Medicine Essay Paper on Obesity Epidemic

OBESITY EPIDEMIC

Obesity

Obesity is an ill health condition characterized by excess fat accumulation in the body that leads to health disorders. One main cause of the disease is excess consumption of energy food and lack of physical exercise. For a person to be considered obese, the BMI value of a person must exceed the value of 30kg/m2. In order to calculate the BMI value, the body weight in kilograms is divided by the square of the person’s height in meters. Mathematically it can be represented as (body weight in Kg)/ (Height in meters2). Further classification of obesity is done using body mass index values. Between the value of 30.00 and 34.99 is considered Class I obesity. Class II obesity is considered for values between 35.00 and 39.99, while class III obesity, which is termed as the worst medical condition, begins from the value of 40 and beyond. A person is likely to become obese if the calorie intake becomes higher than the calories expended in his or her body. Normally, obesity comes along with another disease.

History of Obesity

Obesity originates from Latin utterance ‘obesitas’ which means “fat, plump or stout”. The father of medicine; Hippocrate, once stated that, “fat people are prone to sudden deaths than the lean people”, according to (Stern, J 2009, 1). The history of obesity can be identified is some works dating many years ago. The statue of Venus of Willendorf dating 22,000BCE portrays a figure of obese woman, according to (Stern and Kazaks 2009, 1). Obesity was first termed as a medical disorder by the Greeks.

Obesity in the United States of America

More than one-third of United States adults are obese (CDC, 2014). In other statistics, 17% of the youths in United States are obese (Jamanetwork 2014). This clearly indicates that a large population is vulnerable to obesity related diseases, which include stroke, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and certain cancer and type-2 diabetes. Women with obesity have high chances of contracting ovarian, endometrial, and postmenopausal cancer according to (Nammi, S  et al. 2014, 1). Nammi also claims that obesity is responsible for 3,000,000 premature deaths each year in the United States of America. Obesity has been termed as ‘terror within’ in (Biltekoff C. 2007, 29) because it seems to cause many deaths among the American population compared to other causes of deaths. In addition, obesity is described as the “New World Syndrome” by (Nammi, S  et al. 2014, 1). For good reasons, it is, therefore, reasonable to consider obesity as an epidemic disease. There is a great demand for elaborate management of the epidemic before it silently clears the human race.

The Eating Culture

Among the cause of obesity, poor eating culture is one of them. In this modern era, the main reason why obesity has made its way and established its roots is because of poor eating habits. The recommended intake for discretionary calories, which includes the solid fats and sugar, is 5% to 15% per day. However, according to recent analyses by (Ogden et al., 2014, 1) American children and adolescents obtain approximately 16% of their total caloric intake from added sugars in a day. This gives a strong negative signal of how obesity cases continue to rise at an unprecedented rate when nutritional and dietary measures are not applied. With such a trend, the life expectancy of the young generation may fall sharply compared to that of their parents. Increased sugar and fat consumption causes increase in body weight and decreased intake of micronutrients, which are very vital in the body. Checking the eating behavior can help in curbing the epidemic.

Prevention Strategies

In order to manage obesity effectively,  a comprehensive range of strategies focusing on those with existing weight troubles and also on those at high risk of developing obesity is required (Nammi, S  et al. 2014, 1). Good plans that are effective are necessary to wrestle one of the main causes of deaths in United States. The first step is making personal decision. Every person should be aware of his or her calories intake per day (Ohlhorst, S. 2013, 1355). Ohlhorst also states that learning how many calories you should consume in a day is a critical step in managing your weight. The most successful method of fighting obesity is taking a personal responsibility by ensuring that you diet and exercise accordingly. With the realities of the epidemic, no one can afford to ignore the simple measure that ensures his or her safety and wellbeing. A personal initiative includes developing personal dietary guidelines that ensure that correct measures of daily nutrients demands are properly administered.

Also creating many sites that educates people on obesity can play a primary role of controlling the epidemic. In the budget prepared by the government, adequate allocation of funds for establishing education and treatment centers specifically for obesity should be considered. Creating nation-wide monitoring programs to assess the campaign development

Food processing industries should also help in curbing the epidemic. They should come up with alternatives for sugars and fats or lower their levels at the same time ensuring that other required nutrients are preserved. Actually some companies are adding ingredients to their drinks that are intended to help in weight loss and add nutrition (Theodore, S. 2007, 1).

Primary prevention measure

Primary prevention measures focuses on curbing the onset of an epidemic disease. The best way of upholding this measure is by controlling the hazardous factors among the healthy people that can cause the disease. Considering family based intervention, individual therapies and also setting based interventions in the community, schools or work place can significantly help. Day plans in all institutions to encourage physical activity can promote body fitness and ensures that the balance between calories taken and the ones utilized by the body are well maintained.

Diet counseling should be supported in communities to ensure that people are educated and guided on how to manage their weight. Small mobile centers can give good services to the community and ensure preventive measures are firmly established even in the remote zones. Poor eating culture and lack of physical exercise can lead to increase in weight.

Prevention should also begin with the children. The parents should guide their children in proper heath care and ensure that they educate their children on importance of weight management. The school curriculum should consider physical exercise and education on weight management as important tool of fighting the epidemic.

Prevention is valuable because it cuts the cost that might be incurred in tying to cure what comes along with the disease. Harnessing clinical services that are preventive in nature can also help avoid the epidemic. Campaigns should be conducted to promote weight check -ups in the communities

Secondary prevention measure

These are the measures that are taken following the onset of the disease. The main aim is to treat and cure the disease. They include identification of persons having the illness and giving treatment to those persons so as to avoid more spreading. Involving interventions of surgical and pharmacological actions can change the increasing trend of the disease. Once a person has been identified as an obese, physical therapy and diet guide should be used to help the person recover. Diet drinks have great ingredients that are required by the body and at the same time, they help in reducing body weight. Normally, the sugar-free drinks are made differently and specifically to help the people with obesity. These drinks are made to cut calorie intake so as to maintaining body weight. In extreme cases, where physical exercising and dieting is not yielding effective results, suction-assisted lipectomy or what may be referred to as liposuction can be engaged. This surgical process helps to take away excess fats from specific parts of the body. This method is not recommendable to persons wishing to lose weight but specifically for those who want to lose excess fats.

Tertiary Prevention Measure

These are measures that are done to the final stage of a disease. It is aimed at treating the disease to minimize the amount of disability it can cause. A foot check should be administered to people with diabetes in order to identify infections that may demand amputation if not attended to. After establishing the extent that obesity has spread, it is important to help those who are seriously weakened by the disease. Treatment of diseases that are related to obesity can also giver some relieve to the victims. However, the government should ensure medical facilities are brought within the reach of every person.

Establishing a framework to approach prevention

The strategies that are in action currently have succeeded somehow, however they have not reached the required threshold in order to curb the menace in the near future. Currently, hardly any interventions have managed to effectively eradicate the epidemic. The country has not been able to slow down the increasing trend though targets have been put to reduce the epidemic. Healthy policy reforms have been created to paralyze the effects of obesity.  The prevalence seems to be denser in the zones with the most disadvantaged people in term social-economical ability.

Good policy implementation can aid in lowering the health disparity. If the policies are well implemented, a large number of the cases would be reduced. Considering the magnitude of the disease, a long term objective should be created, with complete sensitization campaigns to ensure that the education systems and socio-economical status of the entire population is raised to a level of great awareness against the disease.  Strong leadership against the epidemic is also required in order to ensure the long term goals are achieved. Community based programs, using the already available heath care facilities and increasing mobile services to educate and encourage people to work on their weight can help reduce the epidemic significantly. Community-based promotions for physical exercise can help in curbing the predicament.

In this modern era, media and social sites are playing a vital role in communication. Dense anti-obesity campaign through the social networks and media can help to emphasize the need to fight the terror within. Emulating the successful smoking campaigns in Australia where the government gave unprecedented support against smoking (Pierce, J. 1990, 1), anti-obesity campaigns can include bans on some drinks with high calorific values and restricting their manufacturing in the country. Expanding programs for educating the people and increasing funds to be used for sensitization strategies can give a great support to the campaign. It would be great idea to considering creating a group to be working on the strategies to be followed just like Australia did in the public health campaign against smoking (Pierce, J. 1990, 1). Best talents and minds can be used to offer best solutions in eradicating the predicament. The non-governmental groups collaborating with the government can foresee the success of the campaign strategy.

Conclusion

There has been some effort towards fighting the disease but still they are not enough. Obesity should be considered as an epidemic that is causing more deaths than the highly feared terrorism. Many other diseases that are also causing deaths every day relates to obesity. Cancer, diabetes, and stroke are some of the most ordinary diseases in our areas. Personal discipline and national campaign can help to ensure a healthy nation with no death come from obesity cases. Food processing companies should come up with foodstuffs that have low calorific values but with high nutrient content in them. It is vital to equip the children and the youths with relevant knowledge about weight management. The schools and all other institutions should embark on educating their members about obesity. In addition, the social media can be an effective means of sending these campaigns everywhere.

References

“Overweight and Obesity”. Centers of Disease Control and prevention. March 28 2014, accessed from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html 27 May 2014.

“Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States 2011-2012” The JAMA

            accessed from network http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832542 27 May 2014

Biltekoff ,C., (2014.)The Terror Within: Obesity in Post 9/11 U.S. Life. American Studies, Volume 48, Number 3, Fall 2007, pp. 29-48. 27 May 2014.

 Ogden C. L., 2014. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ohlhorst, S. D., 2013. The many roles of ASN scientists in the dietary guidelines for Americans process1,2. The Journal of Nutrition, 143(8), 1355-6. accessed from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1443710361?accountid=1611

Pierce, J, Macaskill P, and Hill D., 1990. Long-term effectiveness of mass media led antismoking campaigns in Australia. American Journal of Public Health: Vol. 80, No. 5, pp. 565-569.

Stern, J. S., & Kazaks, A., 2009. Obesity: a reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif, ABC-CLIO.

Theodore, S., 2007. “Diet drinks go ‘plus’-sized”. Beverage Industry, 98(3), 51-54.http://search.proquest.com/docview/196513328?accountid=1611 15 May 2014