Obesity is a lifestyle disease that has become more common in the healthcare population, especially in the United States. Obesity is a preventable disease but is the result to numerous deaths and complications. It is a serious issue because it puts patients at risk for multiple opportunistic deadly diseases, such as, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, etc. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the effects obesity has on individuals and society.
The prevalence of an overweight and obese population is on the up rise. Currently, most American adults and a considerable number of children and teens have weight levels in the overweight or obese range. The number of Americans who are obese are estimated at about 73 million adults and 12 million children and teenagers. The children and teens who are overweight are likely to become obese if they gain weight as time progresses. (Glickman, 2012). There are many societal drivers that play a part in why a vast majority of the population has become obese or overweight. Americans have been notorious for being called lazy. With this being said, it is a lot more convenient for someone to get access to food through a drive through as opposed to going grocery shopping and cooking a healthy meal. Finances also play a role in the frequency of obesity.
The cost of going grocery shopping for healthy food items is significantly higher than fast food. It is a lot easier for consumers to have access to a fast food restaurant. Producers also use this to their advantage. They advertise dollar menus and cheap prices on their fast food which influences the consumer to purchase their unhealthy food choices. Another contributor to societal weight gain is the prevalence of technology. The use of technology has increased as the years progressed. People now have more access to electronic devices which decreases the amount of physical activity an average person needs.
Consequences of Obesity
As stated previously, obesity is associated with many opportunistic diseases that are potentially fatal. Obesity takes a drastic toll on the individual. According to the excerpt, obesity relates to major causes of death and disorders, as well as with psychosocial consequences that alter the ability of the human body to function both physically and mentally. (Glickman et al, 2012). Not only does this disease have a dramatic effect on the body’s ability to function but it may also cause a person to develop depression. This may be caused due to a disturbed body image or the intense emotions that come with the body’s inability to function properly.
The primary disease that is associated with obesity is high blood pressure, which is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. (Glickman et al., 2012). Developing this disease along with possible others causes an individual to be at risk for a shorter life span. More money is also being spent in order to try and improve the opportunistic diseases that are associated with this disorder. The estimated yearly cost of obesity-related disease based on information from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey is $190 billion. (Glickman et al., 2012). If obesity affects an individual’s quality of life, then the person is not able to work thus causing the productivity of society to decrease and suffer as an entity.
The previous paragraphs focus on how obesity affects society and the individual as an entity. Obesity prevention is so essential because a healthy body is needed in order to function physically and cognitively. You need to be in good health in order for your body to maintain a balance and be a positive reinforcer in society. The best way to prevent obesity is to approach it on a societal level. Health advocates, nurses, personal trainers, nutritionists, should tackles the school system and workforce.
They should hold seminars that promote healthy eating, diet and exercise. The vending machines that are in the schools and professional settings should offer healthy choices. A system’s approach enabled the committee to identify the factors that contributed to obesity holistically and what actions to take in order to prevent it. (Glickman et al., 2012).
The concept of accelerated progress is mentioned often in the IOM report. Accelerating progress in obesity prevention is a concept used by the Institute of Medicine. This concept was created in order to address the issue of obesity and discover ways to control the disorder. The committee does this by creating a set of recommendations for individuals and society to follow in order for the occurrence of obesity to decrease.
Obesity is considered an epidemic so it would be merely impossible to expect change in a short amount of time, so the committee promotes accelerating progress in hopes of preventing obesity over the next decade. The committee created a total of five recommendations in order to improve obesity. The committee identified recommendations and actions with the greatest potential to impact the development of obesity and prioritized them using the most relevant scientific evidence. (Glickman et al., 2012). The committee started out with over 800 recommendations and narrowed it down to five. The five environments for change include: physical activity, food and beverages, message, health care and work, and the school system.
The committee incorporated physical activity and healthy food and beverage choices as one of the environments of change because they believe that incorporating these two factors as a part of your daily routine would substantially decrease obesity. The first recommendation discusses how community leaders should promote physical activity as a priority by increasing opportunities to exercise. One of the strategies they plan to use in order to achieve this goal is implement various programs that promote physical activity. The second recommendation suggests that government officials try to decrease unhealthy beverage and food options.
They believe that prohibiting access to sugar sweetened beverages is a strategy used to achieve this goal. The committee also believes that there needs to be a change in how the message is relayed. The third recommendation suggests that powerful people in the community and society should try and transform the message of how healthy food is marketed. A strategy used to improve this is to market healthy food choices in a way that will appeal to children and adolescents. It is briefly discussed in the article that many celebrities and athletes often advertise fast and junk foods, which makes consumers want to purchase these items. The committee believes that if these celebrities should be an advocate for healthy food choices and physical exercise.
The role that health care providers have on society is also another environment for change. The fourth recommendation discusses how health care providers should support healthy food options and physical exercise. The committee believes that insurers should fully cover the cost of screenings for obesity diagnosis and prevention. The last environment of change involves the school system. Children and teens spend most of their days at school and in after school practices. The committee recommends that school systems should make obesity prevention pervasive by making physical activity a requirement.
Engagement and equity
The concept of engagement is very important when it comes to obesity prevention. It is important that people who come from all socioeconomic, ethnical and political backgrounds come together in order to use effective strategies for each group in obesity prevention. The committee discusses how individuals, families and people from the community should be involved in order to achieve equity. They believe the different populations are dependent upon another and is necessary in order to make a change.
Obesity has taken a drastic toll on the American population. It is constantly affecting the individual physically, emotionally and mentally and decreasing the productivity of society. The Accelerating Prevention of obesity was designed by a group of people in order to improve the health of each and every individual, so they are able to fulfill a positive purpose in today’s society.
- Glickman, D., Parker, L., Sim, LJ., et al., editors.(2012). Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention. National Academies Press (US),