Obesity Is A Major Public Health Issue

917 Words Sep 1st, 2015 4 Pages
Obesity in the United States is a major public health issue. According to prevalence data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) 2011-2012, 34% of US adults are overweight (BMI 25-29.9), 35.1% obese (BMI 30-39.9) and 6.4% morbidly obese (BMI ≥40). NHANES does not include incarcerated individuals in the surveys. The 2011-2012 United States Bureau of Justice, National Inmate Survey, indicated the prevalence of overweight, obesity and morbid obesity for state and federal inmates was 45.7%, 25.5% and 2.4% respectively. Although males in prisons and jails were more likely than females to be overweight, females were more likely to be obese or morbidly obese. The health risks for individuals who are overweight or obese are clear. If obesity is not managed, chronic health conditions will develop and this will impact public health resources and communities when offenders are released. They are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health problems.
Both state and federal inmates are known to have the following characteristics: low socioeconomic status, limited access to healthcare prior to incarceration, low health literacy, substance abuse, mental health disorders and increased probability of having chronic and infectious diseases. These characteristics make inmates a vulnerable population even prior to incarceration. Recent studies of weight change during incarceration have…
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