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    Health Indicators & Disparities: Overweight and Obesity

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    Abstract

    Obesity and overweight increase chances of dying from colon cancers, prostate, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, dyslipidemia and endometrial, coronary heart disease, types two diabetes, respiratory problems as well as osteoarthritis and hypertension. The major causes of obese and overweight depend majorly on the lifestyle that in turn depends on the cultural beliefs, health behaviors among other contributing factors. Since obesity is predominate among the young age and the infants, the central questions in this study will be limited to: Is it possible to reduce the risks of obesity by developing a good healthy lifestyle in the young age? Or can diet checkup curb obesity? This study portrays that there are many obstacles to the healthy lifestyle among children and adolescents. Among these barriers are diet and sedentary lifestyle that are most influential and are determined by the environment. It was realized that these health disparities contributes about ninety percent of the obesity in America. Health behavior like diet, physical activities as well as lifestyle is the cultures to be analyzed in details. Research indicates that children aged between 2-5 years who are overweight end up being obese in their adult age due to the sedentary lifestyle. From Gardy Chacha’s (2012) data, I strongly propose that perfect lifestyle that curbs obesity among the teens and infants be adopted and initiated as far as the age of 2 years. These factors form the central thesis of this report – exploring the obstacles to good health and remedies to overweight in children, adolescents and the whole society at large.

    Introduction

    Obesity is a medical condition caused by too much deposition of body fat to the extent that it activates deteriorating results that will decrease life expectancy or increase health problems. Measuring your body mass index (BMI) can indicate if one is obese or not. Those individuals with higher BMI let say above 27%, are said to be obese or overweight. The primary cause of obesity and overweight is diet and exercise. Consumption of energy-dense foods more especially those that are fatty and sugary contribute highly to obesity. Leading a sedentary lifestyle has no immunity to obesity as well. One of the most lives threatening public issue in the 21st century is obesity, more especially in the modern western world where it is much stigmatized. Large-scale research in America and Europe indicates that mortality rate and increases risks of mental and physical condition is higher in BMI of 27 and above.

    Diet and exercise take the largest share in the determination of obesity among the population of Hispanics, Whites, Asians and black minority group. Lack of information about diet and how to keep fit has dramatically affected the black minority. Also, Lack of facilities for physical exercise in the state’s locality contributes significantly to overweight among the teens because of the accumulation of fats in the body that increases obesity by raising body-mass index (BMI). Diet and individual attribute go hand in hand. In personal characteristics, the health behavior of an individual can be defined by the habits like substance abuse, diet, nutrition, training, and smoking which contribute to about 70 percent of the individual’s health behavior (Glasgow, 2008). Parents have a strong influence on their children concerning what kind of response they will adapt during young age and adolescence. This is because nutrition takes the lion’s share in causing obesity. Hence individual attribute can prevent obesity and overweight from America and other cities in the USA.

    Health Implication of Obesity and Overweight

    Any overweight Child aged between 2 and five years, according to Basch et al. (2016) paper have higher chances of being obese in the older age. Looking into the future population, let’s say by 2050, it is postulated that 52% of the teens of America will be obese as per the current obesity trend. It is not that the contemporary teens are gluttonous as compared to the previous generations (Gilbert, 2005). According to the life insurance table, an individual with a weight higher than 20% above optimal or a body mass index of higher than 27, they have a greater risk of getting diseases like hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, CVD and insulin resistance diabetes mellitus (Albert, 2006). These conditions increase the mortality cases among the population. Some other disorders involved included a degenerative joint disease in more severe obesity, sleep apnea, gout, chronic hypoxia, and hypercapnia. All these diseases are directly linked to body fat distribution in either gluteal-femoral or abdominal obesity in which abdominal obesity is more dangerous than gluteal.

    Population Impacted

    Healthy lifestyle in adolescents and children in contemporary society has been a paramount issue. Obesity in the United States, among children and adolescents, is determined by critical variables such as, individual attributes, group attributes, educational system, and environmental factors that contribute to the sedentary lifestyle. Obesity and other dietary disorders in children are contributed much by the sedentary behavioral lifestyle directed by their caretakers and parents. First, the health behavior of an individual cannot be so different from that of the family at large. Taking an example of a family that shares the same physical environment, they cannot be mostly separate from one another (Glasgow, 2008). Since they share the same intoxicated environment and genetic influence, the will probably have the same health behavior. These factors hinder a person from changing the family health behavior to their own hence continuous obesity along with the family lineage (Basch, 2016). Therefore obesity is common in children and adolescent as compared to the adults.

    Obesity in the United States

    Binocularly eying the US, approximately 32% of the children and adolescents are either obese or overweight while 17% of all the children or adolescents have obesity (Mathieu, 2000). These statistics are about three times higher than the statistics for one year ago. A sample region with a population of 185,911, as per the surveillance of 2011 life expectancy of the teens residing within the US is approximately 81.9 for the female while for male 77. 4. When the measure for obesity was taken in the locality, it was found that 13.65 to 25.6% of children of the age 4-5 years are obese. This is an indication that residents within the US and its environment are much affected by obesity in childhood. Adolescents and adults also were found to be 16.2% and 28.5% obese respectively (Schwarzer, 2008). In the recent past, citizens have been encouraged to attend and participate in the Great Weight Debate survey to resolve the problem of childhood overweight within the capital. Strategies implemented to curb obesity include the introduction of sugar tax, implementation of sports policy in schools, dietary check policy in schools and mass education.

    Furthermore, obesity is caused by factors such as the intake of unhealthy foods, stress, emotions, genetics and lack of enough sleep (Shriver, 2018). A greater population of teens and infants of the United States are obese putting their health and lives at risk. It is triggered by race, class, and gender. Obese children are likely to face social discrimination and bullying from the peers due to their physical appearance. The kid is crying while other others laugh at him.

    Consequently, they end up developing mental and emotional torture which might end up causing health problems. As noted in the image above, children are mocking the obese kid with food, and he’s frustrated. As per the data obtained from the National Health and Nutritional (NHN) survey indicate that 18.5% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese. In 2016, 16.1% of those aging between 10-17 years were obese while 15% were overweight (‘The State of Childhood Obesity – The State of Obesity,’ 2018). Children with obesity problems are likely to face social issues while growing up. Statistics show that 19.1% of boys and 17.8% of girls had obesity in 2015-2016 indicating that boys are more likely to develop obesity.28.0% of Latino boys are more likely to have obesity while 25.1% of black girls stand a higher chance to have obesity. Bakalar (2018), the rate of obesity for Non-Hispanic black women is 55.9 percent compared with 38.1 percent for white women and 13, 6 percent of Asians.

    Obesity is related to social, economic status. In the United States, people with higher economic status are less likely to be obese compared to those in the lower class. Response to healthy eating habits depends on one’s income (Houle, 2013). For instance, people with low-income substitute malnutrition with over-consumption. Men that have already attained high school education are no more likely to obese compared to college graduates. However, the rate of obesity for women increases as the educational level reduces (Bakalar, 2018). Social forces in the United States promote health and illness. Therefore, some social groups suffer from obesity more than others. Also, the condition affects relationships and identity of the obese people in the society. People with high social status have the advantage of accessing better health facilities, buying healthy food and paying for fitness services which could be unaffordable to others. Subsequently, people obese children end being discriminated and cut off from social events such as play games in schools.

    Conclusion

    The government and the society at large must find the solution to problems caused by obesity. For example, prioritizing the quality of food in schools, training people on the importance of healthy eating and finally banning adverts for junk food to children will work better. These strategies can be implemented well if the government sets up a commission to coordinate obesity-related policies. Such changes will directly or indirectly reduce the obesity epidemic, inequality and increase the overall life expectancy. Availability of healthcare facilities and the ability to pay for the services, residential segregation, and social support are other strategies to curb obesity. Residents must be able to afford health services available to them otherwise their children end up becoming obese until maturity. The parents and the community should embrace obese children instead of mocking them as shown in the image above to avoid advance consequences.

    The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in the United States has increased significantly hence raising concerns. Research proves that the rate at which it affects people is not equally spread in all the states. Consequently, children in the most affected areas face significant challenges than others. To prevent such difficulties as financial constraints and negative consequences, it’s important to understand how different aspects contribute to obesity.

    References

    1. Algert, S. J. (2006). The barriers to participation in the food stamp program among food pantry clients in Los Angeles. American Journal of Public Health, 96(5), 807-809.
    2. Basch, C. K. (2016). Sedentary images in a favorite US-based parenting magazine. Health Promotion Perspectives, 6(2), 55-57.
    3. Crespo, C. J.-P. (2000). Race/ethnicity, social class and their relation to physical inactivity during leisure time, Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988-1994. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 18(1), 46-53.
    4. Fitzgerald, N. &. (2009). Barriers to a healthy lifestyle: From individuals to public policy—an ecological perspective. Journal of Extension, 47(1), 1-9.
    5. Gilbert, J. (2005). Inter-professional learning and higher education structural barriers. 19:87-106.
    6. Glasgow, R. (2008). Perceived barriers to self-management and preventive behaviors. Health Behavior Constructs: Theory, Measurement & Research. Rockville, MD: Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute.
    7. Mathieu et al. (2000). The influence of shared mental models on team process and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85:273-283. 10.1037/0021-9010.85.2.273.
    8. Roberts, R. E. (2003). Prospective association between obesity and depression: evidence from the Alameda County Study. “International journal of obesity,’ 27, 4. 514-521.
    9. Schwarzer, R. (. (2008). Modeling Health Behavior Change. How to Predict and Modify the Adoption and Maintenance of Health Behaviors’. Applied Psychology, 57 (1): 1–29.

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