What is the Impact of Obesity in America?
Obesity remains a major challenge in America today. Today, about two thirds of American adults and a third of children are struggling with obesity, denoting the magnitude of the problem. According to research, approximately 51% of Americans will be obese by 2030 if the current trend is anything to believe. It also shows that obesity rates have grown exponentially in the last twenty years. For example, in early 90s, no American state had obesity rate of more than 15%. Data from Trust for Americans’ Health shows that 41 states have obesity rates of over 25%. It clearly shows that since 1980, obesity rate among children and adolescents has tripled. Currently, about 72% of adult men and 67% of older women are either obese or overweight. This article explores the impact of obesity in America, with special emphasis on the resources that the government is spending to address the situation.
Summary of the impact of obesity in America
Obesity has had economical, social and health effects in America. For example, obesity and health problems associated with it, lead to a wide range of economic impacts in America’s healthcare system. Importantly, medical costs that go towards overweight or obese cases could be direct or indirect. Direct medical expenses may include diagnostic, treatment and preventive services related to obesity. On the other hand, indirect costs are linked to morbidity and mortality costs, which include productivity. When people are obese, they become less productive as they are absent at work, low productivity at the place of work and premature mortality and disability.
The Federal government is spending public resources to address the issue of obesity instead of investing in other areas that add value to the lives of Americans. Nationally, medical care cost for obese cases has gone up. By 2008, obesity cost was put at $147 billion. Annual productivity costs of obese-caused absenteeism range between $3.38 billion and $6.38 billion. Besides this, the impact of obesity in America is significant. The situation is also having a toll on military recruitment. Between 2007 and 2008, 16.5 million women and 5.7 million men who were eligible to join the military could not meet enrollment requirements for weight and body fat.
Health effects of Obesity in America
Obesity has far-reaching negative effects on health. Obesity-related conditions cost more than 150 billion dollars annually and lead to about 300,000 premature deaths in America. The health effects associated with obesity and overweight are discussed in this section.
Firstly, obesity is a major cause of high blood pressure. When one has additional fat tissues, it means the body needs extra oxygen and nutrients. This means that blood vessels must supply the fat tissues with more blood. This increases the work of the heart as it pumps more blood through extra blood vessels. Increased blood circulation further implies that the artery walls experience intense pressure, which increases the blood pressure. In addition, overweight people have higher heart rate coupled with a low ability of the body to transport blood.
Another health impact of obesity in America is increased cases of diabetes. While type 2 diabetes is known to occur in adults, it is affecting American children today. Diabetes can be fatal, especially when it results into resistance to insulin, making your body incapable of regulating body sugar. Other health complications that stem from obesity are but not limited to heart disease, joint problems, sleep apnea, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and psychological effects.
The future impact of obesity in America
It is evident that obesity is a threat to America. If nothing is done and the trend continues, the rate of obese and overweight Americans will hit record highs in history. According to Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California, almost half of American women and about 40% of men will be obese by the year 2020. This will see cases of heart disease increase by 16% while deaths that are caused by obesity-induced heart disease will go up by 19%. In other words, obesity is America’s timed bomb.
Healthcare cost will also shoot by 40% annually while prescription costs will surpass 105%. Besides this, future impact of obesity in America will include childhood obesity, low productivity and a strained economy.
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