The recent obesity epidemic in the United States has wide-ranging implications, and as more literature further validates this phenomenon, we can observe obesity’s real effects on the nation’s level of health and labor market outcomes. Economically, obesity drains valuable resources from the nation’s healthcare budget, decreases worker productivity through an increased number of missed work days, and forces employers to spend more on their health care plans for overweight employees. These factors prove that obesity forces taxpayers to forgo valuable income and consumption in order to subsidize higher medical costs and treatments for the obese. According to Baum and Ford, “currently about one in three [Americans] are overweight and one in five obese” (2004, p. 885). These statistics are worrisome to economists and employers alike, and they warn us that the current rates are unsustainable.
Some symptoms of being obese include a body fat percentage greater than thirty percent for women and twenty-five percent for men or weighing more than twenty percent more than your ideal body weight (Simon 2000). One would need to visit their physician in order to accurately determine their body fat percentage or their ideal weight. Now that we have a better understanding of what obesity is, we will look at exactly how widespread it is and whom it affects. Being overweight and obesity are serious health problems. “In 1993, obesity was identified as a key contributor to at least 300,000 deaths each year in America,” according to former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health, J. Michael McGinnis, MD, and the former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), William Foege (Klein 2000).
Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat (Mayo Clinic staff par 1). United States citizens are known to have excessive amounts of body fat; 20% can be labeled as obese (Obesity Statistics & More par. 2). Heart disease, sleep apnea, infertility in woman, and type 2 diabetes are some effects of obesity on the body. Heart disease is is a huge risk factor of obesity.
While obesity is rising at an exponential rate, there is disconnect between how society views and defines obesity and the actual medical costs and future health risks the disease holds (ACSM, 2010). This is where medical professionals need to bridge the gap of medical and social construction. Medical Construction of Obesity: The American Medical Association defines overweight and obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. To classify weight status the most commonly used parametric in adults is Body Mass Index (BMI) a measure of weight-for-height (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) (Cawley, 2010) A BMI greater than or equal to twenty-five is considered overweight, and a BMI greater than or equal to thirty is considered obese. BMI is calculated differently in children because of body fat changes with age, and differs between girls and boys.
Obesity rates are soaring throughout North America (What Is Obesity?, 2013). With obesity reaching almost epidemic proportions in the United States, and the threat of a global epidemic, we must watch this alarming increase carefully ( Health Risks of Obesity, 2013). Obesity is defined as: "…an excess of adipose tissue…" (A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014). The two most common measures of obesity are Body Mass Index (BMI is a ratio of weight to height) and relative weight index, such as percent desirable weight (Body Mass Index , 2013). BMI is the most frequently used measure of obesity as it has a strong correlation with more direct measures of adiposity, such as underwater weighing (A Report of the Surgeon General, 2013).
“More die in the United States of too much food than of too little” ― John Kenneth Galbraith Why are Americans getting bigger by the day? And what's so bad about that anyway? Studies have shown that there are many negative effects associated with obesity. Obesity has been accused of contributing to many long-term conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes and cancer (Pennybacker 15). Along with the fact that obesity is the most common form of malnutrition in the Western world, it also affects sixty-four percent of Americans (Pennybacker 15; Brownell 1).
Clearly, trying to attack this problem just on the individual level will not yield satisfactory results. Approximately 280,000 adult deaths in the United States each year are related to obesity, and obesity is also related to the causes of some cancers, such as colon, rectum, ovary and prostate. Given the increasing prevalence of these diseases and the enormous growing social and economic costs of obesity, a part of the national budget needs to be set aside to provide educational and advocacy programs to help people and communities deal with this problem. The diet industries participate actively in reducing obesity by promoting the use of diet pills, low-fat recipes, surgical treatments to reduce fat, and topically applied creams. Even though obesity is often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, the media have chosen to tackle the problem by promoting the quick fixes mentioned above, instead of by challenging the exercise and food choice habits that promote obesity.
Globally, 400 million adults are obese, while predictions place this number at 700 million by 2015. The major issue confronting this adiposity is the health conditions that accompany states of extreme obesity. These include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis among others. The escalating number of obese and the health effects connected to this condition have resulted in increased research and attention to the study of obesity. It is the common belief that the cause of obesity is solely due to an excessive consumption of food.
Obesity is a condition of being overweight and is defined clinically by a body mass index (BMI). (Prentice and Jebb, 2003). Body mass index is the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared (NHS choices, 2012). The desirable BMI is in the range of 18.5 – 24.9, overweight is 25 – 29.9 clinically obese is 30 – 35.9 and morbidity obese is 36.0 and over (World Health Organization, 1998). The massive explosion in obesity rates worldwide has largely been responsible for the increase in diab... ... middle of paper ... ...NHS choices.
From the eye of overall public health Obesity has become a growing concern of health policy makers. As the United States attempts to contain health care costs from going higher it has to start to place polices around diseases and how to control and limit them. Obesity in the United States has been on the rise and that has a direct impact on the cost of health care. As the health market place is changing and attempting to make a general public healthier issues like obesity have come more into perspective. Obese patients equate for around 10 percent of the total health care cost for a year or if it looks better in dollars around 147 billion dollars in annual health care costs.