According to the National Institutes of Health, more than two-thirds of adults living in the United States are currently overweight and more than one-third of people are obese. Child obesity rates have also increased dramatically during recent years, with more than one-third of children and adolescents over the age of six classified as overweight or obese.
Obesity has significant consequences, both for individuals and society as a whole. With so many people in the U.S. suffering from this condition, it is considered by many to have reached epidemic proportions.
Despite the significant issues that obesity creates, the situation is not without hope. With greater awareness and recognition of the factors contributing to obesity, many people are turning to medical weight loss which has proven itself to be a method by which people can overcome this condition and improve their lives.
Factors Contributing to Obesity
Obesity does not have one specific cause. Many different factors contribute to the development of obesity. Some are obvious and others are less so. Below are some of the factors that may contribute to a person’s obesity.
- Genetics – If an individual’s parents are obese, the individual is more likely to be obese as well.
- Ethnicity/Race – Mexican Americans and African Americans tend to have higher rates of obesity than other races.
- Education – Higher levels of education are associated with lower levels of obesity.
- Socioeconomic Status – Low socioeconomic statuses are associated with higher rates of obesity.
- Lifestyle – People in the United States live busy, hectic lives and may be unable to stop for healthy food. While they are constantly on the go, finding time to exercise regularly is often a low priority task.
- Agriculture/Food Preparation – Many of the foods people consume contains large amounts of unhealthy ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup.
- Schools – Schools often serve children unhealthy, processed foods while at the same time put less priority on physical activity as a method for occupying leisure time.
- Technology – In a world where we are online all of the time, long periods of leisure time are spent communicating, playing and learning in a minimally active way.
Implications of Obesity
Obesity contributes to the development of other health problems, such as cancer, heart disease, liver disease, stroke, pancreatitis, blood clots and much more. Obesity may also reduce your life expectancy.
According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity costs in 2008 were estimated at $147 billion. This accounts for almost 10 percent of all medical spending. Costs have risen dramatically since 1998 and continue to increase each year.
Treatments for Obesity
For many, obesity is a lifelong battle. However, there are treatments available for people who want to improve their health and reduce their weight. Medical weight loss has proven itself to be among the few long-term solutions available and combines medical monitoring, education behavior modification and obesity medications with healthy diet and regular exercise.