Obesity has unfortunately become a global pandemic affecting the existence of millions of people, according to the World Health Organization. It is an accelerating social problem in many countries of the world, especially those more affluent.
Obesity is very often defined as an eating disorder. However, it is not just a case of eating too much. Health experts report that obesity is a potentially fatal disease prevalent in our society.
As this obesity epidemic gains momentum, so does the number of individuals who suffer from it. Approximately 300,000 adult deaths in the USA alone each year can be directly linked to unhealthy dietary habits and physical inactivity or obesity. In the USA alone, almost a third of the adult population suffers from obesity. In Europe, the figures are much the same. However, an astonishing 58 per cent of the United Kingdom's adult population is considered to be obese or chronically over weight according to a recently published report.
Obesity is not just a health issue. It is also unfortunately a socio-economic issue that costs hundreds of billions in the USA each year. In the UK this problem costs over two billion pounds in National Health services and indirect losses to the British economy. No less than 18 million sick days a year are reported to be attribute to obesity, and the higher risk of diabetes,heart diseases and strokes lessens the life expectancy of sufferers by around nine years.
When it comes to explaining this growing problem many scientific reports refer to a combination of fast food, the increasing use of motor vehicles and a much less active lifestyle with the advent of televisions, computers and computer games.
Some recent studies have found that the increase in obesity among children is directly related to the many hours spent watching television or playing computer or video games, but other studies have failed to establish a correlation.
More to the point, these studies fail to address the many other driving forces behind the changes in our diets and lifestyles today,including high pressure advertising, the mega profit food and entertainment conglomerates, along with the increased pressures of longer working hours and the declining living standards for the majority of working people.
Lower life expectancy is another downside for obesity sufferers. In addition to this, obese and chronically over-weight individuals are much more susceptible to a number of diseases directly related to obesity. These diseases can include, type two diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, some cancers and osteoarthritis and sleep apnea.
The growing obesity problem is one which needs immense study funding. Funding to find the real reasons, real causes, and finally the real answers to solving this world wide disease.
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