Food has been an important part of everyday life and survival for as long as living organisms have been in existence. Today food is engineered and available for everyone who wants it. Food in our modern society is no longer simply for fuel and survival, but for comfort and taste as well. With this change in food’s purpose spreading throughout the globe, obesity has been skyrocketing throughout the countries and planet. This is a problem many see having enormous repercussions over time.
The golden standard for determining an individuals weight status is the Body Mass Index, or BMI. This system consists of comparing weight against height. This system sets a person into the category of underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese. With the current rates however, “normal” weight is hardly normal.
With 34% of Americans over 20 years old overweight and 34% obese, that leaves 32% of Americans in the label of normal weight or underweight. These rates make the vast majority of Americans either overweight or obese. And people show no signs of reversing this trend. While there are many programs with the purpose of raising awareness about the potential health dangers of obesity, they do not seem to be helping. Obesity rates simply continue to increase. Christopher Ruhm used a national health and nutrition survey to predict that obesity rates would reach 40 percent for men and 43 percent for women in the year 2020.
The primary issue that obesity has is its effects on health. There are many serious ailments that obesity either causes or aids. One of the primary health issues that has been linked to obesity is diabetes. Obesity is correlated with type 2 diabetes, which has traditionally only occurred in adults but is now being found in children. Obesity also has been a huge cause of heart problems. This is caused because of the body mass becoming so large that the heart has extra stress from the large area of the body that it has to pump through. Heart problems can also be caused by the excessive eating of fatty foods that can clog arteries, which is a common food in the diet that causes individuals to become overweight. Obesity has also been reported to increase the risks for colon cancer, prostate cancer, cancer of the gallbladder and breast cancer among others.
Obesity is certainly a condition that is much harder for some people to avoid than others. Genetics have a hand in the overall fate of an individual, but the increasing rates certainly have more to do with culture than genetics. Many believe the simple availability of all types of foods has a contributing hand in the ever-increasing rates of obesity in the world. As new cultures are introduced to the ease and taste of foods such as those that have been fried, it seems that obesity will continue to be more prevalent in all the world.