Facts and Statistics on Obesity

Subject: Nutrition
Type: Profile Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1644
Topics: Food, Fast Food, Obesity

Obesity refers to a health condition whereby the body accumulates fats to the level whereby it affects an individual’s health. Obesity also occurs when the body mass index exceeds the normal BMI of a person depending on their ages. Obesity has been a social problem for an extended period, and many states are striving to reduce the number of people living with obesity. Obesity could be a result of genetic inheritance or lifestyle. Jasmin Collier reports that research done in various countries shows that few obesity patients became obese due to genes (Collier). Majority of obese patients acquired the health condition due to lifestyle. Lifestyle, in this case, means the feeding habits as well as the daily activities that a person carries out. Intake of too much fat without adequate body movements leads to accumulation of unwanted fats in the body which leads to obesity. As much as efforts have been made to reduce the number of obesity issues, the numbers keep rising.  The figure 1 below shows the rising trends of obesity among the youth and adults from 1982 to 2014. The rate is rapidly increasing among children as it does among adults and youth. World Health Organization obesity is at an endemic level in 2017 with 2.8 million deaths reported caused by overweight and obesity (World Health Organization). It is, therefore, a social problem, and every individual, government body, the private and public institution should work towards preventing the cases of obesity.


Poor eating habits

Many people suffering from obesity acquired the health condition as a result of poor diet. There has been a rise in the food outlets selling junk foods. The fast-food industry reports that most people prefer eating fast foods rather than preparing meals at home. The industry produces both junk foods as well as healthy natural foods. However, the junk foods are highly consumed which explains the rising levels of obesity among children, youth and adults (Pollan). Young children tend to prefer sweet foods to other healthy foods. Obesity could also be caused by foods containing high sugar levels. The body consumes a little amount of sugar required. The body then accumulates the remaining sugar which is deposited in different parts of the body, though not required. These sugar deposits, just like accumulated body fat, leads to overweight and eventually obesity. Unlike in the past years, recently there are many junk food outlets which make junk foods readily available and thus consumed by many individuals. Some people are lazy, others are addicted to junk and fast foods, while others are ignorant of the type of foods they should consume. Lack of energy in the body could also make a person eat wrong foods which could lead to obesity (Willet). 


Obesity could also be caused by natural and most of the time, certain causes such as genetics. A family that has most of its members with large bodies is likely to give rise to children who have huge bodies as well. Unlike obesity caused by poor diet, genetic obesity cannot be controlled through changing lifestyle. Obesity runs in families, and where the gene is recessive, the majority of family members tend to be overweight or obese from childhood to adulthood. This is due to the heredity of obesity character found in the genes of parents. Another attribute of many families is that they share most meals together and therefore, they could influence each other on their feeding habits. Their lifestyles tend to be alike, and that means that if most of them are used to taking fast foods, then all of them might be at risk of acquiring obesity. Most families could feed together on junk foods when they go out for picnics or other family functions. However, it is rare to find families influencing each other into doing exercises together as part of their routine. As a result, family dynamics, along with genetic factors, are said to contribute to obesity highly. 

Lack of exercises

Lack of activity also causes obesity. The body requires exercises to keep fit and healthy to avoid health issues such as overweight and obesity. Unhealthy diets and poor eating habits lead to accumulation of body fats and sugar which should be burned through exercises. It is required of every person that they should at least engage the body in movements to avoid related health issues that may result because of too much sitting or sleeping without movements. Exercises help in consuming calories which are not needed by the body. People working in offices rarely have time for workouts. They spend their time sitting all day long at while working and go back home tired, hence, they have no chance left for carrying out exercises. In the long run, their bodies tend to build up more fat which leads to overweight and obesity. 


Governments have had many initiatives put in place to inform individuals on the effects and possible solutions to obesity. However, the number of individuals living with and dying due to obesity is still increasing. Obesity is already a social problem and needs to be considered as an emergency and thus, solved. The solutions should be identified, and the individuals need to adhere to the proposed solutions to prevent obesity levels from increasing.  Failure to address the rising cases of obesity would lead to most governments spending more funds on treating obesity (Khullar). States spend lots of resources in addressing the issues of obesity and seeking to reduce the number of deaths per year caused by the latter. Also, if solutions to prevent and reduce obesity are not identified and implemented, then mortality rates caused by obesity would increase. Thus, the economic status of many states will adversely be affected, and deaths, as the death rates, also increase. 


One of the ways suggested to reduce obesity is through eating healthy. Through healthy eating, individuals will reduce the intake of junk foods and other meals leading to obesity. People should change their lifestyle primarily by maintaining a healthy diet. Wendell Berry states that a person lives free when they eat responsibly (Berry). 

Obesity through food does not have to be caused by junk foods. Food made at home could contain lots of fat, sugar, salt or any other additives causing obesity (Freedman). Households need to change the manner in which they prepare food to prevent obesity.

Another proposed solution posted on the Wall street journal news is that the government should control the production of food. The government supports the production of unhealthy junk foods and thus should make the production of such foods causing obesity more expensive (McKay). In this way, some individuals will not be able to purchase junk foods and would, therefore, opt for healthier foods. 


Controlling feeding habits and the foods prepared at home are proposed solutions that can solely be implemented by individuals. Every person should eat responsibly to prevent or reduce obesity.  However, controlling the production of junk food can be achieved through following a number steps listed below.

  1. Assessing the foodstuffs causing obesity among many individuals
  2. Formulate rules and regulations for production companies
  3. Ensure that the amount of fat, salt and sugar used in production of foods are reduced to low levels that cannot cause obesity
  4. Impose fat tax on the production of junk foods
  5. Ensure that restaurants and other food outlets selling junk foods also sell salads, vegetables and fruits; and other natural and healthy foods. 


The government can control the production of junk foods. However, that does not mean that obesity would reduce. The government can not control People’s feeding habits through production industries. Families can consume home-made foods which could also cause obesity, and that means that the government’s objective of reducing obesity would not be accomplished. Moreover, the imposition of fat tax and increasing prices of junk foods is not a guarantee for reduction of obesity (McKay). Average and high-income families will still afford the junk foods and continue with their lifestyle, hence maintaining or increasing the levels of obesity. 


It is true that the government cannot control obesity through controlling production companies. Very few people would stop taking junk foods due to increased prices. Therefore, there should be alternative solutions to help in reducing obesity. These solutions should at least influence the lifestyles of individuals directly. 

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Some of the alternative solutions to obesity include:

Creating awareness

Creating awareness involves the general public on the importance of preventing obesity. Due to technology, almost everyone uses social media at some time during the week. It is, therefore, necessary, to use social media platforms in informing the general public on the effects and preventive measures of obesity. The government can also use social media in listing different types of commodities with high salt, sugar and fat levels which cause obesity. 

Disadvantage: This solution is dependent on individuals’ decision to follow what the government advertises on social media about obesity. Some people are ignorant and therefore, would keep up with their lifestyle regardless of whether they get information on social media on obesity or not. 

Encouraging exercise

One of the major causes of obesity is lack of obesity. Most people do not exercise due to lack of enough time at their workplaces. The government should liaise with employers, and together they should install gyms for employees. Employers will then give their employees opportunities to exercise during breaks and before leaving work for home. This would significantly reduce obesity since most employees will be motivated to carry out frequent exercises.

Disadvantages: the first drawback to this solution is that its effectiveness depends on decisions of individuals. The second setback is that this solution will require additional finances. 

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  1. Berry, Wendell. Wendell Berry: The Pleasures of Eating. 10 December 2016. 22 November 2017 <https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/wendell-berry-pleasure-eating>.
  2. Collier, Jasmin. Obesity: Five surprising facts. 16 November 2017. 22 Novemeber 2017 <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320083.php>.
  3. Freedman, David H. How Junk Food Can End Obesity. August 2013. 22 November 2017 <https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-junk-food-can-end-obesity/309396/>.
  4. Khullar, Dhruv. “Why Shame Won’t Stop Obesity.” Food Matters (2015).
  5. McKay, Betsy. What Role Should the Government play in Combating Obesity? 18 September 2012. 22 November 2017 <https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-role-should-government-play-in-combating-obesity-1378333057>.
  6. Pollan, Michael. “Eat Food: Food Defined.” Food Matters (2014).
  7. Willet, Walter. Eat, Drink, and be healthy: the Havard Medical Scool guide to healthy eating. Simon and Schuster, 2017.
  8. World Health Organization. 10 Facts about obesity. October 2017. 22 November 2017 <http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/obesity/en/>.
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