The American Continent has been in the headlines for the high prevalence rates of obesity among adults and children. Unhealthy eating habits have been cited as the main cause of this disease. Obesity was declared a national disaster since it was the major cause of deaths on the continent. According to the study by the RTI International in 2009, the US spends close to $147 million per annum to treat obese patients. Surprisingly, the value is still on the increasing, and in less than ten years, the total annual medical cost has doubled.
Obesity remains a serious and common disease in America. According to statistics, over one-third of adults in the United States – approximately 35% – are suffering from the overweight. Stroke, some types of cancer, diabetes II, and heart complications are some of the key conditions that people with obesity might have. The medical cost of obesity in 2008 was $1,429, more than the cost of treatment for people with normal weight (Adult Obesity Facts par. 2).
An adult with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 is said to be obese; however, those with BMI of 25 to 29.9 are classified as overweight. Adults of healthy weight have a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, while the underweight adults have a BMI below 18.5. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), the disease affects some groups of people more than others (Adult Obesity Facts par. 7).
There exist different age-adjusted rates of obesity among the non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, and the Blacks. In this category, the Blacks in America have the utmost prevalence rate of 47.7%, while Asians have the lowest age-adjusted rate of obesity of 10.9%. In terms of age, the chronic disease affects adults between 40-59 years more than other groups; the percentage comparison lies at 39.5% for middle age adults, 35.4% for those over 60, and 30.3% for young adults of 20-29 years (Bray 47).
Moreover, the disease has different prevalence rates among people of different socioeconomic statuses. For instance, Mexican-American men with low income are less likely to be obese as compared to their counterparts with higher salaries. On the other hand, females with lower salaries are more subjected to suffer from obesity than those who get greater pay. Education and obesity are closely related when speaking about women; females with no certificates of tertiary level of education are probably to suffer from this chronic ailment more compared to those with higher education. However, this trend does not apply or exist among men.
The CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) also indicates that regions and states in America have different prevalence of obesity. In the 2012 report, Louisiana topped the list of obesity prevalence with 34.7%, while the District of Columbia had 23% (Caldwell par. 5). Regionally, South and Midwest reported higher rates of 29.4% and 29.5% respectively, while the Northeast and the West had lower prevalence rates of 25.3% and 25.1% respectively.
Children and teens in America are not exempted from the spread of the chronic disease. The past three decades, from 1980, have seen the prevalence rate among youngsters of 6 to 11 years triple to 19.5% from 5.99%. At the same time, teenagers recorded an increase, more than three times the initial rate, that is, from 5% to 19%.
Since overweight is closely related to obesity, the CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) provided a data that indicated 17% of teenagers and 19% of youngsters of 6 to 11 years as overweight in 2000 (Hellmich par. 4). The data also indicated that 15% of teenagers and children were likely to become overweight based on their survey on the body mass index (BMI).
Since athletes and footballers are also prone to the risk of becoming obese, there is need for a standard health screening for all the risk factors, such as fat in the abdominal area, cholesterol, high blood pressure, proteins’ presence in the blood, as well as glucose intolerance. Even though scientists are still struggling to comprehend the complexity of obesity, instances of genetics have been found to cause the disease. In other situations, metabolic, behavioral, and hormonal factors play key role in causing the chronic disease.
The US remains in the spotlight in regards to the problem of obesity since it has experienced a high level of prevalence compared to other countries. To overcome the disease, doctors instruct people to eat responsibly. For example, fast foods like french fries and hamburgers, which have high fat and carbohydrate level, can easily cause obesity.
All meals should meet the nutrition standards set by professionals (Van-Grouw and Volpe 398). Moreover, Americans should avoid sedentary lifestyles, this will boost the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), hence decreasing unhealthy triglycerides. In addition, the Federal Government launched anti-obesity program in order to change the Americans’ lifestyles. For example, the First Lady Michelle Obama spearheads a program that intends to eradicate obesity among children. There is also the school nutrition policy that aims at doing away with all snack foods and sodas in order to help children consume the right products.
Adult Obesity Facts. N.p., 2014.
Bray, George. Obesity in America. New York: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, National Institutes of Health, 1979. Print.
Caldwell, Emily. Athletes Not Spared From Health Risks Of Metabolic Syndrome. N.p., 2009.
Hellmich, Nanci. U.S. obesity rate levels off, but still an epidemic. N.p., 2013.
Van-Grouw, Jacqueline, and Stella Volpe. “Childhood obesity in America.” Current Opinion in Endocrinology & Diabetes and Obesity 20.5 (2013): 396-400. Print.