Posted: March 28th, 2021

Obesity Strategies in the US



  • Jaleesa Gadson


The meaning of obesity is having too much body fat. It is a difference in being overweight and weighing too much. In some cases, genetics seem responsible; in others, various combinations of hormonal, metabolic, and behavioral factors appear to play a role. But in most cases, it’s hard to determine the exact cause of obesity. It mainly occurs when a person takes in over the amount of calories that he or she is currently burning. A person’s weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and even body water. These terms both mean that a person’s weight is greater than what is considered healthy for a person’s height. Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases. The rates of being overweight in the United States have had a drastically increased since the 1970s. About two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. It is very difficult enough for a doctor to figure out why an individual patient has accumulated excess body fat. Obesity among adults was defined as a BMI of 30 or higher; extreme obesity was defined as a BMI of 40 or higher. In this paper we will learn about obesity, from what it is, the meaning and calculations of BMI, the history of this American disease, why it still affects Americans, and discuss what can be done to possibly control this epidemic.

Obesity in the United States today has become an enormous problem. In the last 3 decades, the number of people overweight has increased dramatically (Hill and Wyatt et al.). According to researchers at RTI International, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention a study was conducted between 1998 and 2006 on the cost of obesity. One third of our adult population has become overweight. America is the richest but also the fattest nation in the world and our obesebacksides are the butt of jokes in every other country (Klein 28). Obesity is especially common in African Americans, some Hispanic populations, and Native Americans. Obesity is most common in women, and overweight is more common in men.

The difference between obesity and overweight is that the term overweight refers to body weight that is at least 10 percent over the recommended weight for a certain individual. Obesity is generally defined as an excessive amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass. In numeric terms, obesity refers to a body weight that is at least 30 percent over the ideal weight for a specified height.

Obesity was first recognized as a medical disorder by Greeks. In the Middle Ages and also Renaissance periods obesity was a common sign of wealth for the people. Throughout the 20th century when the populations in America reached their genetic potential for height, weight began increasing much more than height, resulting in obesity. In the 1950s increasing wealth in the developed world decreased child mortality, but as body weight increased heart and kidney disease became more common. Weight is viewed as an ideal issue has become lower since the 1920s. Obesity is still seen as a sign of wealth and well-being in Africa.

Weight gain and obesity are caused by consuming more calories than the body needs – most commonly by eating a diet high in fat and calories, living a sedentary lifestyle, or both. The imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned can also be caused by a number of different physiological factors, including genetic and hormonal problems related to deficiencies in internal body functions.

Obesity can begin at a very young age. Many children in our society are overweight, setting themselves up for serious health problems later in life. Type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart problems are just some of the risks. Children who are overweight also tend to feel less secure, less happy, and be stressed more than normal weight children do. They get teased, criticized, and judged. In many cases, the problem is not the child’s fault. Being overweight may run in that child’s family, or their parents do not encourage them tobe active and get enough exercise. Many children spend too much time indoors wasting away in front of the TV, playing video games, or spending time on the computer, and consuming high fat snacks, soft drinks and candy at the same time (Weight Management)

More than half of all US adults are considered overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity-related comorbidities emphasizes the need for concerted efforts to prevent and treat obesity rather than just its associated comorbidities.

Figures in this Article

Recent estimates suggest that 1 in 2 adults in the United States is overweight or obese, defined by a body mass index (BMI) of higher than 25, an increase of more than 25% over the past 3 decades. These dramatic increases have occurred among the 3 major racial and ethnic groups and include both sexes (Must, Spadano, Coakley, Field, Colditz & Dietz). BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

With being overweight their may come illnesses/diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, Metabolic Syndrome, dyslipidemia, and Thyroid Conditions. Obesity is connected with diabetes because carrying extra body weight and body fat go hand and hand with the development of type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight are at much greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than normal weight individuals. Being overweight puts added pressure on the body’s ability to properly control blood sugar using insulin and therefore makes it much more likely for you to develop diabetes. Almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. The number of diabetes cases among American adults jumped by a third during the 1990s, and more increases are expected. This rapid increase in diabetes is due to the growing prevalence of obesity and extra weight in the United States population (Must, Spadano, Coakley, Field, Colditz & Dietz).

Heart disease is an increasing illness in adults that are obese and overweight, which causes the victim to fall into a heart attack, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac death, and abnormal heart rhythm more often than those that maintain a healthy body mass index. Obesity can often raise the risk of heart disease because of its negative effect on blood lipid levels, something which increases in obese patients, and increase triglyceridelevels and decrease high-density lipoprotein, also known as HDL or “good cholesterol.”

Obesity continues to be one of America’s most mentioned topics in the media today. The cause of this is because Americans eat out entirely too often. We do not make the right menu choices, and most importantly we are not active enough to compensate for the intake of high calorie foods consumed every day (Jay Sorensen).

Even though obesity is currently rising in America there are ways to control it because obesity in some cases is heredity. You can usually lose weight through dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes. In some cases, prescription medications or weight-loss surgery may be options. Exercise is more useful to burn fat as it speeds up metabolism. Exercise in any form like walking, swimming, cycling, playing football ,workout with machines or yoga just for 30-35 minutes per day will not only helpful to control weight but also reduces risk of serious cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis etc.

Some people go dieting or on very strict diet regime to control obesity but that is not safe solution because after some days the person get bored and don’t want to be on control regime . Maintain regular meal times and have balanced meals. Uncontrolled eating habits also contribute to weight gain. Unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are among some of the leading causes of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular diseases (CVD), type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. 2.7 million deaths are attributable to diets low in fruits and vegetables.

With today’s technology, physical activity is not very hard to get access to. You have different systems this like Nintendo Wii, Kinect for Xbox 360, PlayStation Move for PS3, Video games are often the source of hours of fun – not just for little kids but for big ‘kids’ as well. The big problem is the strong correlation of sitting for long periods and the development of obesity. (“Video Games And Obesity”, n.d.). Many different studies have to children and young adults to prove that movement has been the result in weight lose.

According to a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which was to evaluate the effect of active video games over a 6 month period on weight, body composition, physical activity, and physical fitness. A total of 322 overweight and obese children aged 10–14 year old, who were current users of video games, were randomly assigned to receive either an active video game upgrade package or to have no change. The primary outcome was the change from baseline in body mass index. Secondary outcomes were changes in percentage body fat, physical activity, cardio respiratory fitness, video game play, and food snacking. The result was that after 24 weeks, the treatment effect on BMI favored the intervention group. The change in BMI from baseline increased in the control group, but remained the same in the intervention group. There was also evidence of a reduction in body fat in the intervention group. The change in daily time spent playing active video games at 24 weeks increased with the intervention accompanied by a reduction in the change in daily time spent playing non-active video games. An active video game intervention has a small but definite effect on BMI and body composition in overweight and obese children (Maddison, Foley, Mhurchu, Jiang, Jull, Prapavessis, Hohepa & Rodgers).

The National institutes of Health states video games have become increasingly popular among young adults. The purpose of this study was to determine if interactive video games, requiring physical activity to play, increase the energy expenditure (EE) and heart rate (HR) of young adults enough to elicit a training response (Siegel Shannon). Thirteen male and female participants were in the study. Participants were familiarized with equipment and allowed to practice with three games, moving and striking lighted pads, riding a bike to increase the pace of a race car, and boxing against a video simulated opponent. A portable metabolic cart and HR monitor were attached to participants to measure baseline and exercise values. Participants could play any of the three games for 30 minutes while metabolic and HR data were collected. Exercise data were compared to baseline measures, and the 3 games were compared for EE. Paired sample t-tests showed baseline and exercise values differed for HR. The boxing game provided the highest. Participants achieved 60% or better of their HR reserve well within the guidelines for training HR. Caloric expenditure during the 30-minute exercise session is also within the recommendations for daily physical activity. Thus, interactive video games that require physical activity to play can be utilized as part of an overall aerobic exercise program (Siegel Shannon).

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is a nearly 50,000 member-strong 501(c)(3) National non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to the individual affected by the disease of obesity and helping individuals along their journey toward better health through education, advocacy and support.

The Obesity Society is the leading scientific society dedicated to the study of obesity. Since 1982, The Obesity Society has been committed to encouraging research on the causes and treatment of obesity, and to keeping the medical community and public informed of new advances ( Dea). The Obesity Society’s membership reaches more than 2,000 basic and clinical researchers, who have published extensively, and care providers in obesity treatment and prevention ( Dea).

Shape Up America! Is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization committed to raising awareness of obesity as a health issue and to providing responsible information on healthy weight management?



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