The Obesity Health Crisis
Obesity has been designated as a global epidemic by the World Health Organization since 1998. It is one of the most common chronic illnesses in North America and its frequency is steadily rising. The American Obesity Association (AOA) defines obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30, while a BMI of 25 is defined as overweight in adults. The United States has become widely notorious for its high obesity rates. The AOA states that currently 64.5% of adult Americans and 45.6% of American children are categorized as overweight or obese. This alarming trend is also being observed in other westernized countries, including Canada. According to a National Population Health Survey by Statistics Canada, 41% of Canadian adults and 37% of Canadian children currently fit into this category. It is a startling fact that over the last 15 years the number of obese children in Canada has tripled.
Obesity is becoming a crisis in the North American society. Obesity increases one's risk of many life threatening conditions. Many social and economic factors have contributed to this increasing health problem.
There are many health concerns caused by this excess of body fat. They include hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes. Obesity also often leads to psychological struggles with depression and low self-esteem.
Many of these medical conditions that were once almost exclusive to adults are now becoming increasingly common in children. Both the Canadian and U.S. governments spend billions of dollars each year to treat these ailments.
Individuals who are obese as children will likely be obese as adults, therefore given this now recognized trend; it is likely that we will only see an increase in the costs resulting from obesity.
What are some of the factors that caused this crisis to develop? The Industrial Revolution...