Obesity Epidemic in United States


Obesity is the accumulation of fats in an individual. It has been an epidemic in the U.S. This has been contributed largely by changes in economic and cultural trends in the whole world. This research has its purpose in determining the causes of this epidemic and how to reduce its effect on individuals. The research will also review impact obesity has on the health of an individual.

According to WHO, obesity is excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat in the human body which poses a risk to the health of individuals and leads to reduced life expectancy. Obesity can be easily assessed by calculation of body mass index (BMI) which shows the amount of fat accumulated in the body. It has been identified as an epidemic in the United States over two decades and still more children and adults are becoming obese.

According to CDCP (8), changes in behavioral patterns of society are linked to the causes of the obesity epidemic in the United States. Physical activities and calorie intake determines the energy balance in the body of an individual. Genes also determine a person’s vulnerability to weight gain. There are some limited cases where the disease is caused by a medical problem or effects of psychiatric illness. Over reliance of automated transport rather than working contributes to overweight and obesity (McGinnis 2210).

According to a study which was done by world health organization, above 60% of adults in the United States do not employ in the proposed amount of physical activities. About 25% are not active, and the rate of this inactiveness increases as they get older (Kopelman 107). Women are mostly affected than men in the same age and it affects people who are not educated and those who are employed but gets low income. Cigarette smoking has proved to be one of the many causes of obesity since it alters the insulin in the body (Sobal 235).

Effects of Obesity and Its Dangers to Human Health

Social Consequences

Physical appearance has been given more emphasis in the United States, and slim individuals are regarded as more attractive than big bodied people. This lead to emotional suffering to the obese people since people sees them as gluttonous and lazy. Sometimes obese people are discriminated against in social places, schools and even on the job market and as a result they feel hated and rejected. The situation can cause more diseases and health problems to them due to depression.

According to the national center for disease research indicate that in the past 30 years the prevalence of high body mass index has increased in children. This has been contributed by change in living style, nutritional factor and genetic predisposition (Mocan and Grossman 110). Evidence based studies indicate that if one doesn’t change the above behaviors while still young she will end up developing obesity in the future (Dietz and Stern 7). Obese children from the age of 12 to 19 years old had a frequency of 6.5 % in 1980 which increased to 19.5% by 2008. Obesity is brought in by consuming a lot of energy than the amount the body is spending (Gardner 5).

Obesity Effects on human health

Obesity and overweight cause triglycerides, insulin resistance and cholesterol increase which are undesirable metabolic effects. Medical researchers are not certain about the effects of obesity on human health since they use different cutoff of BMI (Joyne 234).

Skin problems, infertility, respiratory problems and chronic musculoskeletal are some of the nonfatal health problems associated with a person being obese. The fatal diseases associate with obesity is categorized into four main groups (Freedman et al. 15). The groups include CVD problems, two types of diabetes, cancers related problems and gallbladder diseases. Fat people are at the risk of conducting the two types of diabetes. A research has confirmed that about 85% of adults with diabetes have been obese since their childhood and they have he type two (Field 1560).

The risk of new onset asthma is higher among adults who are overweight with women having an increased risk as compared to men. Contrary, the effect is greater for people who are not allergic (Morrill 354). A research on asthma in the United States shows that obese adults use more medicine, makes more visits to health centers and wheezes more as compared to those who are not obese but have type 2 diabetes. Childhood obesity has been on the rise over the last 10 years and this is what has resulted to a lot of adults being obese. The following figure shows the statistics of obese boys and girls in the United States (Diane 378).

Trends in obesity among children and adolescents

Statics of obese adults in the united states between 1971 and 2006


Economic Factors Leading to Obesity

Nestle (342) Mentioned that, obesity is also related to the level of income a person gets. Most people in Americans who are highly paid have more disposable income which enables them to purchase fast food which is believed to contain high levels of fat and cholesterol. Technology has made this type of food readily available at convenient places (Goodman 10). This has greatly contributed to people taking junk food and doing less exercise resulting in obesity. Labor force composition has also increased the number of obese people in the U.S. (Zimme 150). This is because women have been so much occupied in the job place in that they are left with limited time with their families and still they don’t have adequate to time to prepare a balanced diet for them (Wellman 708).

The federal government should implement economic policies which will help in curbing this epidemic of obesity. Some of these policies may include increasing tax on some items like cigarette and junk foods to reduce consumption. The government should reduce food prices to motivate people to take more balanced diets and quit junk food. Taxes on foods which contains high calories like soft drinks and other should be increased to discourage people from consuming them (Colditz 504).

How to Reduce Obesity

According to Loureiro (57), Public awareness of the importance of physical exercise should be carried out thoroughly in the United States to convince more people to be participating in them in order to reduce obesity. The American people and mostly women should know the importance of taking balanced diet which has enough calories for their body (Strauss 20). The Media campaign should be intensified country wide to reach all people and motivate people to change their eating behavior and adopt the behavior of taking more fruits. The federal government should provide funds and incentives for swimming pools, sidewalks, parks and other recreation amenities as a way of encouraging people to do physical exercises. Smokers should be discouraged to smoke since this contributes to obesity (Gruber 185).


In conclusion, obesity is a serious disorder that must be prevented, as prevention is better than cure. This is one of the most prevalent diseases in children and adults in the U.S. In prevention of this disorder, physical exercises should be enhanced in small children in the whole world. Seriousness in controlling this devastating calamity should be enhanced to ensure that by 2015 the affected number is decreasing instead of rising (Lewit 130).

Every individual should be in a position to try controlling the disease. It has also been revealed that the disorder is also affecting people of other ages. Proper and optimistic strategies have to be laid down to curb the problem and to safe the generations to come. The health sectors in the United States of America should be on the front in controlling this epidemic and educating people on the benefits of taking a balanced diet and reducing the amount of fat consumed. Employers should encourage having weight management programs in the work place (Strumpf 6).

Works Cited

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Colditz, Graham. Economic costs of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 55 (1992): 503-507.

Diane, Gibson. Long-term food stamp program participation is differentially related to overweight in young girls and boys. Journal of Nutrition 134 (2004): 372-379.

Dietz, Willy, and Stern, Letty. The official complete home reference guide to your child’s nutrition. American Academy of Pediatrics 25 (1999): 1-9.

Field, Alison. Impact of overweight on the risk of developing common chronic diseases during a 10-year period. Journal of the American Medical Association 286 (2001): 1560.

Freedman, David. Et al. Cardiovascular risk factors and excess adiposity among overweight children and adolescents: the Bogalusa heart study. Journal of Pediatrics 150 (2007): 12-17.

Gardner, Terry. “The 5 problems caused by childhood obesity.” 2009. Web.

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Joyne, Robinson, and Godbey. Time for life: The surprising ways Americans use their time. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000. Print.

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McGinnis, James and Foege, Hurry. actual causes of death in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association 270 (1993): 2207-2212.

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Morrill, Allison, and Christopher, Chinn. The Obesity Epidemic in the United States. Journal of Public Policy 25.3-4 (2004): 353-366.

Nestle, Molisin. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. Print.

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Strauss, Rael. Childhood obesity and self-esteem. American Psychological Association Pediatrics 105 (2000): 15-25.

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Wellman, Nancy. Causes and consequences of adult obesity: health, social and economic impacts in the United States. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 11.8 (2002): S705-S709.

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