The ever-increasing crisis of child and adult obesity in the United States has spiraled into such alarming proportions. It is considered to be one of the easiest medical conditions to identify but the most difficult to cure. Excessive weight gain brought about by very poor diet and lack of physical exercise is primarily responsible to over 300,000 deaths of Americans every year. The annual cost of obesity have shoot up to an estimated $ 100 billion. This is simply quite too much for us to just ignore.
Overweight children have a greater probability of turning into overweight adults unless some interventions are made. The causes of obesity are quite complex and include a number of factors that include genetic, behavioral, cultural and biological. A person is at greater risk of obesity if he/she has a history of obesity in the family. Although heredity does not predetermine a person to be overweight, it has a great influence in the amount of body fat and its distribution. A person’s genes make him/her more prone to gaining weight. With a family history of obesity, the likelihood of a person of becoming obese can shoot up by about 25 to 30 percent. Although there is no known way of altering the genetic makeup of a person, weight reduction efforts will still pay off even if a person has a family history of obesity.
Aside from having a history of obesity, another contributing factor of obesity is the person’s eating attitude and lifestyle. Poor eating habits, excessive food intake and sedentary lifestyle are sure-fire ingredients to acquiring obesity.
Culture is also a big factor in developing obesity since the ethnic background of a person largely influences food choices. There are some family traditions and rituals that often encourage large servings of food. In a typical American diet, many of the foods have very high calories.
In some rare cases, obesity can be triggered by some medical ailments. However, there are less than 2 percent of all cases of obesity that can be attributed to a metabolic disorder, such as hormonal imbalance and low thyroid function.
Considering all the contributing factors of obesity, it is still a highly curable disease. It is essentially up to the person to take full responsibility of his/her health. It mainly boils down to a person’s attitude with regards to his/her health and lifestyle. Adapting a healthier diet, proper exercise and sticking to an effective weight loss program can considerably add years to a person’s life. Proper understanding and knowledge are the primary factors towards a longer and healthier life.
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