Obesity is defined as a medical condition in which the amount of excess body fat that a person carries reaches a critical point and starts to negatively affect their health. In the last few decades, the global obesity rates are soaring, which causes many chronic conditions and contributes to the burden of disease. At that, the spread is not homogenous, and some countries are hit by obesity worse than others. This essay argues that in the United States, obesity reached epidemic proportions due to a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors.
Recent statistics suggest that the prevalence of obesity in the United States is 42.4%, which is almost half of the population. In the last two decades, the prevalence of this health condition surged from 30.5 to 42.4% (Inoue et al. 284). What is more, the percentage of adults suffering from morbid forms of obesity increased twofold from 4.7 to 9.2% (Inoue et al. 284). Obesity is associated with a host of chronic diseases and translates into nationwide medical expenses as large as $147 billion per year.
The question arises as to what modifiable factors affect obesity rates in the United States. Smith and Smith argue that physical activity is the cornerstone of weight management, and yet, the percentage of physically active Americans shrinks every year (128). Every two hours of passive screen time translates into a 23% increase in obesity (Smith and Smith, 128). What aggravates the situation is the abundance and accessibility of calorie-rich foods and neglects fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and yogurt that negatively correlate with overweight (Smith and Smith 128). Americans with poor dietary habits are likely to pass these eating patterns down to future generations, therefore, creating a vicious circle (Smith and Smith 128). Children and adolescents are extremely perceptive of their surroundings and quickly copy adults’ eating behaviors.
Inoue, Yosuke et al. “Epidemiology of Obesity in Adults: Latest Trends.” Current Obesity Reports, vol. 7, no. 4, 2018, pp. 276-288. Web.
Smith, Kristy Breuhl, and Michael Seth Smith. “Obesity Statistics.” Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice, vol. 43, no. 1, 2016, pp. 121-135.