With the prevalence of people living longer, it is more important now than ever to recognize the role of good health (combination of physical, mental, biological social, culture and economic wellbeing) plays in the sustenance of life. This makes the need for obesity prevention a priority to Public Health England in improving and protecting the nation’s health in present times and future (Public Health England, 2012)
The World Health Organization (no date) defines Obesity as the unhealthy accumulation of uncontrolled fats within the body that possess a health risk to an individual.
The number of people classified as obese has tripled within the last 30 years, a record set to be on a rapid increase by the year 2030 with an estimated 30 million people to be affected by obesity (NHS, 2011).
This assignment will seek to identify the main causes of obesity, providing examples of interventions and their degree of success in tackling obesity.
Obesity is commonly defined using an index calculated by dividing the weight of an individual in kilograms by their height in meters squared.
This index known as Body Mass Index (BMI), a tool supported by the NHS (2019) which regards BMI’s between the range of 25 to 39 years as overweight or obese. According to World Health Organization (no date) many determinants can single handedly or come together to affect the health of an individual such as ethnicity and age, race or genetics to which an individual has no control. However other factors such as food (meal patterns, portion size and eating habits), social factors and environmental such as family, psychological factors and environmental factors (smoking and alcohol can produce weight gain in an individual (Public Health England, no date).
Van der Valk et al (2019) were of the mind that societally, factors such as lack of exercise, lack of knowledge about food labelling, portion control and over consumption of unhealthy foods are contributing factors to obesity. However, it is important to recognize other factors such as genetic, stress, medication and medical conditions for example learning disability, Down Syndrome, Prada Willi syndrome and William syndrome also plays a role in obesity (British Nutrition Foundation, no date)
Genetic factors have been shown to increase the risk of obesity between 60%-90% from childhood through to adulthood as evidence in Twins findings confirming genetics to the development of obesity. Genetic factors have been shown to contribute to the risk of obesity in individuals starting from childhood to adulthood. This evidenced in the twin studies that demonstrated that waist circumference and BMI are inheritable characteristics greater than environmental factors (Hasselbalch, 2010; Haslam and Wittert, 2010); Kay, 2018). Rare genetic conditions such as Prada Willi syndrome and Williams syndrome, and Down syndrome results from a genetic mutation causing a person to be obese (Taggart and Cousino, 2014). National Health Service (2016) reported that stress can increase the risk of obesity in an individual. When the stress responsive hormone known as Adamts1 contributes to the development of fat cells.
Another important factor associated with obesity is the lack of exercise. In the modern world dependents on the use of cars instead of cycling and walking is more common. Browsing the internet or watching television has become a way of relaxation and prevent people from taking the recommended minimum of 150 minutes of moderate levels of exercise (NHS, 2019).
Poor diet and life style choices overtime can contribute to obesity in an individual. Unhealthy eating habits such as the over consumption of foods high in sugar and fat, high intake of alcohol and sugary drinks as well as lack of knowledge of portion size control and primarily contribute to obesity (Isaac, 2012). With the risk of Chronic diseases and other conditions relating to obesity and as well as the difficulty in the treatment of it. It is of high importance that prevention is taken seriously. Therefore, a healthy diet is the most effective and sustainable form of obesity prevention (Stanford Healthcare, no date).
There are many possibly life-threatening conditions such as breast cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even death associated with obesity (NHS 2019). The treatment and control of obesity can be a difficult task, therefore preventing weight gain is the only effective way of controlling it. This control requires independence and autonomy to be given to individuals with the appropriate support in making healthier life style changes (Government UK, 2018).
Since the introduction of the above levy tax raised from its introduction continues to rise and used to fund breakfast club in school, tackling childhood obesity as well as fund physical education activities. (Marriage, 2018). Other recommendations include 5 A Day, Start Active, Stay Active Campaigns, Front of Pack Nutrition Labelling, The Eatwell Guide and Food Matters.
Prenatal complications such as fetal death, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, shoulder dystocia and gestational diabetes can be associated with obesity in pregnancy. The risk of a child becoming obese themselves later on in their life and the development of life long conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and possibly death are risks of also associated with babies born to obese mothers (NHS, 2017).
This is evidenced in statistics showing almost a third of children between the ages of 2 and 5 being classified as overweight or obese for this reason (GOV. UK, 2017). This has led the government to put in place a framework called Childhood Obesity: a plan for action which includes taking out 20% of sugar in products. Helping children to enjoy an hour of physical activity every day, improving the co-ordination of quality sport and physical activity programs for schools and making school food healthier among other (GOV. UK, 2017).
The government predicts a significant reduction in childhood obesity within the next 10 years through the actions outline in childhoods obesity: a plan for action. According to NHS UK (2019) safely eating a healthy balanced diet and frequent activity of a minimum of 150 minutes moderate-intensity activity a week can significantly reduce the risk of obesity. A view shared by Rossen and Rossen (2012). A systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by Clark (2015) evidenced that the combination of diet and exercise is the most effective treatment for obesity.
Obesity is fast becoming an epidemic with an estimation of 30 million people being classified as obese by the year 2030, a figure that has tripled over the last 30 years. This is due to factors such as lack of knowledge about poor diet and the lack of physical activities. Recognising other causes such as stress, genetics, and some medical conditions such as Down syndrome is an important step in its management and prevention. NHS England (2019), Public Health England and the government have put measures in place in the tackling of obesity of the nation and its risk to life. Independence and autonomy must be given to individuals alongside the appropriate supports in making healthier life style choices as the prevention, control and treatment of obesity can be a difficult task.
- British Nutrition Foundation (no date) Obesity and overweight (online). Available from: [Accessed 04 July 2019].
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Cite this essay
The role of good health. (2019, Dec 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/essay-1200-a-example-essay