Approximately, over 2 billion (or 30%) of the world’s population are obese (Strasser & Fuchs, 2016, para. 2). Obesity is a public health dilemma as well as a worldwide epidemic due to the direct and debilitating consequences it exerts on quality of life. Genuine action is promptly required to end this global trend. What is obesity? Obesity occurs when the BMI (Body mass index) for adults is 30.0 or greater (CDC, 2016a, para. 2). Conversely, in teens and children, obesity occurs when their BMI is “…at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex” (CDC b, 2016, para.
1). Eating unhealthy diets and lack of exercise (e.g., fast foods) are the primary cause of obesity, which ultimately initiates other avoidable lasting health problems (like cessation of respiration (sleep apnea), Type 2 diabetes, lung disease (e.g., asthma), hypertension, heart disease, etc.) later in life (Strasser & Fuchs, 2016, para. 2). Nutrition and exercise perform a significant role in lowering, treating, and averting obesity (Johns, Hartmann-Boyce, Jebb, & Aveyard, 2014, p.
1), therefore, excessive body fat (obesity) is a major public health concern that needs urgent attention to avoid its long term incapacitating effects. The incidence of obesity has grown tremendously during the last thirty years. Dunham (2014, p. 7), wrote that the global population of overweight and obese people increased to 2.1 billion in 2013 from 857 million in 1980. Out of the 2.1 billion overweight or obese people, NBC News (2017, para. 3) reported that 600 million adults and 150 million children are obese (i.e., have BMI numbers above 30), the remaining population are overweight.
Additionally, a study carried out for 33 years by Dunham (2014, p. 7), which revealed that rates of overweight or obesity rose 47% in children and 28% in adults, further support the increasing obesity trend in both populations. There is a growing trend in the incidence of obesity. The foregoing data indicate that in the adult and pediatric populations, the constant, and general elevation in the number of obese people have more than doubled in the last thirteen years.
Moreover, this devastating problem will even get worse in the future if nothing is done to curtail it. The population of obese people have been estimated to increase further by 2030. Emphasizing future increase in obesity, Johns et al. estimates indicate that up to 57.8% (i.e., about 3.3 billion people) of the world’s adult could be either overweight or obese by 2030 (2014, p. 1). This is more than half of the global population. Nonetheless, worthy of note is the fact that developed countries with technological advancement, good medical care, and nutrition are not devoid of this public health issue. For instance, more than half of the adult population in the United States of America (U.S.A.) is obese. Data from Strasser and Fuchs (para. 2) reveal that in the United States almost 55% of the adults are overweight (or obese), while data from CDC indicate that one in every five school-aged children (ages 6–19) is obese (2016b, para. 1). So, something needs to done to curb this obesity menace, before it devastates the entire populace.
Some of the causative factors of obesity are nutrition that are high in sugars, absence of exercise (sedentary lifestyle) (Wiklund, 2016, p.6), and eating “high energy-dense food” (Blair, slide 23; Johns et al., p.1). Thus, healthy eating and an active lifestyle should be encouraged to lose weight. Stressing the impact of diet on obesity, studies on children aged 9 -14 years (from 1996 – 1998) discovered that over the years, participants’ BMI increased by small amounts due to consumption of sugary beverages. Equally, increasing overall caloric intake (by eating snack foods like chips, baked goods, and candy) also contribute to obesity (Sahoo et al. 2015, p. 5). Invariably, eating habits such as consumption of fresh and healthy natural foods, elimination of junk food, and cutting portions by half should be encouraged. Since absence of exercise, high calorie, and sugary diets cause obesity; then, lifestyle modifications in exercise and nutrition can equally be used to achieve weight loss. Consequently, exercise and nutrition play significant roles in managing weight.
Obesity has debilitating consequences on the health and daily quality of life. This is a disturbing trend because of the health hazards associated with it. Some of the direct and long-term medical risks associated with obesity are mortality, Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension, (Johns et al., p.1) cancer, impairment in physical function, (Paez & Kravitz, 2000, para. 1; Strasser & Fuchs, 2016, para. 1), cholelithiasis (gallstones), fatty liver disease (hepatic steatosis), high cholesterol, and so on (Sahoo et al., p.5). Additionally, this potentially serious healthcare problem (obesity) is associated with early death. Confirming the link between obesity and death, Preston, Vierboom, and Stokes (2018, p. 5); estimated that over the period 1988–2011 rising Max BMI reduced life expectancy at age 40 by 0.9 y in 2011 and was responsible for nearly 186,000 excess deaths that period (year) in a recent study. However, the negative consequences linked with obesity (and overweight) can be reduced or avoided completely through weight loss.
Weight loss interventions like exercise and diet play significant role in reducing, treating, and preventing obesity (Johns et al., p.1). Obesity results when the intake and expenditure of energy is not balanced. This causes the body to accumulate surplus fat, which increase the risk of developing chronic diseases or death (Strasser & Fuchs, 2016, para 2). Hence, exercising often and eating a healthy diet can help in weight reduction. Collaborating the link between diet and weight loss, a research study by Paez and Kravitz (2000, para. 3) on 24 obese women and men revealed that participants in the diet only group lost 5.5 kg (for women) and 8.4 kg (for men) by lowering their caloric intake by 945 kilocalories (for women) and 1705 kilocalories (for men) daily. Moreover, recent research and a meta-analytic evidence confirms that weight loss can be achieved by adhering to any diet that effectively reduces intake of calorie (Johns et al., p. 10). Nevertheless, on the effect of diet and exercise, Chao-Chun et al. (2018, p. 1) found in their study that both dietary and exercise intervention groups had significantly greater weight loss than control groups. Invariably, diet and exercise play vital roles in weight reduction according to research studies. So, it is imperative to use these interventions (diet and exercise) to lose weight to avoid adverse consequences of obesity. Obesity is a universal pandemic, and a public health issue. Obesity has grown progressively in the last three decades. The high incidence of obesity is attributed to consumption of high energy-dense food, diet/nutrition high in fats, and lack of exercise. Obesity have direct and devastating consequences on the quality of life. It is correlated with many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and death. Medical risks associated with obesity can be reduced through weight loss. Interventions (like diet and exercise) play a vital role in weight reduction according to research. Ultimately, we can achieve a healthier society by avoiding obesity (as well as the morbidity and mortality associated with it) by exercising often, and eating balanced and nutritious diet. Finally, it is imperative to tackle obesity so as to maintain a healthy weight as well as to avoid the enduring negative devastating effects correlated to obesity.