Obesity and Overweight in America


Obesityand Overweight in America

Overweightand Obesity is a serious Public Health Issue

Obesityis a body weight condition where a person has a Body Mass Index (BMI)of 30 or higher. At the same time, being overweight is having morefat in the body that it is optimally healthy. Being obese commonlycomes as a result of having more weight than normal, which is thebasis of being overweight. The prevalence of being overweight isgradually increasing worldwide, with the United States being amongthe countries that are most affected. Cunningham et al (2014) reportsthat out of American children that report to the kindergarten today,12.4% of them will be obese, while 14.9% of them will be overweightas they reach the eighth grade. As of the year 2014, the issue ofoverweight and obesity is among the current public health issues.

Obesityand overweight are a current public health issue in the United Statessince it is one of the main risk factors for a variety of diseases.The cost of being obese has been high in the United States due to theconsequences that come along with the situation. One of the costs isthat of treating the diseases that are associated with the conditionof being obese or being overweight. In addition, the cost of publiccampaigns and awareness programs is significantly to the UnitedStates budget. Most of the people are living with a lot of risks todiseases due to the condition of obesity and overweight. This makesobesity and overweight a serious health issue that risks the futureof the American population.

Impacton Public Health

Obesityis one of the risk factors for many non-communicable diseases inAmerica and all over the world. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes,hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and arthritis have no specificcauses, but have associated risk factors with obesity and overweightcondition being top of the list. In addition, childhood obesity isalso on the rise, which increases the risk for an unhealthypopulation in the future. According to Adam et al (2006), the rate ofobesity in America has increased over the last decades and a leadinghealth issue. By 2000, 65% of Americans were obese or overweight, arate that has since increased to over 68.7%to date (ref).

Asa result, obesity has contributed to deaths of adults in the UnitedStates by increasing the risk for diseases (Adamset al, 2006). Accordingto Flegalet al (2010),obesity and overweight increases the risk for diseases by between 20%and 40% compared to normal weight people. At the same time, Flegalet al (2010), reportsthat the life expectancy is reduced to three years by beingoverweight at the age of 40 years.

Causesof Overweight and Obesity

Oneof the main causes of obesity and overweight problem is poornutrition among the American population. People are taking poor dietsthat are dominated by a lot of starch and carbohydrates instead of abalanced diet. According to Hunter (2013), obesity is associated withthe taking of a lot of fats in the diet or uptake of a lot of sugars.As a result, the body has too much sugar and fats than it is neededfor daily activities. The body, therefore stores the excess fats andsugars in terms of fatty tissues, leading to obesity and overweightcondition (Ezzati&amp Riboli, 2013).Poor diets with no balance, especially with water and roughage are akey cause of poor health and obesity in the United States.

Inaddition, the emergence of fast food joints and uncontrolled satietyfor the sweet unhealthy food is another cause for obesity andoverweight conditions. According to Flegalet al (2010),most of the fast foods are commercially made foods with a lot of fatsand sugars that the normal health recommendation. Fast foods such aschips, hamburger and pizzas have high levels of fats, sugars andcalories than the body requires on a daily basis (Ezzati&amp Riboli, 2013).The growth of the fast food industry has led to the establishment offast foods in every state and neighborhood location in the U.S. as aresult people regularly take the fatty foods and the excessivelysugary foods.

Whileobesity and overweight is associated with poor diet, anothersignificant cause is the lack of body exercise and adoption ofunhealthy lifestyle. While people are taking unhealthy foods, theyare also increasingly avoiding exercises that will help the body burnout the excess calories. According to Hunter (2013), most Americansdo not undergo regular body exercises or engage in activities thatlead to the use of body fats. As a result, the rate of obesity hasgradually increased over the recent years. In addition, the lifestyleof Americans has changed over time due to the domination of officejobs that do not require physical work of movements. Watching TVs athome after work and taking vehicles when traveling also contributesto the lack of exercises. Consequently, the prevalence of obesity andoverweight conditions has increased in recent years.

PublicHealth Solutions to control Obesity and Overweight

Publichealth education is one of the most appropriate public healthsolutions that can succeed in fighting obesity. Teaching people aboutthe importance of proper nutrition and a balanced diet is aneffective way of creating specific awareness about public health(Hunter, 2013). In addition, it is important to teach people aboutthe consequences of poor nutrition as well as the results of fattyfoods. With a good public health campaign, people will learn theimportance of moderation and controlled uptake of fast foods or fattyfoods (Hunter, 2013). For instance, people need to be taught aboutthe health consequences of sugary soft drinks and commerciallymanufactured foods. More importantly, people will be taught on theimportance of exercises and engaging in healthy personal activities.

Whileeducation is important, the public health agencies should offercomprehensive rehabilitation programs for the obese people. Accordingto Hunter (2013), such programs will help the affected population torecover their healthy body status. This will reduce the risk factorsfor the diseases that are associated with obesity. In addition, theuse of public health centers to scan the obese people with healthconditions such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases isalso necessary.


Theprevalence of obesity and overweight people in America is a publichealth issue that is posing threats to the future of the population.The health risks that are associated with obesity and overweightconditions are a serious public health concern because of themortality of the associated diseases. While obesity and beingoverweight is caused by poor nutrition and lack of exercises, itsprevalence has increased due to the development of fast foodindustry. Therefore, public education and rehabilitation should beimproved as measures to control obesity in America.


Adams,K. F. Schatzkin, A. Harris, T. B. Kipnis, V. Mouw, T.Ballard-Barbash, R. et al. (2006). &quotOverweight, Obesity, andMortality in a Large Prospective Cohort of Persons 50 to 71 YearsOld&quot. TheNew England Journal of Medicine 355(8): 763–788.

Cunningham,S.A., Kramer, M.R., &amp Narayan, V. (2014). Incidence of ChildhoodObesity in the United States. NEngl J Med 2014 370 (1):403-411

Ezzati,M., &amp Riboli, E. (2013). Behavioral and Dietary Risk Factors forNoncommunicable Diseases. TheNew England Journal of Medicine (10)369:954-964

Flegal,KM Katherine M. Flegal, PhD Margaret D. Carroll, MSPH Cynthia L.Ogden, PhD Lester R. Curtin, PhD (January 13, 2010). &quotPrevalenceand Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999–2008&quot. Journalof the American Medical Association 303(3): 235–241

Hunter,D. J., &amp Srinath R. (2013). NoncommunicableDiseases.TheNew England Journal of Medicine(10)369:1336-1343