Obesity and Overweight Health Issues
Obesity and overweight are abnormal fat accumulation in the body that may impact the health of a person. Obesity and overweight are the most serious challenges facing public health sectors globally in the 21st century. The problem is rising steadily and largely affecting many low and middle-income countries (Prentice, 2006). Findings show that nearly one-third of the world’s population is suffering from obesity or overweight. According to Caballero (2007), obesity is a problem affecting people of all ages and income everywhere across the globe. Despite the increasing rates of obesity, no single country has realized success in reducing obesity rates. Besides, there is a likelihood of the obesity rates to increases among the low and middles class countries as their incomes continue to rise if urgent measures are not taken to address the issue (Malik, Willett , & Hu, 2012).The countries largely affected by the obesity and overweight problems comprises of the United States, China, and India (Caballero, 2007). Among children and teenagers, obesity has been increasing steadily. The childhood obesity is rising rampantly among the low and middle-income countries. Additionally, developed nations experience obesity cases whereby boys register significant cases than girls. Over centuries, human beings have been struggling to overcome the problems of food scarcity. However, recently, the issue of food scarcity has become questionable as a result of increasing rates of obesity and overweight cases in different parts of the world. Ideally, obesity is a condition that is associated with high socioeconomic status. This explains why obesity conditions were widespread in the developed countries such as the United States and Europe in the 20th century. However, in the 21st century, the trend has changed, and obesity health-related challenges are quite high developing countries such as Thailand, China, Mexico, India, and others (Malik, Willett, & Hu, 2012).
Size, Nature, and Distribution of Obesity and Overweight Problems
The first obesity cases in the developing world were associated with the higher socioeconomic class. However, the World Health Organization report indicates that the trend has shifted to the lower socioeconomic class. For example, the survey from Brazil shows that in 1989 the cases of obesity were widespread among the populations of the higher socioeconomic class, but ten years later the overweight issues were highly reported among the lower socioeconomic class populations (World Health Organization, 2016). The World Health Organization attributes these problems in the developing countries to the existence of households with undernourished child and an overweight adult, a condition known as “dual burden” of disease.
Obesity and overweight are prevalent in all population groups. However, the cases vary in different population groups. As noted earlier one-third of the world population is suffering from obese and overweight health related problems. The United States leads with the 13 percent of the children and young adults suffering from obesity. Egypt leads with the adults the highest percentage of adults with obesity (Meera, 2017). The World Health Organization released in 2015 indicate that 2.2 billion people are either obese or they are experiencing overweight problems. Out of 2.2 billion people, 710 million were classified as obese with 5 percent of the children and 12 percent of adults falling in this category (Meera, 2017). Despite the fact that the adults register high levels of obesity than the children, the research shows the trend is shifting to children. This has raised concern about the obesity-related risks if measures are not undertaken to counteract the problem.
The increment of obesity among the children is largely evidenced in large population sizes especially in India and China. The two countries have 14.4 million and 15.3 million obese children respectively. On the other side, the United States has the highest number of obese adults as exhibited by 79. 4 million people, 35 percent of the population followed by China with 57.3 million people. Bangladesh and Vietnam experience the lowest obesity rates each with 1 percent (Meera, 2017). The analysis of this World Health Organization report portrays that failure to employ appropriate measures to control the alarming rates of obesity, the world will be greatly affected especially by the new cases being evidenced among low and middle-income countries. Alternatively, obesity and overweight levels have risen in all countries irrespective of the socioeconomic status. This means that this health problem is not associable with the developed world only but also developing economies. Therefore, it is high time the world employed appropriate approaches of stimulating the public on how to control the phenomenon.
Effects of Obesity and Overweight
The high levels of obesity and overweight among different population groups represent the different diseases associated with these health ailments. The World Health Organization report observes that researchers have been raising the alarm on the increasing rates of obesity without creating awareness to the public on how being overweight can be fatal. According to WHO 2015 report, 70 percent deaths related to overweight were due to cardiovascular diseases (Meera, 2017). Additionally, diabetes was confirmed as the second leading cause of death. With the improved medical services, the cases of the cardiovascular disease have increased, but the number of deaths has reduced. This is an indication that people are not worried by being obese or overweight provided there will be clinical interventions that will guarantee them better health. However, it has gone unforgotten that the clinical intervention services are very expensive especially for the low and middle-income countries (World Health Organization, 2011). This means the cases of reporting high deaths resulting from the developing world is high.
Leading Health Determinants of Obesity and Overweight
The earlier discussion on obesity and overweight has proved the two issues are widespread among the developing world countries. Therefore, it would be important to look at the general causes of these health-related issues in the developing countries before going deep to explore the specific causes. Of the most factors causing obesity and overweight in the developing countries, urbanization and globalization dominate (Caballero, 2007). Urban living standards have a profound impact on energy balance. Usually, urban living is associated with the lower energy requirements than the rural living. This means the energy that the rural dwellers use in the manual labor for the urban dwellers it is preserved (Sartorius, Veerman, Manyema, Chola, & Hofman, 2015). Therefore, the energy intake among the urban populations do not to match energy output.
On the globalization aspect, modern commerce has penetrated in the developing world through marketing as well as food production. As a result, there has been an increase in the production of the less costly food and energy-dense foods in the emerging economies. Marketing campaigns and pricing strategies have played very crucial role in food purchasing patterns in the developing countries. In return, the households have turned on consumption of energy-dense foods. This is happening without engaging in activities that will facilitate energy expenditure and hence contributing to weight gain among the adults (Caballero, 2007). The eating trends are being transferred in the rural areas where the cases of obesity and overweight are being reported especially among the women.
Ideally, obesity and overweight occur as a result of energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Globally, there has been increasing trend of energy-dense food intake and a decline in physical activities (Orpin, 2014). Besides, genetics and personal environment have been listed as the major causes of obesity and overweight. Reduced physical activities among the human race means that people do not burn all the calories they undertake. This contributes to imbalance resulting in the weight gain. Additionally, the environment surrounding people influences how they will maintain their healthy weight. For instance, in the urban settings and areas where people are likely to consume energy-dense foods, and there are no affordable gyms or sidewalks, there will be a high probability of them being affected by overweight problems. In developed parts of the world such as the United States, there are increased trends of oversized food portions with high calories intake (Popkin, 2015). This makes it difficult even for the physical activities to burn all the calories taken. In addition, food marketing campaigns influence people to purchase unhealthy foods, for example, sugary drinks and high-fat snacks.Genetics has also been found to play a crucial role in the obesity cases being witnessed across the globe. The medical research confirms that genes can directly cause obesity disorders such as Prader–Willis Syndrome (Popkin, 2015). This forms one of the greatest challenges in controlling the rates of obesity. Besides, these genes may also have the upper hand in contributing to weight gain. When supplemented with high calories intake, a person will experience both obesity and weight gain at the same time. With genes being a major cause of some of the obesity and overweight cases it will be hard to control the problems. This is because of the possibility to transfer the genes from one generation to another as well as complex interaction among multiple genes and environmental factors that have remained misunderstood for long.
Barriers and Opportunities for Prevention
As much as there have been plans and programs to end obesity and overweight health-related issues, still exist hurdles that have been hampering the efforts. According to Abolhassani, et al. (2012) 2016 the participants that engage in weight reduction exercises experience barriers such as lack of time for exercise, lack of family and work support, lack of motivation and physical problems. In addition, (Rodríguez-Ventura, Pelaez-Ballestas, & Sámano-Sámano, 2014) has found that limitation to weight loss is caused by preference to buy fast food, economic limitations, inadequate or lack of understanding of the effects of being overweight, poor understanding of healthy diet and habits and limited time to buy healthy food. The two types of research attribute these factors as the major obstacles derailing the efforts to fight obesity and overweight problems in the global arena.
Despite the existence of the barriers to the prevention of obesity and overweight, some strategies and approaches can be employed to facilitate the reduction of these health problems. These strategies can be grouped into state and local programs, community efforts and healthy living. At both state and local level, resources should be provided to ensure consistent public health recommendations that will make sure people maintain a healthy weight. Secondly, the community should integrate its efforts by supporting healthy eating habits that are characterized by active living. Thirdly, the observance of the healthy living through weight assessment, healthy weight and engaging in physical activity basics will help in counteracting the increasing alarming obesity and overweight rates globally.
Obesity and overweight are just like any other health global problems. However, the challenge remains that they are problems that can be controlled but the human race has failed to so. Besides, these health problems are no longer associable with the higher socioeconomic class. This is evidenced by the prevalent shift of obesity and overweight cases on the low and middle-income classes in the developing countries. This calls for the intervention to end these problems before they become rampant.