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A study by James et al (2012) examined the topic of obesity on a global scale to determine what was called to be “epidemic” proportions of obese people worldwide. Nowadays, the number of overweight and obese people in the world is greater than the number of people who are chronically hungry and do not have access to food. Yet, obesity, just like malnutrition is unhealthy and it involves tremendous social, medical and psychological costs. It noted that in Asia the obesity as measured by the BMI is lowered to 25 (as opposed to 30 in the USA) because of the high prevalence of co morbidities, particularly diabetes and hypertension associated already with the BMI of 25.
The purpose(s) of the study is to assess the obesity rates worldwide as well as obesity prevalence in some countries around the world. Furthermore, the researchers make an effective attempt to find the reasons and the causes of obesity, i.e. what forces people to consciously engage in overeating and inactivity, thus gaining extra weight and get obesity-related problems. The reason why obesity was called “epidemic” is because of the health dangers of obesity. The study relates to the body of literature cited in the article directly by exploring how obesity rates increase each decade and how obesity grows together with the cultural western habits linked to overeating and inactivity (James et al 2012).
The study by James et al (2012) is based on the WHO report on obesity conducted in over 191 countries around the world. The participants involved in the study represent the national averages for the selected 191 nations. The interventions or measurements used in the study by James et al (2012) focus on the collection of weight/height/BMI data for various nations, as well as prevalence of the associated diseases. What is more important the study by James et al (2012) also focused on child obesity, another important problem that previously was ignored by most researchers, who focused on only adult obesity. Nevertheless, obese children are more likely to grow into overweight or obese adults, unless they change their activity and eating habits. The independent variables involved food consumption, calorie intake, the amount of physical activity and exercise (James et al 2012). The dependent variables represented the BMI rates (obesity) and the obesity-related disorders and illnesses for both adults and children groups. The study was conducted by the WHO and related organizations, and subsequently analyzed, and summarized by James et al (2012). It is a meta-study of the obesity and related co-morbidities (James et al 2012).
The important statistical findings of James et al (2012) show that in most countries, women show a greater BMI distribution with higher obesity rates than do men. Furthermore, obesity is usually now associated with poverty, even in developing countries (James et al 2012). That further shows that racial, ethnic and other minorities usually are more likely to become overweight and obese (James et al 2012). What is more important, recently Asian researchers proposed an alternative classification system of obesity, because of the high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension at very modest increases in BMI. They suggest the upper limit after which health problem starts to be 22.9 BMI (upper limit), so a BMI cutoff point of 25 kg/m2 already shows obesity (James et al 2012). Furthermore, obesity rates were measured among children to show that social status of the family is directly responsible for childhood obesity.
The findings of the study suggested that high obesity rates in the first world nations, like the USA can be explained by decreasing cost of food and the availability of high-calorie foods, rich in fats. The price of food did decline overtime because of the technological innovations, and improvements that increased efficiency and effectiveness of agriculture, food processing and food distribution (James et al 2012). Likewise, the growing cost of physical activity further contributes to obesity since people start to walk and engage in physical activity more rarely than in the past .The same technology is responsible for less physical activity, as it virtually eliminated the need for it. It is always better and easier to get anywhere by car. Therefore, physical activity, or enough of physical activity, nowadays requires conscious commitment to it. Conscious commitment to exercise requires people in the first world nations to find that extra hour or more to do that exercise, to dedicate one’s time, which in many cases also has some monetary value. It partially explains why low income families and minorities are likely to become obese. Indeed, unlike the middle and upper class people, who can find an extra hour for exercise, low status families spend that time on work to get more money. In addition to unhealthy habits of consuming foods rich in fats and sugars, they tend to exercise less (James et al 2012). The findings compared with previous studies and suggest that obesity is a growing problem in the first world nations because of the falling costs of food and the availability of technology that allows people to remain inactive and thus gain weight. The author’s suggestions for future research calls for further analysis of the important cultural and family habits with respect to food consumption, and exercises, the role that food and exercise plays in the family and the importance of the mass media that can not only form the habit of accepting obesity and excessive weight as a normal part of life, but also to propagate unhealthy eating habits.