Sample Healthcare Paper on Health Issues on Obesity

Health Issues: Obesity

            Obesity is the state of having too much adipose tissue, more than the body requires. In simpler terms, it is a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it puts him or her at a health risk. Obesity is characterized by a person weighing more than he or she should ideally do. This is measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI). If the body weight of a person is 20% higher than it should be, then that person is considered obese (Wong, Chou & Ahmed, 2014). A person having a BMI of between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight (Wong, Chou & Ahmed, 2014). For persons that have a BMI of 30 and over, they are obese. In the united states, obesity is considered among the most chronic and pervasive conditions. It is the leading cause of mortality, healthcare costs, healthcare utilization, and disability. Obesity also increases the chances of one suffering from Type 2 diabetes.


            There are various causes of obesity. The most common ones include consuming a lot of calories, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of enough sleep, endocrine disruptors, reduced rates of smoking, certain types of medication, and genetic background. Currently, people are consuming much more food than they ever did in history (Sanderson et al., 2013). This has been caused by the abundance of food due to improvements in technology and agriculture. In the twentieth century, this used to be peculiar to the developed countries, but it has spread to other nations worldwide. The availability of food causes people to eat more than is required by their bodies. The extra food resources in the body, called calories, are stored in the form of visceral fats. The consumption of sugars has been singled out as a major cause of obesity. The sweetened drinks are consumed in large volumes by people, and this increases their intake of carbohydrates.

The growing culture of fast foods has also promoted the increase in the intake of calories. The fast foods have high volumes of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These are much cheaper to obtain than vegetables and fruits in the U.S, causing fast foods to be the preferred diet for the low-income persons in the society. As a result, the poor have higher rates of obesity in the United States compared to the upper social classes. A sedentary lifestyle is among the leading causes of obesity in the developed countries. The human body has been designed to be active as they search for food or in the process of working. Nowadays, a significant proportion of the population has occupations that do not require them to be active. At the workplace, most workers spend the day in a desk seated next to a computer that does most of the job. The journey home rarely involves walking, as most workers drive to and from work.

At home, the comfort of the television, remote control and other conventional devices act as enablers of a sedentary lifestyle. The less that people move around, the less the calories that their bodies burn. These calories are stored in the body in the form of fat. Being physically active has a bearing on how hormones in the body function (Sanderson et al., 2013). These hormones also have a bearing on how the body treats the food consumed. Physical activity plays the role of stabilizing the insulin levels of the body, boosting health in the process. Lack of exercise can cause the body lose control over insulin levels and increase the body weight of the individual.

Research has indicated that lack of sleep doubles the likelihood of one becoming obese. This research was conducted at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick. The risk of becoming obese due to lack of sleep applies to both children and adults. Lack of sleep causes hormonal changes in the body of a person (Miller et al., 2016). Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates the appetite of a person, is produced when one does not get enough sleep. There is also less Leptin produced by lack of sleep. Leptin plays the role of suppressing the appetite of a person.

Some of the more common foods are endocrine disruptors. Case in point is the fructose, a type of sugar. Some of the effects of fructose are fatty liver and metabolic syndrome. Fructose-containing beverages cause the accumulation of lipids and fatty liver. This leads to resistance to insulin, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Fructose intake is ranked at the same level with poorly balanced diet and inactive lifestyle as a major cause of obesity in modern societies (Masters et al., 2013). Food with high concentrations of sugar has been established to be addictive, further promoting weight gain.

Smoking cigarettes had been established as a method of reducing weight. This is because smoking suppresses the appetite of the smoker. When people quit smoking, it is often accompanied by some weight gain. Some types of medications called the user to gain weight. This is often the case when medicinal steroids are used on a patient. Obesity is a self-perpetuating phenomenon. The longer a person stays overweight or obese, the harder it is the person to lose weight. Experiments on animals revealed that obesity is in part self-perpetuating. Hence, it is essential to intervene in children when they are young and prevent them from becoming obese. There is a faulty gene found in 1 out of every 6 persons (Masters et al., 2013). This faulty gene is called FTO, and it causes the person to overeat occasionally.

Impact on the World

            The recent trends in obesity have seen the number of overweight or obese persons supersede that of the undernourished persons by two and a half times. Obesity causes both health and cosmetic complications that are very expensive to resolve. This is considered wastage of monetary resources, as handling the cause of the problems would be much cheaper. There are inefficiencies in the distribution system of foods that cause massive wastage of food. The most significant impact of obesity is on the health of the individual. There are increased risks of getting cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, and a variety of cancers (Masters et al., 2013). The diseases caused by obesity place a strain on the healthcare system by increasing the cost of healthcare for the population. These incidences of the lifestyle diseases are caused by the victim having obesity. As a person gains weight, his or her stomach is extended (Chopra, 2013). This makes them experience hunger more frequently and consume more food in the process. As a result, the food costs are raised as the obese population consumes more food. Obesity has an adverse effect on the image of a person, making them sensitive and often depressed (Chopra, 2013). The obese persons are unhappy with the way they look and have frequent instances of stress and depression. These are conditions that demand medical intervention, raising the cost of healthcare in the society.




Chopra, S. M., Misra, A., Gulati, S., & Gupta, R. (2013). Overweight, obesity and related non-communicable diseases in Asian Indian girls and women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(7), 688-96.

Masters, R. K., PhD., Reither, E. N., PhD., Powers, D. A., PhD., Yang, Y. C., Burger, A. E., M.S., & Link, B. G., Ph.D. (2013). The impact of obesity on US mortality levels: The importance of age and cohort factors in population estimates.American Journal of Public Health, 103(10), 1895-901.

Miller, E. O., Stanistreet, B., Ruckdeschel, E., Nead, K., & Fortuna, R. J. (2016). Factors associated with the accurate diagnosis of obesity. Journal of Community Health, 41(6), 1257-1263.

Sanderson, S. C., Diefenbach, M. A., Streicher, S. A., Jabs, E. W., Smirnoff, M., Horowitz, C. R., . . . Richardson, L. D. (2013). Genetic and lifestyle causal beliefs about obesity and associated diseases among ethnically diverse patients: A structured interview study. Public Health Genomics, 16(3), 83-93.

Wong, R. J., Chou, C., & Ahmed, A. (2014). Long-term trends and Racial/Ethnic disparities in the prevalence of obesity. Journal of Community Health, 39(6), 1150-1160.