Defining obesity has been a puzzle over the years due to the different conclusions that people come up with linking to the causes of the health problem. Although individuals require body fat to a certain amount so as to sustain basic bodily functions. This according to Lauren who is perusing a doctorial program in management and health policy at the school of public health in Johns Hopkins Bloomberg, “it is important for individuals to note that excess body fat is correlated with many different diseases and health risks” (Lauren, 3).
World Health Organization describes obesity as, “excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat that is risky to health.” This is a good definition of obesity but it is unspecific. This is because it does not clearly outline that which is excessive or abnormal. What is “excessive or abnormal” anyway? It is like saying that children who are small are not supposed to ride roller coasters since it is hard to determine how small is very small and thus the need for certain objective cutoffs (Lauren, 3). Moreover, James (1) notes that “obesity is a problem affecting people of all ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status.”
According to Eric’s publication, a licensed psychologist of Maryland State and a certified psychologist of schools, “obesity is defined using the body mass index so as to find out who is obese or overweight. An individual’s body mass index is the ratio of his weight in kilograms to his height in meters squared. Using these standard units, a body mass index of 30 and more is taken to be obese” (Eric, 11).
It is easy to define obesity among adults. Irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, or age, universal body mass index cut points exist which often determine whether an individual is normal, extremely obese, obese, underweight, or overweight (Lauren, 6).
However, according to Lauren, 6, “this is a different picture among children because it is more complicated. Since children are still changing and growing, the relationship between percent body fat and body mass index is inconsistent.” That is to mean that, “the quantity of body fat among children changes depending with their age. This also varies between girls and boys.”
According to Eric, 12, body mass index however, sometimes is disapproved when muscular individuals are considered to be obese in spite of low levels of fat in their bodies. Greater problems however, are issues with fake negatives, where individuals who are truly obese according to standards of percent body fat are omitted only by the look of individual body mass index.
Therefore, obesity is bad for our health and we should take great concern in dealing with this issue. This is because it results to a number of other health problems that are related to obesity to various diseases which include: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, musculoskeletal problems, respiratory problems, breast and liver cancer, depression and anxiety and finally frailty in adults who are old (Jessica, 1).
Berg a well prominent author has written so many inspirational books that are used by all sectors in the society. She has also written on issues and complexities that are related to obesity and thus the need to review his publications. He makes a convincing and compelling argument that, “childhood obesity dangers are real” through highlighting the rising risks obese and overweight children in America face for health problems related to obesity for instance hypertension and type 2 diabetes. She notes that in the early 1980s, annual costs of obesity cases among adolescents and children in hospitals were $35 million between 1997 and 1999, however, this costs went up to $127million (Berg, 1).
Obesity is becoming common and this has lead to the increase of also the negative health consequences. Due to these rising and alarming trends it is important according to Eric who has worked in many public schools and independently to state that, “this is worry not only to the individuals who are supposed to deal with this issue of health but also it is a concern to the society at large. The cost of obesity is very high to the obese individuals, the government and the society at large” (Smith, 1).
Health issues related to obesity and obesity are very costly to the society and are very tremendous. Health care that is related to treating obesity is of much concern because about 10% of expenditures of the nation are connected to obesity. (Eric, 25), further states that, “the expenditure of treating illnesses associated to obesity and obesity costs is $147 billion in America each and every year. These costs do not include lost productivity or workdays that have been missed due to related issues to obesity.”
According to (Eric, 19), “two thirds and more of Americans are obese or overweight. These simply means that a third of the adults in America have weight that can be deemed to be healthy”. Of concern is that prior to early 1960s, it was not considered anywhere in any research that obesity is a threat to the public health like it has become today.
The spread of obesity among the American adults from 1960 to 1962 was 13.4% only according to who is currently the director for professional standards and development of the association for school psychologists nationally. Today it has risen tremendously to 33.8% among the adults. Recent estimates imply that nearly a third of adults in America are overweight and an additional one third American adults are obese. This means that are either obese or overweight are exceeding two thirds (Kerry, 3). These trends show that having normal weight among the American adults is not the norm any more as it was in the past.
On the other hand, child obesity was not an issue in the many years that have passed and one could even go without hearing of a child being obese. However, today the topic has been on the rise form the social media and even from adults who seat to discuss how in their youth they used to engage in physical activities unlike nowadays where children lock themselves in the house to play with gadgets like computers (Smith, 4).
Certain factors that are genetic with the changing culture and lifestyles have produced children who are unhealthy generally, as individuals were in some few decades that have passed. Obesity has thus spread all over due to these changes that have been brought about by the changing lifestyles (Kerry, 1).
The Centers for Prevention and Disease Control in America state that, “Childhood discussions about how they are becoming obese are now ever present and it cannot be avoided. A smaller percentage of children are obese or overweight as compared to adults. However, it should be taken into consideration that there is a rapid increase in the number of children getting obese than that of the adults in the United States (Lauren, 20).
“The statistics that are perhaps most alarming are that the children’s percentage of those considered to be obese has over the past four decades grown by approximately 400%.” This is according to the Centers for Prevention and Disease Control in the United States (Lauren, 21).
Facts of Lauren were considered since she has been involved in many researches that deal with behavioral weight loss management both in the universities of Florida and Pennsylvania. According to (Stunkard, 4), “the epidemic of obesity has affected almost all sections of the entire population,” however, it is of great importance to note that, “some specific subgroups have been affected the most. Racial subgroups, ethnic, women, and those with low socioeconomic status are the ones who display rates that are high of obesity unlike the population at large.”
Lauren has also printed or published many papers on different issues related directly to obesity. In one of his publications, she states that, “generally women are the vulnerable to obese than men .Prevalence of obesity in women has a higher percentage than the percentage of men.” This is mainly because, “most women do not engage in physical work that will facilitate their burning of body fats. They are used in less tiresome jobs and spend more time in the house” (Lauren, 22).
According to Eric, obesity is common in particular ethnic and racial subpopulations when compared with the Caucasian Americans. For instance, “38% of Hispanic Americans, 44.1% of African Americans who are non Hispanic and 40.4% of Mexican Americans are considered obese” as said by Flegal. “The percentages are high than the percentage of the obese of Americans from the non Hispanic Caucasian which is 32.4%.”
Despite being a professor Eric has also come up with many publications. In reference to Eric, 21, “obesity is also prevalent among the children in some ethnic and racial subpopulations that are American children who are non Hispanic African and Mexican American.” To provide an explanation for these disparities many reasons have been suggested. It has been recommended that cultural differences exist in body image and eating patterns between certain ethnic and racial subgroups. It has been proposed also that these disparities are driven by disparities that are socioeconomic, and since income, ethnicity and race are so much intertwined, one cannot taunt apart the results of either.
Obesity is related to income though it is not a uniform relationship across the globe. In many developed countries and even the United States of America Baum says that, “individuals who are poor are vulnerable to be obese than those people living in riches.” Likewise, those individuals with little educational background are probably having obesity, according to Lauren who has also directly worked with obese adults and adolescents going through weight loss surgery, than people with levels of education that are high (Wadded, 2).
According to Jessica, obesity cases are mostly seen in children whose guardians are of low income or low education. Though, these socioeconomic disparities are narrowing as the years pass suggesting that level factors that are individual for instance education, are not that significant than the bigger environmental and socioeconomic contexts where people live. Many explanations have been suggested for socioeconomic status differences in obesity, related to ethnic and racial disparities. A number of them have proposed that levels of higher education denote that people have a greater knowledge on health behaviors and health, which is known as health literacy.
Blass, 1, uses an approach that is biopsychosocial in the presentation of information on the prevention, treatments and causes of obesity thus addressing the course and manifestation of obesity in both adults and children.
Others have recommended that socioeconomic status disparities occur because people of low income cannot afford healthier foods since they are expensive than fast food items or convenience (Jessica, 2).
Some suggestions state that socioeconomic status disparities are mainly determined by the environments in which the low income individuals live in contrast with individuals with high income. For instance, neighborhoods with low income residents have more convenience supplies and few super markets and restaurants with fast foods (Stunkard, 1).
There are a lot of other environmental issues that can predispose individuals of low income to obesity. For instance, according to (Jessica, 3) there is no adequate space in the cities for children to engage in physical exercises thus making them to stay at home and engage themselves with indoor leisure’s. Obesity is also associated to jobs with low wages or that are paying less. This is a limiting factor to affording a healthy diet. It is thus evident that the connection tying education, income, gender, ethnicity, and race to obesity is very complex and it is impossible to boil them down to simple causes and pathways (Wadded, 3).
It is therefore important for each and every individual, the society, and the government to join hands and come up with strategies of dealing with this problem of obesity and the issues that surround it. Environmental agencies and the health sector should come up and come up with sustainable policies that will see the decrease of people being obese.