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An Epidemic In America Essay

1715 words - 7 pages

Overweight and obesity became a National Health Priority Area in 2008 (Beaumont et al, 2012) and is defined by the World Health Organisation (2014) as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health”. As we know overweight and obesity are drastically increasing problems worldwide and have consequently reached epidemic status, thus proving to be one of the most important problems of public health. This is highlighted through the prevalence rates of the conditions among both adults and children, which is considerably more frequent in developed countries (Kyriazis et al, 2012). The proportion of obese adults worldwide has doubled during the 20 years between 1989–90 and 2009 (ABS 2010), with more than 10% of the world’s adult population being obese as of 2010 (WHO), however, according to the International Obesity Taskforce, one in every three adults in the world will be obese by 2025 if current trends continue. Furthermore, the overweight and obesity epidemic is complex and difficult to address as it is triggered by numerous biological, behavioural and environmental factors as well as having the potential to occur at all stages throughout the lifespan. Another reason for its complexity and difficulty in being addressed is that it increases the future risks of other chronic lifestyle diseases, including, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer (Shetty, 2013; Beaumont et al, 2012), contributing to an estimate of 7.6 per cent of the total of burden of disease in 2003 (AIHW, 2008). Given the significant burden of disease and costs caused to the healthcare system by overweight and obesity, it shows that overweight and obesity is an urgent public health problem of which needs to be addressed.
Overweight and obesity can occur at any stage throughout the lifespan but is most critical during childhood. Childhood is the third fastest period of growth in the lifespan stages. In order for this physical development to occur, various nutrients must be consumed in a balanced diet. This ensures that the individual's genetic potential can be reached. The importance of food intake during childhood is not limited to ensuring that optimal development occurs. Food intake also has a significant impact on youth health. There has been an increase in obesity rates and other diet-related diseases. Childhood overweight and obesity is a worldwide problem where trends are rising, as for instance in Australia one quarter of children aged 5-17 years were overweight or obese in 2007-08 which is 4 percent more than in 1995 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009). This increased prevalence of overweight and obesity among children is due to the combination of changes to food intake and the development of sedentary lifestyles. Overweight and obesity during childhood is associated with lifelong implications which includes an increased chance of obesity, premature death and health conditions such as illness developing in adulthood (Alberga et al, 2012)....

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