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Obesity as a Disease

Essay by   •  November 6, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,333 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,547 Views

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Obesity as a Disease

I. Abstract

As a health care professional it is our position statement that obesity should be considered as a disease. Overweight and obese adults are considered at risk for developing diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and certain type of cancers. An average of 300,000 deaths is associated with obesity and the total economic cost of obesity in U.S. was about $ 117 billion in 2000. As health care professionals it is our responsibility to increase public awareness of health consequences of over weight and obesity. Obesity as a disease: Obesity fits all the definitions of 'disease', that is, interruption in bodily function.

II. Position Statement

Obesity is a growing health problem and leading cause of preventable deaths in U.S. As a health care professional it is our position statement that obesity should be considered as a disease. Over weight along with obese are also at risk for many diseases. However, it is our recommendation that expenses related to weight reduction program should only be paid to cure a specific obesity related disease. Medicare and insurance companies should not make payment for treatment of obesity unrelated to a medical condition such as improving a person's general appearance and well being. As treatment in this context has not been determined to be reasonable and necessary. Various kinds of programs such as nutrition education and importance of physical activity must be offered to over weight individuals. Also we must adapt a sensitive approach to change our national perspective of obesity and over weight from an issue of appearance to an issue of health concern.

III. Key Points

1. Diseases related to obesity: Overweight and obese adults are considered at risk for developing diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and some type of cancers.

2. What is obesity costing U.S.: An average of 300,000 deaths is associated with obesity and the total economic cost of obesity in U.S. was about $ 117 billion in 2000.

3. Obesity as a disease: Obesity fits all the definitions of 'disease', that is, interruption in bodily function.

IV. Supporting Facts

1. Diseases related to obesity

Obesity has been proven to affect the structure and function of the body and is also associated with onset of specific diseases. The National Institutes of Health Guidelines summarizes that overweight and obese adults with a BMI of 25 are considered at risk for developing diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and some type of cancers. Individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, while individuals with a BMI >30 are considered obese [1].

a. Obesity and Type II Diabetes:

A research done by Amy Weinstein et al. states that physical activity and BMI are independent predictors of type II diabetes. It further adds that degree of association of BMI is much more then physical activity. The research was done on forty thousand women with a follow up for seven years [2].

b. Obesity and Cardiovascular Diseases [CVD]:

Strong relationship has been observed between obesity and heart related diseases. Researches confirm that weight gain increases blood pressure in obese and overweight hypertensive and nonhypertensive individuals. Weight gain has shown to increase serum triglycerides, blood cholesterol level, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) also called bad cholesterol. Weight gain is also related to decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) also known as good cholesterol [1].

c. Obesity and Respiratory function:

A study from England concluded that abdominal obesity damages respiratory functions in men and women. The relationship between the two was found out by using waist: hip ratio for measuring abdominal obesity and using spirometry to assess respiratory function. The linear and inverse results of spirometry assessment were related to the increase in waist: hip ratio [3].

d. Obesity and Dementia:

Researches have been undergone to find out affect of obesity on dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Findings from a long term investigation states that middle aged obese are a twice as likely to develop dementia in later life as nonobese. The study also relates CVD, diabetes, and lack of physical activity to dementia [4].

e. Obesity and Psychosocial problems:

Over weight and especially obese also suffer from various discriminations in areas of employment, education and disability benefits. It also prevents them from becoming a contributing member of society thus resulting in lower self esteem issues. A study from American Medical Association claims that morbid obese children and adolescents have lower health-related quality of life than healthy children and adolescents. It states psychosocial issues may cover issues related to self worth and depressive symptoms, lower quality of life is a more comprehensive word that addresses physical, emotional, social, and school performance. Health care professionals recommend parents and teachers to enhance health related quality of life issues of their children and students respectively [5].

2. What is obesity costing U.S.?

Epidemic of over weight covers more then one billion adults worldwide, as stated

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