The Issue Of Obesity

By: Scotch Q. Ennis

The term obesity is thrown about frequently, but what specifically is obesity? Basically, obesity means exceptionally over weight. Obesity is a quite prevalent physical state, with just about a third of US men and women -- roughly sixty million people -- afflicted, and about one billion people afflicted around the world.

You didn't read that wrong: nearly one billion persons the world over are obese.

As the obesity prevalence in the United States suggests, obesity is a condition found mostly in Western culture. In somewhat of a twist, obesity is referred to as a nutritional disorder. No matter the way it's labeled, obesity prevalence is increasing: between 1991 and 1998, obesity rates just about doubled.

The specific measure of obesity is being above what is considered average body weight by upwards of twenty percent. With respect to body fat measurements, obesity begins in males at more than twenty-five percent body fat, and more than thirty percent body fat in females. BMI, body mass index, is a standard means of documenting obesity. Someone who surpasses a 30 BMI iis documented obese.

Since it's become so common, obesity is frequently impacting the financial costs societies are paying. In the UK, annual obesity expense is estimated to be a billion pounds: about five hundred million US dollars, as things currently stand. The cost the UK pays for obesity is considerable, without question, but these costs represent just a small percent of what the US is paying. In the US, the annual monetary expense for obesity within the population is estimated at an incredible two hundred billion dollars. With prices like these, it isn't hard to understand the reason that obesity is commonly being labeled "epidemic" in the US.

The reason for obesity's extreme financial cost isn't some secret: obesity is a condition that can have serious medical consequences. Obesity is the number one cause of chronic illness, and is just behind cigarette smoking in deaths caused. Obesity health problems reads like a grocery list: linked to coronary disease, stroke risk, Type 2 diabetes, joint strain from excess weight load. The obese tend to have extreme triglycerides levels, and low "good" cholesterol HDL levels.

Obesity is also connected with various sorts of cancer: kidney, throat, breast, colon, rectum. There's even some evidence that obese people have higher rates of Alzheimer's disease. And if the previous wasn't enough, a link exists between obesity and depression. All of these medical problems, multiplied by millions and millions of obese citizens. The end result is an enormous medical charge.

Though there are medical problems that can cause obesity, this scenario is exceptionally rare. Obesity resulting from secondary medical conditions is believed to constitute just one percent of every case of obesity. The vast majority of obesity cases come from lifestyle habits.

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