Obesity as One of the Major Global Health Issues – Metabolic Problems Example

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"Obesity as One of the Major Global Health Issues" is a trustworthy example of a paper on metabolic problems.   Obesity, one of the major global health issues has reached an epidemic proportion, especially for the past two decades. People in developed countries today spend a considerable portion of their health budget on combating overweight and related problems. Regardless of age and sex, people are becoming exposed to obesity at an alarming rate. As the phenomenon turned out to be a global issue, governments and organizations have initiated campaigns to convince people about the significance of a healthy lifestyle.

Yet the rocketing ratio of obesity reminds us of the need for collaborative strategies to address the issue. Modern lifestyle and changing eating habits are often counted as the major causes of chubbiness. This paper tends to discuss some of those causative factors and various associated illnesses of obesity among adults and children. It will also analyze the psychosocial impacts of the issue and the extent to which preventive measures and medication could be effective. History Obesity was considered an unhealthy state of the human body since the beginning of modern medicine.

For instance, Hippocrates stated that obese people were more prone to immediate death as compared to lower weight persons (Stern, Kazaks, 1). However, according to the general concept, overweight is ironically attributed to health and wealth. There were times when the chubby body was cherished to be the symbol of sex and beauty; and gluttonous appetite as heroism. According to Stern & Kazaks, (1-3) obesity turned out to be ‘ a disease with pathologic consequences on general public’ in less than a century. The writers also suggest that human body normally does not store energy in the form of fat; instead, this is the result of an evolution that lasted for thousands of years at an environment of the limited food supply.

However, the overweight ratio has exceedingly increased for recent decades. Causative agents Although there is no unanimous opinion among the experts regarding the factors causing obesity, the major focus of the research includes genetic, environmental, and dietary aspects. The risk of becoming obese is highly associated with one’ s family history or genetic aspects. In the same way, obese children are likely to be obese as adults and thus increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke.

The chart below shows to what extent family factors can influence obesity. Parents overweight                                                                    % of children likely to be obese One overweight parent                                                                                        40% Two overweight parents                                                                                      80%   No overweight parent                                                                                            10% (Source: Lifschitz, 251).                             Furthermore, studies have identified several causative gene defects and deficiencies which might result in obesity. Among the genetic causes, chromosome related obesity has been considered as the notable one. As it has been described in Bronner (Ed. ) (39), other genetic states of deficiency are Leptin Deficiency, Melanocortin-4 Receptor Deficiency, Proopiomelanocortin Derived Protein (POMC) Deficiency and Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone Deficiency.

However, physicians are of the opinion that dietary factors are more causative than genetic reasons for the dramatic changes in body weight.                                   As mentioned earlier, food with higher calorie density is one of the major reasons for weight gain. To illustrate, the excessive consumption of fast food having lower fibre and water content leads to fat accumulation. These junk foods not only create hormonal imbalance but also encourage people to overeat.

In the same way, children who spend more time on computer games and desk-bound adults are likely to be obese. According to experts, watching television at meals is also probably a good reason for overeating and obesity. Hectic schedule compels people to depend on fast foods and restaurant foods. The traditional homemade food could ensure fine food environment to people. However, preparing food at home has become an old practice.   Apparently fast food is more delicious, easily available and more convenient. In addition to unhealthy dietary factors, certain medical conditions and drug consumption can also aggravate appetite and obesity.

  Psycho-social issues The problems related to obesity include psycho-social impacts on children and adults with obese nature. Though children are supposed to be vigorous, overweight children are found inactive and introvert; and are usually shunned from their company. The distress they experience at the early age of life has a far-reaching effect on their behaviours. Moreover, when they are forced to relinquish certain foods, they begin to consider themselves as unwanted social elements at schools as well as at home.

The actual cause behind their behavioural change often remains unnoticed by parents and teachers. The case is almost similar to adults who confront with more complex psycho-social impediments in daily life. Obesity affects their creativity and participation in every activity they undertake. Ethnicity/gender The studies indicate an undeniable relationship between certain socio-economic segments and obesity. The statistics of obesity by ethnicity 2006-2008 reveals that Blacks had 51% higher prevalence of overweight; whereas Hispanics had 21% as compared to Whites. The statistics also reveal the alarming growth rate of obesity across the United States.

In 2008, among the states of US only Colorado maintained the obesity rate below 20%. Meantime 32 states had obesity higher than 25% among which 6 states had the ratio greater than 30% (CDCP website). The past two decades have witnessed a tremendous increase in the rate of obesity all over the world. For instance, the NHANES report on obesity shows a considerable increase in the epidemic. Given below is the excerpt from the report which points out the variance based on gender and age. Gender   Age 1988-94 1999-2002 Men   20-74   20.6       27.6 women   20-74   25.9       33.2 Boys   2-5   6.1         9.9 Girls   2-5   8.2         10.7 All     23.3         30.4     (Source: Kumanyika, Brown, 62).

        Treatment/control Obesity has become one of the major concerns of healthcare as well as cosmetic industries. Several experiments have been conducted on this regard including the innovation of drugs, weight losing equipment, dietary regulations and many more.   World Health Organization has put its full-fledged effort to fight this challenge. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most common way of classifying overweight. It is defined as the weight of a person in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters.

The recent statistics advise the world to heed its genuine concerns to control the rampant growth of obesity.   W H O predicts that if the pediatric obesity is going on at the same ratio by 2015 there will be 700 million people obese, and about 20 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight globally in2005 (BBC).                                             Obesity is termed an epidemic as it gives way to numerous other diseases and chronic illness. People who develop obesity continue to gain weight about 1-2 Kg every year.   This unusual level of weight gain leads to cardiovascular diseases and other problems. The various risks associated with obesity are illustrated below. Conclusion   The clinical approach to obesity has considerably been changed from the concept of weight loss to weight management.   According to the modern clinical trials, weight loss and weight maintenance are two distinctive aspects of weight management (Hofbauer, Keller and Boss, 144).

Although numerous drugs are common in the market for treating obesity, the regular intake would cause adverse effects on the patients. The major difficulty with weight control is that obese people hardly adjust with diet control; and on the contrary, depends extremely on medication.

In fact, weight loss is easy; whereas weight maintenance is comparatively difficult. In addition to the use of anti-obesity drugs, effective physical activities are essential for energy expenditure. Proportional exercise will limit fat accumulation and will help weight maintenance. The basic mechanism of all anti-obesity medication and treatment is the regulation of appetite and energy balance. The modern clinical treatment of obesity tends to focus on both weight loss and the prevention of further weight gain.


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Diseases. CRC Press, 2006.

Hofbauer K G, Keller U, Boss O (Eds.). Pharmacotherapy Obesity: Options and

Alternatives. CRC Press, 2004.

Kumanyika S, Brownson R C (Eds.). Handbook of Obesity Prevention: A Resource

for Health Professionals, Springer, 2007.

Lifschitz C, H (Ed.). Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition in Clinical Practice.

Informa Healthcare, 2002.

“Obesity: in Statistics”. BBC News. January 2, 2008. 10 April 2010


Stern J, S, Kasaks A. Obesity a Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO, 2009.

“US Obesity Trends”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP).

10 April 2010 http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

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