The Causes Of Obesity Essay

1694 words - 7 pages

Diagnosing obesity can be a problematic task due to the various factors that need to be taken into consideration. To date, there is no technique consistently available in clinical practice that can accurately calculate the amount of fat accumulated in an individual’s body. Before the numerous advancements of healthcare, obesity was initially assessed by anthropometric measurements, such as weight-for-height, skinfold thickness, and waist circumferences. Specifically, waist circumferences that were more than 1020 mm for men and above 880 mm for women were considered at risk for being obese (Pi-Sunyer, 2000). In more recent times, body mass index (BMI) has become the “golden standard” for diagnosing obesity. Numerous volunteer and government health organizations are responsible for determining the three categories for BMI: the normal range for BMI is 19-24.5 kg/m2, overweight is 25-29.5 kg/m2, and obesity is more than 30 kg/m2 (Pi-Sunyer, 2000). Since no two people are alike, BMI can be an inaccurate measurement when evaluating a person’s total body fat. It is important to look at the whole picture before declaring someone obese. “Not only is the total amount of fat that an individual carries important, but also where the fat is distributed in the body” (Pi-Sunyer, 2000, p.507). Therefore, the criteria for diagnosing obesity should be individualized (Gilden Tsai & Wadden, 2013). An individual can be correctly diagnosed with obesity by the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or computer assisted tomography scanning (CT Scan). However, utilizing these two methods can be highly expensive, so they are rarely used (Pi-Sunyer, 2000). The lack of accurate measurement techniques for diagnosing obesity could potentially be a reason why its prevalence rate has multiplied over the years.
Prevalence. Obesity rates have increased significantly throughout the world over the past decades (Gilden Tsai & Wadden, 2013). Despite all efforts to stop the obesity epidemic, the number of individuals who are considered an abnormal weight continues to rise more each day. “Healthy People 2020 identified overweight and obesity as a major health issue in the United States” (Harkness, 2012, p. 100). According to the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, approximately 29.2% of adults in Pennsylvania are obese compared to 27.6% of adults being obese nationwide (“Pennsylvania Obesity”, 2013). Prevalence rates for local regions, such as York County, are calculated annually. York County’s obesity rate is listed at 32%, which is slightly analogous to the state’s rate (York, 2013).
Obesity prevalence rates differ considerably in relation to race and ethnicity. In the state of Pennsylvania, non-Hispanic African Americans have the greatest rates of obesity (roughly around 41%), while Hispanics have a rate of 34%, and non-Hispanic Caucasians have a rate of 29% (“Pennsylvania Obesity”, 2013). National rates are slightly higher for all three ethnicity groups....

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