Obesity refers to a medical condition where excess body fat has accumulated such that the individual may experience adverse health complications. In most instance obesity occurs as a result of consumption of excess dietary calories and fats combined with the lack of physical exercise. In rare cases though obese can occur due to genetic and endocrine disorders, consumption of particular medications and psychiatric illnesses can also be culprits responsible for obese conditions in individual.
Obesity reduces the life expectancy of the individual and increases the chances of the individual to have health complications. Examples of diseases that an individual is prone to include: heart disease, type two diabetes, specific types of cancer, and sleeping disorders.To determine if an individual is overweight or not one should use the body mass index, it is a measurement that compares the weight to the height of the individual. If the body mass index is between 25kg/m and 30kg/m such an individual is seen as overweight. However any individual with a body mass index above 30kg/m is considered obese.
Across nations, physical exercise and correct feeding have been used as the main course of treatment for obese individuals. Being more keen to the dietary intake of obese individuals is seen as the best way forward in fighting obesity. Dietary improvement will involve the reduction of the consumption of lots of energy foods that have high sugar and fats contents and replacing such foods with those that have high fiber content. Incase this method does not work the next logical step is to take prescribed anti-obesity drugs, this are pharmacological agents that aim at reducing or controlling the weight of an obese individual. A good example of an anti-obese drug currently in use is the Orlistat.
These kinds of drugs alter the one of the principal body processes which in turn affects the appetite of the individual such that he consumes less that what he previously used to consumer. These drugs can also alter the metabolism rate and the rate of the absorption of calories in the body. The last option if all the two options fail to reduce the weight of the individual is surgery. Surgery is considered the last option if every other attempt at weight reduction has failed and the life of the obese individual is at stake. This surgery involves the placement of an intra-gastric balloon so as to reduce the stomach volume and the bowel length.
This makes the individual to get early satiation and reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food (Crawford, & Jeffrey, 2005).In the past obesity was not seen as an issue of concern but over the years it has become the leading cause of deaths worldwide and this has shaken governments to the reality that they have to intervene so as to curb the ever rising incidences of obesity that has even become more prevalent in children due to bad eating habits. In America for example obesity has become a substantial problem and the government has been pushed to intervene and help curb the problem.
Reports from the centers for disease Control have indicated that the case of obesity have risen more than 50% over the last ten years (Gard, &Wright, 2005).The government has been asked to intervene and help curb this new epidemic by implementing new policies that are related to healthy eating habits and regular exercise: the two min areas where its citizens have relaxed on resulting to increased cases of obese. It has been noted that the dietary energy supply has markedly increased over the years meaning that citizens were consuming more calories as the years went by.
The society’s reliance on high energy, large quantities fast food meals led to increase instances of obese. There has been a remarkable shift to a more sedentary lifestyle; this means that people exercised less often as they settled for less physically demanding jobs. Such jobs involve the use of machine and mechanized transportation such as lifts and cars. Children have also become susceptible due to less walking, playing and physical exercise. Nowadays children spend hours on their video games or watching television than spending time outdoors playing (Crawford, & Jeffrey, 2005).
The government in several instances has been blamed for increasing obesity rates. For example the government’s introduction of USDA’s food pyramid focused on reducing fat consumption among its citizens but it did not deal with the consumption of refined carbohydrates which has been found to be the leading cause of increased cases of obesity in the country (Acs, & Stanton, 2007).The government has also been blamed for causing obesity amongst school going children through the introduction of heavy subsidies for meat and sugar products. These subsidies have led to schools especially in poor communities to provide lunches and nutritional programs that have high sugar drinks and fattening foods.
It has been recommended that the government should give more information on the effects of obesity to its citizens. Informing the public will make individuals more conscious of what they are consuming once they hear of the effects such as heart attack and reduced life expectancy. While informing the public on the effects on bad feeding habits information should also be given about the healthier food choices to indulge in. Such methods of combating obese are considered passive and the choice is left in the hands of the individual to decide whether to feed right or to still indulge in unhealthy eating habits.
The government should also review their stand on budget cuts on recess and physical education. It is considered that as a result of these cuts the children also became prone to obesity. In most case, the only exercise that these children engaged on in their life was during recess and physical education and with the introduction of budget cuts; it means that the children will now have a more sedentary lifestyle therefore exposed to the risk of being obese (Nair, 2011).Legislators also hold the opinion that the government should impose heavier taxes on non-nutritious food that have high levels of calories and are the main culprits in the cause of obesity.
Most of these non-nutritious foods are junk and do not have any nutritious value to the body. Increase of taxes will mean that such foods will be more costly and therefore will not be readily available to especially the children who are currently being obese at very tender ages. The government has been pushed to ensure that school food is more nutritious and that the vending machines that are dealing with junk should be banned from the school environment. The government should also decrease advertisements on unhealthy foods that target the children. Children being curious beings will always fall for such advertisements and will want to try anything new in the market.
At the end of the day the child would have consumed so many calories that are unnecessary in the body and over time will become susceptible to obesity and the illnesses that come as the result of being obese (Blackburn, & Kanders, 1994).The government can also introduce tax breaks to promote employer subsidies for health club membership. This will reduce the price of physical exercise for example gym membership charges which will in turn encourage more employees to engage in physical exercise which in turn leads to the burning of excess calories that would otherwise have resulted to obesity (Nair, 2011).
As much as many people fear that the intervention by the government will interfere with the economy of the country, it is a justifiable move considering the medical expense that the country incurs in the treatment of diseases that have risen as a result of obesity. Government’s intervention is justified if the cost of someone’s actions is borne by others; in this case the excessive selling of non-nutritious foods affects negatively the consumer. The wide gap difference in obesity across income and racial groups is another reason why the government should intervene on social equity grounds. Whichever way we look at it government intervention is a must so as to save a nation that is rapidly becoming obese.
Acs, Z. &Stanton, K. (2007). Obesity, business and public policy. Edward Elgar Publishing
Blackburn, G. & Kanders, B. (1994). Obesity: Pathophysiology, psychology, and treatment. Jones & Bartlett Learning
Crawford, D. & Jeffrey, R. (2005). Obesity prevention and public health. Oxford University Press
Gard, M. &Wright, J. (2005). The obesity epidemic: science, morality, and ideology. Routledge
Nair, S. (2011) Obesity is rising in the U.S. Population retrieved from http://media.www.jhunewsletter.com on 26th March 2011.