Obesity is Becoming a Global Problem

by : Kenneth Nickless

Obesity has unfortunately become a global scourge affecting the lives and health of millions of people, according to the World Health Organization. It is an accelerating social problem in many countries of the world, especially those more affluent.

Obesity is very often defined as an eating disorder. However, it is not just a case of eating too much. Health experts write that obesity is a very serious disease prevalent in today's society.

As this "obesity epidemic" gains momentum, so does the number of individuals who suffer from it. Approximately 300,000 adult deaths in the USA alone yearly can be directly linked to unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity or obesity. In the USA alone, nearly a third of the adult population is obese. In Europe, the figures are much the same. However, an astonishing 58 per cent of the United Kingdom's adult population is considered to be obese or chronically over weight according to a recently published report.

The obesity problem is not just an issue about health. It is also unfortunately a socio-economic problem that costs hundreds of billions in the USA annually. In the UK this problem costs over two billion pounds in National Health services and indirect losses to the British economy. At least 18 million sick days a year are reported to be attribute to obesity, and the higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and stroke lessens the life expectancy of sufferers by around nine years.

When it comes to explaining these trends many medical reports refer to a combination of fast food, the increasing use of motor vehicles and a much less active lifestyle with the advent of televisions, computers and computer games.

Some recent studies have found that the increase in obesity among children is directly related to the many hours spent watching television or playing computer or video games, but other studies have failed to establish a correlation.

More fundamentally, these studies fail to address the many other driving forces behind the changes in our diets and lifestyles today,including high pressure advertising, the mega profit food and entertainment conglomerates, along with the increased pressures of excessive working hours and the declining standard of living for the majority of working people.

Lower life expectancy is another downside for those suffering from obesity. In addition to this, obese and chronically over-weight individuals are increasing their susceptibility and risks to a number of diseases directly related to obesity. These diseases can include, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, some cancers and osteoarthritis and sleep apnoea.

The growing obesity problem is one which requires immense study funding. Funding to find the real reasons, real causes, and finally the real answers to solving this world wide disease.