childhood obesity

Literature Review: Obesity in the USA.

Definition of obesity

Obesity is both an abnormal social and medical condition in which the human body accumulates excessive body fat to have an adverse effect on the human health, to lower life expectancy, to reduce the quality of life and various health problems. Obesity is simply a term that follows the term “overweight” as measured by the Body mass index (BMI), which compares weight to height. Overweight people have BMI from 25 to 30 kg/m2, while obese people have Body Mass index of 30 kg/m2 and more. Normal people have a Body-Mass index up to 25 kg/m2. Generally, obesity is caused by the inappropriate diet and unhealthy lifestyles; although in some cases genetic factors may contribute greatly to obesity in humans. Obesity is an ever-increasing problem around the world, especially in the developed and rich nations, such as the USA and Europe, where these rates continue to increase. In Japan, on the other hand, the rates are extremely low, so the problem of obesity is not as widespread as in the USA. This article review of obesity will further your knowledge.

childhood obesity

childhood obesity


Article review on US obesity rates.

A study by Flegal et al (2012) examined growing obesity rates in the USA from 1999 till 2010 and determined and upward growing trend, meaning that over the past ten years of the chosen period Americans gained more and more weight.

The Purpose(s) of the study was to determine the changes of the BMI among US adults to see if there were any changes to the obesity and overweight rates in the USA. The importance of the study is in the direct relationship between the growing obesity and excessive weight in the US adults and the obesity-related diseases and disorders, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and various cancers. Obesity, therefore, can be viewed as impacting the cost of medicine and healthcare, too. The study relates to the literature review cited in the article directly since it provides an extensive informational coverage of the obesity growth rates, trends and data for the US adults over the period of 1999 till 2010. This information allows effective analysis and understating of the situation with excessive rates in the USA to determine the current problem.

The study by Flegal et al (2012) effectively covers a nation-wide pool of participants. The participants included 5926 adult men and women from a nationally representative sample of the civilian non-institutionalized US population in 2009-2010 and for 22 847 men and women in 1999-2008. Description of the interventions or measurements used involved measurements of heights and weights. The NHANES program of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused on the relationship between weight/height (BMI) and various population specific traits, such as race, ethnicity, wealth, income, etc. In this case, as per literature review on obesity, the BMI is a dependent variable, while social status, eating habits, and race are the independent variables that affected the BMI. The study was conducted in a scientific manner. Weight and height data was measured in a mobile examination center using standardized techniques and equipment across the nation. The figures were rounded to the nearest tenth. Age, race, and other data were based on the information provided at the interview, while statistics were collected using SAS software (Flegal et al 2012).

childhood obesity

childhood obesity

Statistics on obesity

The important statistical findings suggest that the age adjusted obesity rates were 35.5% and within the race/ethnicity groups the rate rose to 36.2% and to 38.8% among non Hispanic black men. For women the obesity rates were 35.8% among white women and up to 58.5% among black women (non Hispanic). The racial minorities, who also represent lower status citizens with smaller incomes were more likely to become obese. This is especially true for black non-Hispanic women (Flegal et al 2012). The findings of the study suggested that not only Americans over the course of ten years 1999 till 2010 became more overweight and obese, but also that this trend appears to continue into the future. Furthermore, positive correlation between obesity and poverty, lower status, and skin color were observed. Obesity and excessive body weight, although may appear as only extra physical mass, in reality involve numerous dangers. For instance, obesity and excessive weight in general is positive correlated with various chronic diseases and early death. What is more important excessive weight not only lowers the quality of life of people but also makes them abuse the healthcare, since obese and overweight people usually use healthcare services more often than people with normal weight.


Excessive weight may result in diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and things like stroke or heart attack (Flegal et al 2012). Things like osteoarthritis and various types of cancer are more likely to affect people with excessive weight. The findings are generally consistent with previous studies on obesity rates. The factors that affect obesity involve eating habits, prices, availability of food, lifestyles, access and resources and many others. Also, one should note that although the BMI effectively measures obesity, it is also important to measure how the fat is distributed around the body. The most “dangerous” is the abdominal fat, the presence of which is positively correlated with many most obesity-related health issues (Flegal et al 2012). The author’s suggestions for future research calls for additional exploration of the topic to explore the specific habits in eating, exercise and lifestyle of the minorities that contributes to the obesity rates. It appears that minorities have more unhealthy habits and less time to exercise or to afford quality low-fat, high fiber foods.

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