Obesity Is A Disease: Social Problem Of Being Overweight

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Nowadays obesity and overweight become a major social problem. They not only have high correlation with many serious and chronic diseases but also cause economic impact. The definition of obesity and overweight is deviant or excessive fat accumulation may impair health. Body mass index (BMI), which is defined as weight divided by the square height, is usually used to classify obesity and overweight in adults. The percentages of person who considered overweight or obesity have risen over these years and the tendency is accelerated during these years. As the prevalence of obesity increased dramatically, the problem caused by obesity become obviously. These tendency show people become more likely have overweight and obesity issue. Although there are many different factors result in obesity, unhealthy life style and the obesogenic environment are considered as two main factors.

Unhealthy life style probably the most effective reason causes obesity; it includes food intake and lack of physical activities. Low intake in vegetarian diet lead to 3.4% of the total disease burden and factors be related to diet contributed 10% of the total burden of disease (AIHW 2016c, 2017a). However scarce intake in fruit and vegetables not the main factor causes obesity, consuming low-nutrient, energy-dense food and drinks is the major factor that lead to obesity. These food and drinks increase exceeds requirement energy intake, lead to energy imbalance and increased weight result in obesity and overweight (NHMRC 2013a, cited in AIHW, 2017). A research in USA showed high intake of sugar-sweetened drinks lead to high bodyweight among both in children and adults (NHMRC 2013a, cited in AIHW, 2017). Another effective factor, which is lack of physical activities, meaning not enough energy cost can also result in energy imbalance directly lead to obesity (AIHW, 2017). In Australia there are totally 45% adults lack of physical activities, 25% of these people were sssssssscompletely inactive during 2014-2015 (ABS 2015, cited in AIHW 2017). These problem can be easily solved by reduce intake of energy dense food and increase in active time.

Obesogenic environment is defined as an environment that facilitate obesity both individual and populations (Swinburn, 1999, cited in AIHW. 2017), the place people stay for long time have more influence in obesity which is workplace and home. Working hour, vending machines, public transport access, event catering and food outlets nearby are considered as workplace health factors (AIHW, 2017). These factors directly affect intake food and amount of active time, these are two main reason caused obesity. Developed country usually have more office worker who are normally lack of activities, data showed higher obesity rate in developed countries average 20% while in developing countries, are usually have more manual worker, average 10% (OECD, 2017). Home has complex correlation with healthy lifestyle choices, less choosable healthy food and screen-based activities are strongly linked to obesity (Banks, 2011, cited in AIHW, 2017). For example, communities closer to supermarket indicate higher intake of healthy food and higher quality diet (Boone, 2007, cited in AIHW, 2017). Hence all these environments can affect individual energy balance by food options and physical activity patterns.

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Overweight and obesity are major risk factor for many diseases, cause chronic condition and death. Chronic condition contributed by abnormal weight usually include some cancer, gallbladder disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, back pain and problems, dementia, asthma, diabetes, osteoarthritis and gout (AIHW, 2017). Compare to adults of normal weight, adults who were overweight or obese have higher possibility to report that they had chronic conditions (ABS, 2015, cited in AIHW, 2017). These diseases the only result in a decrease in life quality but also cause shorter life period. In all factor lead to higher death rate, being overweight or obese causes the highest death rate (di Angelantonio, 2016, cited in AIHW, 2017). The life expectancy of those class I obesity (30-34.99kg/m^2) was decreased 2-4 years, and 8-10 years for those with class III obesity (40-44.99 kg/m^2) when compare to the life expectancy of people with normal BMI (18.5-24.99 kg/m^2) (NHMRC, 2013b, cited in AIHW 2017). These data all proved overweight and obese can result in death and high connection between obesity and chronic conditions.

Illnesses caused by obesity and overweight have significant impact on national economy in direct financial coat and indirect cost. Direct costs to the health system contained higher demanded on health-care services and health-care cost, these costs take national budget. The total cost in Australia for overweight and obese people more than $56 billion a year, health care cost totalled $21 billion and government subsidies the rest $35.6 billion and the cost will continuously increase as the number of people were overweight and obese (Rose, 2010). Indirect cost include carer cost, productivity losses, forgone taxation revenue, welfare payment and other cost (Access Economics, 2008, cited in AIHW 2017). The indirect cost estimated $1.9 billion carer cost in 2008 and $4.8 billion indirect cost that exclude further cost from reduced life quality and forgone earning in 2011-2012 (PwC Australia, 2015, cited in AIHW, 2017). These cost take the place of other budget result in insufficient fund for other project.

Unhealthy life style and obesogenic environment result in higher possibility of people become overweight or obese, further more overweight and obesity caused healthy and economic impacts which directly or indirectly decrease life quality and less life expectancy. However obesity is preventable, for individual make healthy food as an option and increase active time to keep energy balance, government apply laws and regulation that control energy-dense food also sugar tax for sugar-sweetened food. In the worst situation, for example class III obesity, weight loss surgery always be an option to reduce the weight. 

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