Obesity in US

Obesity in the US is a significant problem, and appears to be increasing. It is estimated that over 60 million adults and 9 million children are considered to be obese in the US today.

Obesity can be caused a number of different conditions, but is most likely to be the result of taking in more calories than the body is able to” burn off” or use. People who are obese have a high proportion of body fat. Doctors calculate whether or not a person is obese by using the body mass index (BMI) which calculates the ratio of weight to height.

Obesity in the US is becoming more common due to changes in lifestyle and eating patterns. People have become accustomed to eating larger portion sizes and having pre-packaged food readily available for consumption. Unhealthy food choices combined with a sedentary lifestyle have contributed to serious weight gain for many individuals.

Some people find themselves overeating due to emotional reasons. The use of food as a means of comfort or to avoid difficult feelings, can lead to weight gain. Obesity can appear to run in families, although researchers are still trying to determine how much of this is due to genetics, and how much is influenced by one’s environment.

The health consequences of obesity in the US can be devastating. People who are obese are at high risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. In addition to this, obese individuals may suffer from low self-esteem, which can lead to depression.

Treatment for obesity usually involves diet and exercise, along with medication to treat any symptoms resulting from being overweight. In very severe cases of obesity (usually termed morbid obesity) patients may choose to undergo bariatric surgery in order to restrict their food intake and thus lose weight.

Photo: Tibor Vegh. Wikimedia Commons. No endorsement implied.

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