado reported to be having a percentage of less than 20%. The other thirty states depicted greater prevalence of about 25% or more and other three states including; Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee had obese prevalence greater or equal to 30%. In the year 1999, figures of obese prevalence stood below 20%, now the rates have risen to above 24% among those various states.
The figures of obesity among U.S adults whose ages range between 20 and over are at 34 percent. The NHANES Data whose research on the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults found out that obesity and overweight prevalence during the mid-seventies increased sharply for both children and adults. In addition, surveys conducted by NHANES shows that the prevalence of obesity increased from 15 percent in the duration from 1976 to 1980 to 32.9 percent during the period 2003 to 2004 surveyed.
Trends among Adolescents and Children
It is a great concern and a serious health issue among children and adolescents, overweight prevalence as shown from NHANES data surveys conducted in 1976 – 1980 and 2003 – 2004 is on an increasing trend. Children aged 2 – 5 years old, had increase in prevalence from 5.0 percent to 13.9 percent; for those who are aged 6 – 11 years, there prevalence increased from 6.5 percent to 18.8 percent; and among those children aged 12 – 19 years, there prevalence increased from 5.0 percent to 17.4 percent.
Latest Obesity Statistics
The rates of obese prevalence in the United States have reached Epidemic proportions in recent times. A report on a study claims that 40 million people are Obese; 58 million are overweight, and 3 million morbidly obese in the United States of America. About 75% of Americans fail to meet the basic activity level recommendations and the estimates show that 25 percent are completely sedentary. These trends and lifestyles have resulted in an increase of about 76 percent in Type II diabetes among adults of ages 30 – 40 years old since the year 1990.
Research has it that out of ten adults in the U.S, four will be obese within five years if there is the continued trend of weight increase as the current statistics rate show. This is about 40 percent of the population. These figures are worrying and eventually the overall well-being of the individuals is put at risk. Some of the health complications that would be on the rise as a result will include; heart disease, diabetes, and some type of cancer.
Worldwide obesity trends
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 1998 report “Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic”, obesity was categorized as a developing epidemic. As per the World Health Organization recommendation, millions of U.S citizens will suffer from adverse weight-related ailments if limited or no action is pursued.
Obesity also exists in the developing countries. A United Nations (UN) survey conducted in the year 1999, obesity was found to be growing swiftly in all developing regions, even in those countries that are beset by hunger. In sub – Saharan Africa, where most of the world`s hungry population live, there is an increase in obesity among individuals and it is more evident among urban women. In China, the population of those overweight rose from below 10 percent to 15 percent in a period of three years. The increasing trend of obese individuals is as a result of an increase in income.
Body Mass Index
The weight of an individual entirely depends on his height. Therefore, in the description of obesity, another factor used is the body mass index (BMI) which is the number to which the weight – related medical risk is tied. The simple calculation to derive this index is a formula that depends upon a function of a person`s height and weight. An overweight person is defined to be having a body mass index of 25, while an obese individual is one with a body mass index of 30. Extreme obese individuals possess a body mass index of at least 40.
Health Consequences of Obesity
The ailments that are associated with obesity or being overweight are adverse and numerous. The risks involved as the body mass index grows beyond 25 include the following medical conditions;
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Type II diabetes
- Some type of cancer (i.e. cancer, breast, endometrial, prostate).
Causes of obesity
Weight gain in individuals is as a result of high intake of calories more than that amount the body could burn up. Extra calories of about 3600 can give a body a gain of about one pound. The issue of the amount calories is an issue discussed by the relevant nutrition stakeholders hence every dish and meals contain lists of the amounts of calories and what particular activities burn more calories. For instance; if a person is in an inactive state in for of sitting in the house all day he burns calories equal to 1200 each day.
The issues being discussed are focused on the reasons that cause the society to have fat individuals. Since there are no exclusive answers, theories have emerged to explain this lifestyle and health phenomena. One theory explains that people may have a genetic predisposition to being obese but the genes fail to elaborate the rapid increase in weight increase and obesity as it is evident in the population today.
After all, There has been minimal or no change in the genetic makeup of Americans over the last 20 year period. The factors that have changed rapidly during this period are the lifestyle and eating habits of the Americans thereby providing logical explanations as to why there is a rapid fattening of the population.
The other explanation is that the entire population Of America is generally less active than they once were. This has been caused by the increased use of satellite TV and video games, and indoor activities which have become more prevalent. This has forced us to live completely sedentary lives and it can only be overturned by the specific effort to exercise. The diets on the table of many Americans are highly processed foods, foods with loads of sugars, more fast foods, fatty foods, and trans-fatty acids which are now being included in meals.
The problem of obesity is best addressed by the efforts towards the awareness on healthy eating habits and physical exercise that are focused to prevent the occurrence of associated chronic diseases, obesity, and other related ailments accompanying weight gain. The state’s department of health also provides medication for the obese individuals. Bodies with the main agenda being to monitor the weight behavior and the associated complications were formed and this has led to specific and more elaborate solutions towards the reduction of the problem.
Therefore, in general, it is merely impossible to evade the verdict that the lifestyle lived by the Americans and the daily diets in their meals are the root cause of the increase in obese cases. Those individuals, who lose excess weight and avoid gaining more of the weight, tend to live conscious lifestyles so as to commit to their new state. This is a lifestyle that involves a balanced diet, more physical activities that is recommended. It is a tough choice that people must make, habits altered in order to ascertain their overall well - being and working potential guaranteed within the next 20 to 30 years.
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