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Obesity: The Disease

Obesity has emerged as a major health epidemic around the world. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is rapidly spreading across all regions and demographic groups. An estimated 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese. That figure represents more than 50% of the American adult population. Of this group, 11 million adults suffer from severe obesity. In Australia it is predicted that if weight gain continues the path it is following, by the year 2020, 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese, meaning the need for surgical weight loss procedures and non-surgical options is growing.

The American Obesity Association reports that obese individuals have a 50-100% increased risk of death compared to people with a healthy weight. This substantial increase in health risks has made obesity the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Obesity may be the result of the following

  • The genes you inherited from your parents
  • How well your body turns food into energy
  • Your eating and exercising habits
  • Your surroundings
  • Psychological factors

If you are obese, severely obese, or morbidly obese, you may have:

Shorter Life Expectancy

  • Compared to people of normal weight, obese people have a 50% to 100% increased risk of dying prematurely

Obese people may have more risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Joint problems (e.g. arthritis)
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Certain types of cancer (breast, uterine, colon)
  • Digestive disorders (e.g. gastroesophageal reflux)
  • Breathing difficulties (e.g. sleep apnea, asthma)
  • Psychological problems such as depression
  • Problems with fertility and pregnancy
  • Urinary Incontinene

Risks to psychological and social well-being may include:

  • Negative self-image
  • Social isolation
  • Discrimination
  • Depression

Potential difficulties with day-to-day living:

  • Movement can be more difficult making day to day tasks difficult
  • Obese people tend to tire more quickly and find themselves short of breath
  • Public transport seats, telephone booths, and cars may be too small
  • Many overweight people find it difficult to maintain personal hygiene

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