When people talk about major diseases that can be a threat for optimal health and life, obesity is often not considered as one of these conditions. Heart and brain diseases, cancer, diabetes, HIV, blood pressure, kidney and lung diseases are typically thought of serious health issues. Obesity has not been given proper attention and consideration in health related issues.
With more and more people falling into the overweight category, health care professionals in both the government and private sectors, are now addressing the issue seriously. However, the greatest challenge for them is to bring awareness on a mass level and taking proper measures to prevent the problem.
What causes obesity is a vast topic as there are countless possible reasons for it. Generally speaking, life style, little or no exercise or activity, genetics, and a lack of motivation to control weight, play a significant role in development of the condition.
The research shows that being obese at a young age is more problematic and damaging to health and overall life expectancy. According to some statistics, 20 to 39 years old people with obesity tend to lose almost 8.4 years of their life as compared to those with healthy weight. Statistics also show that men are more at risk of cutting down years of their life due to obesity as compared to women.
Overweight people are more at risk of other ailments like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes which reduce years of life and leads to poor life quality as well. Complications associated with obesity are also related with age. If it is developed at early stage of life, the person tends to have more health related problems as he or she spends more years in obesity.
Although obesity is prevalent across all age groups, children are more at risk due to being overweight and it is a major health threat in preschool and elementary-age children. If the categorization is further divided between different ethnic and racial groups, it has been researched that Hispanic children suffer more from being overweight. That comprised of almost 32 percent of total children in America.
Since Hispanic population is the fastest growing population in the United States, the situation is quiet alarming and there is a need to take measures to control the problem. One way to potentially control this is to increase the tax on sugary and fatty food items like soda, chips and candies. Development of many physical exercise programs in school and educating parents are also among few steps that can yield productive results.
As life has become extremely busy and demands of meeting every day’s challenges are overwhelming, inappropriate eating pattern and sleep-wake cycle tends to contribute in weight gain. Eating healthy and in a timely fashion is a key to maintaining optimal weight.
Although obesity is a major health threat for the young and old both, the most important aspect is that it can be controlled by modifying habits and changing life style patterns. It requires regular trips to the doctor combined with the motivation and effort on part of the individual to take control of life and lead healthier and fuller years.
By Atika Jilani
Photo by Gregg O’ Connell – Flickr License