More American women than ever are obese, while the number of men carrying around far too many pounds has held steady, research shows. A second study finds US teens are another group that continues to struggle with obesity. Obesity remains a public health concern. The study does not show why. A lot of research is needed in order to understand the reason for the continuing obesity epidemic.
Among nearly 41,000 children and teens, a 15-year study was done and the obesity increase was between 2003-2004. Among those aged 6 to 11 obesity increased until 2007-2008. Among teens 12 to 19 obesity increased until 2013-2014.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture where we know food is willfully engineered to be all but addictive. But no action is taken to help stop this epidemic. The direct cost associated with obesity are for the most part estimated through services rendered, the cost of treating the attributable consequences of illness and comorbidities, as well as those cost recorded by healthcare and insurance providers. Importantly, there are additional cost that are more difficult to estimate such as absenteeism and lost productivity. Patients with obesity are more susceptible to chronic illnesses, thus contributing to increases in medical spending.
Factors underlying the difficulty of maintaining weight loss have been examined at the physiological and behavior levels. A 2011 study enrolled 50 overweight patients with obesity in a 10-week diet; 36 completed the protocol. Upon completion of the 10-week regimen, the average weight loss was 13.5 kg, or 14% of the net weight at baseline levels.
Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults, and therefore more at risk for adult health problems, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. One study suggests that children who become obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults. Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon endometrium, esophagus, kidney pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Prevention involves healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, that can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases. The dietary and physical activity behavior of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.
For more information on obesity you may contact Lethia Lee at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office at 910-592-7161.
Leitha Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.