Obesity is a major problem with it affecting children as well as adults. Obesity is when there is too much stored in the body's fatty tissues. When this excess increases, there is a corresponding increase to other medical risk as well. Some of these medical risks have the possibility to be life threatening.
The severity of obesity is measured through body mass index (BMI). The BMI is calculated by dividing the person's weight by the square of their height. (This measurement is done in metric.) The value is separated into ranges which would represent their weight classification from underweight to severely obese.
The cause of overweight conditions is when the energy intake from foods in greater than what the body needs. The excess is turned into fat cells and stored in the body. The amount of excess energy intake is very small but over time can add up to cause the overweight condition. The factors can range from the person's diet to eating disorders to mental stress among others as well. There are some statistical factors showing a higher incidence of obesity with women that have married into lower economic status than women that married into higher economic status.
The best results in reducing excess weight has been in controlling diet and a moderate exercise program. Small drops in weight have created lower health risks for the person. Most dieters that achieve greater weight loss tend to regain the weight they lost within the next several years. Other methods of weight loss include drug therapy and surgery. Both of these come with risk of complications and mortality risks as well.
In many cultures, obesity represents attractiveness or wealth. This is represented in some of their art work. Someone that I talked with once commented that they were doing work overseas for their embassy. They threw a party and invited several guests. One of their guests commented to them that everyone thought they were very wealthy because they put more than one slice of meat on their sandwiches. Other people in foreign lands receive comments of their apparent wealth because they are over weight. When asked about the comment, the reply is that people of that country could not have excessive weight unless they were wealthy because they could not buy sufficient food to be overweight.
In the last 20 years, the obesity problems in the United States has become a very serious problem. Obesity among adults has doubled and among children has tripled. Children under 19 years of age have an incidence of obesity of just under 20%. In adults, the rate is just over 32%. The recent increases in the obesity rates has public health concerns. A quick look at the environmental issues related to this would reveal some interesting problems with activity levels in addition to marketing of foods that lead to obesity. There are so many other factors that can effect this increase in rate. The change of job types to more desk jobs and less physically demanding jobs adds to these factors. There has been a decrease in walking since you can drive everywhere. The fast food industry has tremendously increased during this time as well.
The bottom line is going to be people taking personal responsibility for controlling their weight problems, exercise programs and general health concerns.