Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Obesity has been around for a long time now, and has drastically increased over the years. Obesity is a condition of being more than 20% over your ideal weight, or having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. According to the BMI, the normal weight is 18.5 - 24.9 of the Body Mass Index. The BMI can be calculated by a formula which uses weight in pounds and height in inches: Weight divided by the square of the height multiplied by 704.5. As the height and weight of the individual increases the BMI will stay within the range of 18.5 - 24.9. If the individual’s weight continues to increase after they have reached the acceptable height for their age, then the BMI will increase and unless they change their eating habits they will mostly likely become obese.

Click the image above to see the
Obesity in America from 1990 - 2006

The United States of America has the highest percentage of obesity in the world. Statistics show that from 1980 to 2002, obesity has doubled in adults and has tripled in children. About 119 million adults and children in the US, which is 64.5% of the population, are overweight. People who are obese have a shorter life span then the people who are not obese. Obesity is a risk factor in a number of deadly diseases and other health problems. Obesity can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and other breathing problems, some cancers such as breast, colon and endometrial cancer and mental health problems, such as low self-esteem and depression. Obesity has many deadly affects on the heart and blood vessels in many different ways. They are most likely to develop diseases in the coronary arteries, which are the main vessels that supply blood to the heart. If there is blockage in the coronary arteries then it can cause a muscle in the heart to die. Sometimes the heart might not be able pump to the major organs such as the brain, lungs, and kidneys, this can relate to death. Studies show that coronary artery disease occurs more often with people resulting in having a high blood pressure, abnormal blood cholesterol levels, people who don’t exercise, smoking, who have diabetes, and who are obese. As people put on extra weight, they develop more blood vessels, red blood cells, and plasma. The amount of blood in the circulatory system increases, and the heart has to pump all the blood that comes through it. The chambers in the heart may expand to try and handle the extra volume that the heart is trying to pump. If the heart is being pumped too much it can weaken the ability of the heart to pump the blood, therefore resulting in heart failure. One of the most common problems of obesity is caused by lots of fatty tissues in the back of the throat which blocks the air from flowing from the nose to the lungs while you sleep. Although obesity affects the body physically, there are also psychosocial consequences as well. Some people experience depression and are then forced to go to psychotherapy or medication. Children that are obese are the main target of bullies, discrimination, and not being accepted by their peers. If this continues then when growing up, they would lack social skills, and might have difficulties in going to schools, and keeping jobs.

"Obesity Overview Video"

Even in the earliest known cultures, they had artifacts called ‘Venus figurines’, which were small statues that represented an obese female figure. It had spread throughout many prehistoric European cultures, and they decided to use the obese female figure in many magical rituals, showing that the obese figure was approved. The view of obesity has changed drastically over the years. Many cultures believe that obesity was physically attractive, represented strength, fertility and wealth. On the other hand, Ancient Egyptians believed that obesity was a disease. Ancient China also considered obesity a danger and they were aware of the health problems that came with obesity. By the 1900’s it was considered to be unfashionable by the French designer who at this time was designing skin revealing clothes for women. Over the years obesity continued to grow throughout the world and so did the awareness of the dangers of obesity. In present times obesity and its dangers are well known around the world, yet every year millions of people die each year due to their excess weight.

In 2004Patrick Deuel, weighed in at 1072 pounds, and he was only 43 years old. Patrick was a former restaurant manager, who was born on the March, 28, 1962. By the time he was four his weight was at six stones, which is 84 pounds. Betty his mother recalls that he didn’t eat more, but he just gained weight faster than other kids his age. When Patrick was admitted to the hospital he was looked after Dr. Fred Harris, an obesity surgeon. Patrick was suffering from malnutrition, and according to Dr. Harris who explained that Patrick was taking in lots of calories, but not the high quality calories, he only took in lots of fats and lots of carbohydrates. Dr. Harris and his team of nutritionists provided a special diet for Patrick Deuel. This diet stated that Patrick was to eat one tenth of what he usually eats. After four months thanks to Dr. Harris’ diet Patrick was nearly half his previous weight. Although the diet helped Patrick lose a lot of weight, it did not fully help him lose the unnecessary weight, since he was cheating while on the diet. The only way to stop him from over eating was for him to get gastric bypass surgery, where the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach by stapling most of the stomach, leaving a pouch on top. This reduced the amount of food Patrick would eat. Patrick has lost 616 pounds over the years, and now weighs at 457 pounds. His weight is still dangerously high and he is lucky to have lived this long considering how his BMI at one point was 158.5. Patrick hopes to lose more weight in the future, as soon as he has an operation removing his excess skin.

Now in the year 2008, there are many major corporations to help with weight loss, such as: Weight Watchers, Curves, LA Weight Loss and many more. Fast food restaurants such as McDonalds are no doubt responsible for the weight epidemic in the world, but they have slowly started to change their image in the public eye by offering fruits and vegetables at their restaurants. In 2004 a shocking documentary came out titled “Super Size Me” directed by Morgan Spurlock. “Super Size Me” exploited McDonald’s and showed the world the dangers of eating unhealthy, and fatty foods from the restaurants. This is one of the reasons why McDonalds has made all the drastic changes in its restaurants around the world. Another reason is because people became aware of the dangers of obesity and made smarter eating choices such as Subway, who at the time was and still is promoting a healthy low fat diet, which they offer at their restaurants. It is said that Subway, is considered to be healthy a restaurant choice, but it was been debated that they were not very honest with their commercials and lied to the public. When Subway used Jared Fogle as their spokesman in its advertising campaigns, they claimed that he lost most of his weight by only eating Subway sandwiches. Many people did not believe this and claimed that it was just a good advertising strategy. The Ministry of Health Promotion realized that something had to be done to prevented obesity in children and took action by adding Daily Physical Activity (DPA). The DPA states that every elementary student will take part in a minimum of 20 minutes of daily psychical activity. The plan also includes the return of specialist physical education teachers, removing all junk food from the vending machines, and opening up the schools for community use after hours.

"Super Size Me Trailer"

In conclusion obesity is becoming more of a problem every year and is taking more lives every year. Obesity and its deadly affects to the human body are known around the world, and now for the first time there are some major steps being taken to fight and prevent obesity. Hopefully through the news, the media and the internet, the message of eating unhealthy and of becoming overweight is very dangerous and can lead to many health problems, and ultimately death.