Obesity an Epedemic in America

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Obesity is an epidemic in America. It has had an alarmingly growing prevalence rate since the 1960’s: almost 34% for adults alone. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010 and rising yearly. Obesity occurs across all socioeconomic groups regardless of race, gender and age. Studies do show that obesity occurs in America’s minority and ethnic populations at slightly higher rates, 25% more than white Americans. According to the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC), an alarming 1/3 of U.S adults are obese. Another 1/3 is overweight, leaving 68.8 percent of the total population of the United States overweight or obese! No state met the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%. Rather, in 2010, there were 12 states with an obesity prevalence of 30%. A person is considered obese if he or she has a BMI of 30 or higher, which is a weight of at least 20% more than the maximum healthy weight for his or her height. To be considered overweight he or she must have a BMI of 25-29. Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem; it is highly hazardous to one’s health! Related obesity conditions include, but are not limited to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, decreased energy, depression and certain types of cancer and kidney disease. Obesity is linked to high blood pressure. Since fat tissue requires oxygen and nutrients, meaning that the blood must circulate more through their vessels to accommodate the extra weight. New blood vessels are actually created to reach fat tissues too! Most times, a diet high in sodium leads to obesity, which also is a contributor to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading cause for heart disease and stroke. Diabetes is developed when a person is obese because having extra fat cells causes a person’s body to build a resistance to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. The sugars in the blood then become elevated because of this insulin resistance. Cancers of the colon, breast, uterine, kidney, and esophagus are associated with obesity, as well as cancers of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas according to some studies. Carrying extra pounds places excess pressure on the joints of the knees, hips and lower back which in turn wears away at the cartilage and causes arthritis pain. Obesity is a contributing factor in five out of the top ten contributing factors of death, according to the CDC, and so has accounted for the #1 leading cause of preventable death since 2008, including obesity related suicides. The good news is, losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of a person’s total weight lowers blood pressure, improves blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of diabetes by nearly 60% in people with pre-diabetes according to recent data from the CDC. Obesity’s health conditions come at a cost, that being around $1,400 higher than those of a normal weight in an average year, accounting for medications, equipment, and doctor’s visits. In an economic context, the burden of obesity to the U.S. health care system and U.S. taxpayers is at crisis levels and will only increase. Extra medical care for obesity comprises from 5 to 10% of total U.S. health care costs, half of which Medicare and Medicaid finances. Due to its high prevalence and its associations with multiple chronic diseases, worse medical treatment results, complications from even the best medical and surgical care, increased levels of disability, absenteeism from work, and premature death, the total societal costs from obesity in the U.S. every year exceed $254 billion. Children have been found to be at a higher than ever risk for obesity and those affected by childhood obesity at a young age are predisposed to obesity and severe obesity in adulthood. If a child’s parents are overweight as an adult, there is a 75 percent chance that their children will be overweight. With obese...
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