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Obesity: A Serious Epidemic In The United States

625 words - 3 pages

Obesity is a chronic medical condition—it is a disease. Obesity is a serious epidemic health issue in the US; today, 1 in 3 American adults are obese. To target the issue of obesity effectively, we must first have a clear understanding of the problem. The question of whether obesity is a disease or a choice is a controversial one, as was readily apparent last June, when the American Medical Association released an official statement recognizing obesity as a disease. This announcement sparked much debate across the country. As one of the largest physician groups in the US, the AMA’s decision carries a great deal of weight in the medical community. The resolution may cause physicians to take this disease more seriously and even help change policies related to insurance coverage of obesity treatments.
From a medical and scientific perspective, obesity fits any reasonable definition of disease. First of all, obesity impairs normal body processes. Obesity is caused by chronic malfunction of the body’s energy balance, where energy input consistently exceeds energy output. This leads to the expansion of fat tissue, which has consequences that reach far beyond weight gain. Over time, this disease changes the way cells respond to normal metabolic and hormonal signals. For example, obesity has been linked to resistance towards a metabolic hormone called leptin that reduces appetite after eating (“Overcoming Leptin”). Leptin resistance further promotes obesity, “leading to a vicious cycle of escalating metabolic devastation” (scholar article). This may explain why it is so difficult for obese people to lose weight. Furthermore, obesity is characterized by a specific set of symptoms. To name a few, obesity causes weight gain, difficulty breathing and moving, skin changes, body aches, and joint pains (“Obesity”). As body mass index (or BMI) increases, the risk of developing associated medical problems like depression, hypertension, type II diabetes, heart disease,...

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