Application of Epidemiology to Obesity

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Obesity has been defined as a condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to an extent that health may be adversely affected. The classification of overweight and obesity allows the identification of individuals and groups at increased risk of morbidity and premature mortality. 1.Analyze the obesity problem in the U.S. as compared to another developed country in which the obesity problem is not as significant. Include factors such as age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and marital status in your analysis. Hypothesize the reason why the rate of obesity is higher in the U.S. than the other country. Obesity has been such a struggle for Americans since the early 1980s. According to Fleming, major effort to reduce the proportion of members who are overweight or obesity involves a strategic plan (Fleming, 2008). Obesity varies by age, gender, and by race-ethnic groups. A higher body weight is associated with an increased incidence of a number of conditions, including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and with an increased risk of disability. Obesity is associated with a modestly increased risk of all-cause mortality. However, the net effect of overweight and obesity on morbidity and mortality is difficult to quantify. It is likely that a gene-environment interaction, in which genetically susceptible individuals respond to an environment with increased availability of palatable energy-dense foods and reduced opportunities for energy expenditure, contributes to the current high prevalence of obesity (The Epidemiology of Obesity, 2007). The United States is not alone in experiencing increases in the prevalence of obesity. Similar increases have been reported from a number of other countries and regions of the world. For example, in England, the prevalence of obesity (BMI is greater than or equal to 30) among women 25–34 years of age increased from 12% to 24% in only 9 years between 1993 and 2002. In Portugal, increases in overweight among school-age children also have been found. Less-developed countries also have seen increases in obesity (The Epidemiology of Obesity, 2007). Among preschool-age children in urban areas of China, the prevalence of obesity increased from 1.5% in 1989 to 12.6% in 1997(The Epidemiology of Obesity, 2007). Differences in the prevalence of obesity between countries in Europe or between race-ethnic groups in the United States tend to be more pronounced for women than for men. For example, in Europe, the WHO Multinational Monitoring of trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease study, which gathered data from 39 sites in 18 countries, found the prevalence of obesity was similar for men across all sites (The Epidemiology of Obesity, 2007). For women, however, there were marked differences in prevalence between sites, with higher values for women from Eastern Europe. Similarly, in the United States, there are marked differences in the prevalence of obesity by race-ethnic group for women but not for men. According to the U.S. obesity trend, the southern states have the highest prevalence of obesity out of all the fifty states. The CDC stated that more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese (Overweight and Obesity, 2011). 2.Compare obesity rates and obesity-related health care costs in your state to all of the U.S. Recommend how your state can treat obesity as a threat to public health. As stated above, Georgia is one of the southern states that have a high prevalence mortality rate. The greatest problem with the statistical linkages between body mass and mortality is that other confounding factors are not considered, leaving little basis for drawing causal inferences. Most epidemiological studies estimating the relationship between body weight and mortality do not control for fitness, exercise, diet quality, weight cycling, diet drug use,...
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