Obesity Is The Greatest Epidemic

2301 Words Nov 18th, 2014 10 Pages
Introduction

A condition of modern times, obesity is said to be the greatest epidemic currently facing humanity (WHO, 2003; Hill, 2007). Obesity is one of the most frequent causes of preventable death in developed nations (Bauer et al., 2014), with the United States being home to over 150 million overweight or obese individuals – 65% of the adult population (Flegel, 2002; US Census Bureau, 2010). Obesity is often caused by a mismatch between energy intake and usage, thus it is frequently seen in those who live a sedentary lifestyle (Hu, 2003), such as the patient in this scenario. Obesity is now a major public health concern and has recently been voted by the American Medical Association to be classified as a ‘disease’ (Dailey, 2013). Indeed, the cost of obesity to the United Kingdom’s economy was estimated to be £15.8 billion, with £4.2 billion in direct costs to the National Health Service (Public Health England, 2007). 1) Definition and classification of obesity

Definition Obesity is a medical condition in which excess fat is accumulated by the body, to the extent that it may have a negative impact on health (Haslam and James, 2005). The patient in the scenario clearly understands this aspect of obesity, as he mentions that he is ‘worried’ about gaining weight.

Use of body mass index to define obesity

A more objective definition of obesity involves the use of body mass index (BMI), which is given by the following equation:

where m is height (meters) and h…

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