From the chubby kid in your math class, to the plump grocer at the supermarket, everyone has encountered an individual who might be obese. Obesity is a problem that plagues every part of the world. Obesity has reached epidemic levels. In 2005 the World Health Organization estimated that approximately 1.6 billion of the world’s population or 25% was obese. This is two times the number of people who are malnourished.
It is no secret that obesity is an undesired problem. The largest issue related to obesity is how it can affects one appearance. Obese individuals are often perceived to be large and flabby. Obese individuals may also be stereotyped as lazy and inactive.
Traits associated with being obese are largely undesirable, and obese individuals may often be shunned. However the cosmetic of being obese far pales in comparison to the detrimental effects on one’s health.
What is Obesity?
There are many terms associated with obese. Of which some include fat and overweight. There is in fact, several different degrees of obesity. Being overweight means having a Body Mass Index ( BMI ) of 25 or higher, while a BMI of 30 and above would make someone obese. A BMI of 30 and over would render one morbidly obese, and severely at risk of health diseases.
Obesity is defined as a situation where people consume significantly more calories than they expend in physical activity. Often, the causes of obesity are related to the sedentary lifestyle, which many of us live. The advent of technology has significantly reduced the amount of physical activity, which we perform.
Who is obese?
A common perception is that obesity only affects adults. The truth is, obesity is a problem, which can affect, everyone from children to teenagers to Adults to the elderly.
Though adult obesity is the most common form of obesity, child obesity is fast increasing. According to the World Health Organization, in 2005, 20 million kids under the age of 5 were overweight. In the year 2000, the World Health Organization estimated that the worldwide was 3.3% of pre-school children worldwide were overweight.
In developed countries, the percentage of overweight pre-school was found to be higher than the international figure. In less developed countries such as Chile and Algeria, the figure was more than 5%.
In countries such as Egypt, Chile, Armenia and Algeria, for example, the rate was well over 5%.
A common misconception is that Obesity is a problem faced only by Developed Countries. Developing countries often face the problem of lack of food, or hunger, and hence, do not have problems with obesity. The truth is, obesity is increasingly becoming a cause of concern in Developing Countries, even more so than Hunger.
Obesity rates in developing countries are rising at alarming rates. In developing countries such as Brazil, the percentage of overweight individuals rose from 20.0% in 1976 to 36.7% in 1997. In China, the percentage of Overweight Individuals rose from 12.9 in 1991 to 27.3 in 2004. The advent of Obesity in Developing Countries can be largely attributed to the influences of the West.
The prevalence of obesity in Developed countries such as the United Kingdom and United States has long health concern. 64% of America’s population is overweight, and an estimated 25% of the entire population is obese.
Childhood obesity is also a major concern in the United States. From 2003 to 2004, it was estimated that 17.9% of children and adolescents, aged 2 to 19 were obese. In the United Kingdom, 22.9% of those aged four to five and 31.6% of aged 10-11 were found to be overweight or obese.
Citations & References:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/index(accessed March 11, 2008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7151813.stm(accessed March 11, 2008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/943783.stm(accessed March 11, 2008).
September 2007, 60-67.