Written by: Nischay Hegde
Edited by: Laiba Lakhani
In the years between 2007-2016, there was an unprecedented rise of obesity rates among adults, from 33.7% to 39.6% and it is expected to get worse. In children, the rate of obesity was 36%, which is much more dangerous considering that it is easier to gain weight as an adult. In the United States, the greatest rates were seen among children aged 10-14. As of 2015, 41.1% of children in this age group were obese. A report notes that "the obesity epidemic has been particularly pronounced among children and adolescents, and has also been driven by an increase in the prevalence among children of low socioeconomic status. This is not surprising, as low socioeconomic status is a key risk factor for obesity. As the report notes: "The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents of low socioeconomic status (SES) has roughly doubled since the early 1990s, rising from 12.2% to 23.3% between 1997 and 2012. This increase has been driven by the increase in obesity among children of low SES." This is a good time to point out that the United States has fallen in the world rankings on obesity. As the chart below shows, the United States has fallen from 11th to 13th place in the WHO's rankings of overweight and obese people. However, this is not to divert from the fact that obesity in the U.S is increasing at an ever-growing rate. Considering all of this, obesity is a huge problem in the United States that requires immediate attention.
To start, obesity causes dangerous health problems. It's linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, etc. The World Health Organization estimates that obesity increases the risk factor of diabetes by over 200% compared to healthy individuals. Obesity is a problem that is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the rate of obesity among adults has doubled since 1980. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that in 2010, almost one in four American adults were obese, with more than 40 percent of adults obese by 30 years old. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the health care costs associated with the obesity epidemic are at least $1.47 trillion a year. Once a person becomes obese, it is nearly impossible for them to return to their original state again which is why in this case, prevention is the best option.
Secondly, obesity tends to lower self-esteem and confidence in individuals. It can be examined as a negative feedback loop. If you are fat, your mind perceives you as less attractive. This premise can be taken from the societal norm that a muscular individual is more attractive. If you don't feel good about yourself, then you will try to cheer yourself up with food and the cycle continues. People with low self-esteem tend to be very insecure and are concerned with others judging them. Due to this, some people may start dieting, but usually, it doesn’t work. Dieting may even be dangerous if taken too far. Some people are naturally skinny and can't gain weight easily. Others are naturally overweight and can't lose weight easily. Both have their pro’s and con’s, but with enough work, either type of person can achieve a ripped body provided that they do not succumb to the vicious mentality cycle mentioned previously.
There is a large number of people obese people in the United States which is a large problem. The past few decades are where this explosive rise in obesity took place and it is predicted that by 2030, more than 50% of people will be obese. Obesity is detrimental to physical and mental health which is why there have to be greater efforts to reduce the rate of obesity. Education about healthy eating habits and exercise seems to be a good way of trying to prevent obesity in children. After all, once someone becomes obese, it is nearly impossible to return to “normal.”
 Obesity is formally defined as having a BMI of 30.0 or above. This may be misleading in some cases because BMI does not account for whether the weight is muscle or fat. A more accurate measure is a body-fat percentage which is, unfortunately, harder to calculate.
"Obesity: Health Consequences Of Being Overweight" https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/obesity-health-consequences-of-being-overweight. Accessed 31 December 2020.
Fletcher, Jenna. "Morbid Obesity: Symptoms, Treatment, And Outlook" https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320460. Accessed 31 December 2020. This source enlightened me about when obesity lowers self-esteem and confidence in individuals.
"The Places Where Too Many Are Fat And Too Many Are Thin - Bbc News" https://www.bbc.com/news/health-45878325. Accessed 31 December 2020.