The Obesity Epidemic Essay

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Obesity rates are soaring throughout North America (What Is Obesity?, 2013). With obesity reaching almost epidemic proportions in the United States, and the threat of a global epidemic, we must watch this alarming increase carefully ( Health Risks of Obesity, 2013). Obesity is defined as: "…an excess of adipose tissue…" (A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014). The two most common measures of obesity are Body Mass Index (BMI is a ratio of weight to height) and relative weight index, such as percent desirable weight (Body Mass Index , 2013). BMI is the most frequently used measure of obesity as it has a strong correlation with more direct measures of adiposity, such as underwater weighing (A Report of the Surgeon General, 2013). Some …show more content…
With over 22.5% of the current U.S. population considered to be clinically obese, compared to only 14.5% in 1980, there does not seem to be a cessation of this epidemic in sight (Hill & Peters, 1998). Goran and Weisners' (2000) proposal that "... the inherently lower resting metabolic rate in women versus men is responsible for the higher adiposity rates in women..." is wanting, especially since the potentially modifiable factors of; less physical strength, less daily free-living physical activity, and lower total energy expenditure are more likely the cause of the differences in observed adiposity between men and women. Since our genetic makeup has not appreciably changed in the last twenty years, we cannot strictly attribute the explosion of obesity to genetics. As these biological causes of obesity are disproved, a focus on the environment as a reason for obesity is taking centre-stage.
With a multitude of environmental factors playing an ever-increasing role in the reasons for obesity, it is hard to focus on one reason as the 'root' cause of obesity. Ever-decreasing levels of physical activity, married with poor dietary habits are two likely causes of the obesity epidemic. Samaras et al. (1999) concluded that physical activity is the strongest environmental influence on total-body fat-mass in healthy middle-aged women. An inverse relationship was clearly apparent between physical activity and total-body and

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