Obesity Epidemic

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Discuss how a societal model of health maybe used to deal with the obesity epidemic in Scotland. Scotland is currently the third most obese nation in the world behind the United States and Mexico (National Statistics 2010). This essay is about how the societal model of health may be used to deal with the obesity epidemic in Scotland. First, there will be definitions and explanations of the key terminology discussed and the statistics of obesity in Scotland. This will be followed by reason as to why this epidemic is occurring how it is happening to the population along with the diseases associated with obesity, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. Next, the social model of health will be explained as well as the social determinants of health. Finally, this essay will discuss how the social model of health can help reduce the rates of obesity in Scotland followed by how nurses can use the model to promote healthy living. The World Health Organisation (2001) defines obesity as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health”. In health care setting it is defined by the Body Mass Index (BMI) formula. The BMI compares an individual’s weight by their height. A person who has a BMI over 30 is classified as obese, over 35 is morbidly obese and 40+ is stated as extremely obese. Someone with particularly high or low amounts of muscle or excess of body fluid may have a misclassified BMI, because the BMI only takes into account the body fat, and nothing else (Webb 2002). The Oxford English Dictionary (2008) defines epidemic as “a wide spread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time”. This definition describes the term ‘obesity epidemic’ perfectly. Obesity in Scotland has increased immensely in the past 20 years, growing by nearly 400% (Banning 2006). Saying this, recent reports show that Scotland is third on the list behind the US and Mexico in the world’s most obese nations (BBC 2007, Nation Master 2010). The Scottish Health Survey from 2008 showed that two-thirds of men (66.6%) and more than half of women (59.6%) were classified as overweight (Scottish Government 2010, Bussey 2009). Lawder’s (2010) study shows that 97.5% of Scotland has at least one of the five major risk factors to health (cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, poor diet, physical inactivity and overweight), 86% have at least 2, 55% have three or more and 20% have all five. The study also showed that the obesity was mainly due to poor dieting and lack of exercise. Other reason for the rise of obesity in Scotland could be due to the overweight environment that the Scottish people have created and gotten used to (Healthy Weight Action Plan 2010). The human biology is overwhelmed with the environment we live in, mainly due do the increase in motorised transport, an abundance of energy-dense foods, excessive alcohol and cigarette consumption as well as the sedentary lifestyles. Saying that poor diet and exercise are the only factors that contribute to obesity is not entirely true. Yes, it is the main element but according to Phillips (2006) and Banning (2005), obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are inextricably linked. Phillips (2006) also suggests that if the percentage of the people who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes continues to increase, so will the rates of obesity. Lazarou (2010) claims that obese people are five times more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes, and for each kilogram of weight gained, their chances are increased by 9%. Since the astonishing levels of obesity in the UK have risen in the past couple decades, so have the rates of other diseases and disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. Considering there are 2.5 million people in the UK with diabetes, 90% of them are overweight or obese (Whitmore 2010, Green 2005). Whitmore (2010) describes the link between type 2 diabetes and obesity, saying that adipocytes in the visceral tissue show...
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