Obesity: A Disease
Obesity is emerging as a health epidemic around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is rapidly spreading across all regions and demographic groups.
An estimated 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese. That figure represents more than 50% of the American adult population. Of this group, 11 million adults suffer from severe obesity. Obesity is an excess of total body fat, which results from caloric intake that exceeds energy usage. A measurement used to assess health risks of obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI).
The American Obesity Association reports that obese individuals have a 50-100% increased risk of death as compared to normal weight individuals, with 300,000 to 587,000 deaths each year. This substantial increase in health risks has made obesity the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Causes of Obesity
The genes you inherited from your parents
How well your body turns food into energy
Your eating and exercising habits
Your surroundings & psychological factors
Consequences of Obesity
If you are obese, severely obese, or morbidly obese, you may have
Major Health Risks
Shorter Life Expectancy Compared to people of normal weight, obese people have a 50% to 100% increased risk of dying prematurely.
Obese people have more risk for:
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Joint problems (e.g., arthritis)
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Gallbladder problems
- Certain types of cancer (breast, uterine, colon)
- Digestive disorders (e.g., gastro esophageal reflux disease, or GORD)
- Breathing difficulties (e.g., sleep apnea, asthma)
- Psychological problems such as depression
- Problems with fertility and pregnancy
- Urinary Incontinence
Risks to psychological and social well-being
- Negative self-image
- Social isolation
Difficulties with day-to-day living
- Normal tasks become harder when you are obese, as movement is more difficult
- You tend to tire more quickly and you find yourself short of breath
- You may find it difficult to maintain personal hygiene