Adult Obesity: Disease Analysis

Introduction

Obesity is one of the major health issues in the developed world, as well as developing countries. This epidemic disorder is mainly diagnosed with the help of BMI (body mass index), but other measurements such as the assessment of the fat distribution and screening tests are also utilized (Evans & Must, 2014). The disease has been studied for decades, so a lot of information is available on the matter. This paper includes information concerning obesity prevalence, treatment, prevention, associated stress and its management, and disparity related to this health problem.

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Aspects of the Disease, Statistics and Clinical Research

Obesity is regarded as a considerable health issue as it is characterized by high comorbidity. Some of the most common illnesses obese people develop include diabetes (type 2), high blood pressure, heart disorders, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, arthritis, and infertility (Evans & Must, 2014). The most common treatment of obesity is the changes in lifestyle and dietary habits. If these strategies do not help, medication can be added to the measures mentioned above.

Surgery is also an option, but it is linked to considerable health risks and complications. The prevalence of obesity in the USA is substantial as almost 40% of the adult population is affected (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2018). It has been estimated that the medical cost of this disease is as high as $147 billion (CDC, 2018). It has been found that Hispanics and African Americans are more prone to the development of this illness as compared to the white population. According to CDC (2018), 47% of Hispanic Americans and 46,8% of African Americans are obese while the rate of non-Hispanic whites affected by the disorder is 37,9%.

Extensive research shows that the major factors contributing to the development of obesity are genetics, environment, educational background, socioeconomic status, and psychological aspects (Evans & Must, 2014). Interestingly, when analyzing the disparity in obesity incidence among the rural and urban adult population, Wen, Fan, Kowaleski-Jones, and Wan (2017) found no significant correlation between family income and obesity prevalence. Wen et al. (2017) stress that the environment and educational background were the primary predictors of obesity in the target populations.

However, it has been acknowledged that socioeconomic issues contribute to the disparity associated with the disorder. Underprivileged groups tend to live in low-income communities characterized by the lack of space appropriate for physical activity (Evans & Must, 2014). These populations have limited opportunities to have healthier lifestyles and diets, as well as low access to high-quality healthcare. These people tend to have gaps in knowledge concerning the disorder, health risks, and prevention measures. Financial issues they have to struggle with making them think of their dietary habits as something less relevant as they are overwhelmed with responsibilities balancing a job or several jobs and their family duties.

Prevention Strategies

The most effective prevention strategies are a combination of physical activity and a healthy diet. It is important to consume nutritious food and avoid or limit the intake of harmful products such as processed food, sugary drinks, and fast food (Evans & Must, 2014). As far as alternative and complementary health therapies are concerned, their effectiveness is still debated.

Esteghamati, Mazaheri, Vahidi Rad, and Noshad (2015) claim that such methods as acupuncture, massage, non-invasive contouring, and herbal supplements, as well as tai chi and yoga, can help in preventing and treating obesity. Nevertheless, Esteghamati et al. (2015) emphasize that additional evidence is necessary as many studies concerning these strategies are characterized by such limitations as small sample size, the short duration of therapies, and non-random sampling.

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It is noteworthy that stress is closely linked to obesity as it can be one of the causes as well as one of the effects of this disorder. People who are stressed out are at high risk of having unhealthy diets, inappropriate sleep patterns, and increased alcohol consumption (Evans & Must, 2014). All these factors contribute to the development of obesity. At the same time, obese people tend to experience stress due to their health condition. Junne et al. (2017) state that the most common determinants of stress include “drive for thinness,” body dissatisfaction, ineffectiveness, social insecurity, and impulse regulation (p. 127). Exercise and meditation have been found as effective methods to cope with stress related to obesity (Evans & Must, 2014).

Evans and Must (2014) note that yoga is often practiced to prevent or treat obesity-related stress. Apart from that, various supportive groups or relatives providing emotional support can help obese people handle stress.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the epidemic nature of obesity makes the US healthcare system pay more attention to the issue. Almost half of the country’s adult population is obese, which leads to substantial medical losses. Healthy diets and lifestyles are the primary prevention and treatment strategies associated with obesity. However, people are still unaware of the common risk factors, prevention methods, and effective health therapies. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that Americans have detailed information on the matter and that they are motivated to have healthy lifestyles.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Adult obesity facts. Web.

Esteghamati, A., Mazaheri, T., Vahidi Rad, M., & Noshad, S. (2015). Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of obesity: A critical review. International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 13(2), 1-9. Web.

Evans, E. W., & Must, A. (2014). Recent developments in the epidemiology of obesity. In R. F. Kushner & D. H. Bessesen (Eds.), Treatment of the obese patient (pp. 151-167). Chicago, IL: Springer.

Junne, F., Ziser, K., Giel, K. E., Schag, K., Skoda, E., & Mack, I., … Teufel, M. (2017). Determinants of perceived stress in individuals with obesity: Exploring the relationship of potentially obesity-related factors and perceived stress. Obesity Facts, 10(2), 127-138. Web.

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Wen, M., Fan, J. X., Kowaleski-Jones, L., & Wan, N. (2017). Rural–urban disparities in obesity prevalence among working age adults in the United States: Exploring the mechanisms. American Journal of Health Promotion, 32(2), 400-408. Web.

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