Obesity is a health condition which is characterized by excess body fat which accumulates to dangerous levels such that the health of the person is affected. The target population that is largely affected by obesity is adolescence which is characterized by a high affinity for snacks as well as a sedentary lifestyle. The disease affect major body parts such as the blood vessels which become clogged with fat and the flow of blood is interfered with. Risk factors such as elimination of snacks in school canteens can be controlled so as to reduce the craving for highly processed snacks. Over the years, nutritionists have developed quite a number of diets to eradicate the problem while other victims have used drugs which depress their appetites to control their eating habits. As the disease ha sled to loss of so many young lives, the government has incorporated a lot of resources in fighting the condition such as the recent campaign which seeks to eliminate high caloric foodstuffs in school canteens. With such moves being put in place by the government, obese teenagers can rest assured that within no time they will not have to worry about their physical appearance.
Obesity and characteristics of the affected population
Obesity is a medical condition whereby the body fat is in excess and it accumulates to the extent that it may have detrimental effect on the general health of the individual. Obesity is identified by calculating the body mass index of the individual (BMI) as well as the hips-waist ratio of the individual. This eliminates the conflict which is exemplified by most people who often refer to overweight people as being obese WHO (2003). Being overweight refers to weighing more than required for that particular age while obesity refers to the measurement of body fat expressed as a percentage of the total body weight in kilograms. The international standard of analyzing the two terms is the body mass index (BMI). Body mass index is calculated by dividing the average weight (in kilograms) of an individual by height in square meters. An eighteen year old with a body mass index of twenty five and above is considered overweight and an age mate with a body mass index of thirty and above is considered obese. Hence it is possible for one to be overweight without necessarily being obese while al obese people are overweight.
Although all age groups are prone to being obese, the disease usually has a more convenient onset during adolescence as this is the stage when the young adults are overly conscious about their physical appearance. It is also at this stage when the teenagers are trying out new things including new diets as well as adoption of a new lifestyleSinghal, Schwenk and Kumar (2008). Similarly, at this age the metabolism of the teenagers is very high hence there is a need to eat more food to supplement the body’s energy requirements. The activities which are presented for the affected population often leave the individual feeling hungry and thirsty such that they indulge in anything which is edible along their path. It so happens that in most instances the only food that is available is highly processed snacks and carbonated soft drinksSinghal, (2008).This age group is also characterized by the sense of belonging such that those who do not follow the crowd are seen as odd. The feeling associated with belonging to a certain cliché makes even the most disciplined youth to indulge in unhealthy living habits which are predisposing factors for obesity Singhal, (2008).
Major causes of obesity
The dietary component of teenagers has been known to have a remarkable influence on their ability to become obese. Research has shown that an average American teenager consumes 2678 calories of food per day is taken. A larger portion of the calories is obtained from increased uptake of carbohydrates obtained from sweetened beverages and snacks. The increased consumption of sweetened drinks in addition to increased access to fast-food joints have been attributed to increased obesity cases among the teenagers Singhal, (2008).Sedentary lifestyles have also been blamed for causing extreme cases of obesity especially among the young Americans. Use of mechanized transportation to and from school with a larger percentage of Americans driving their own cars leaves little room for exercising. Similarly, at home their parents could have invested in labor-costing technology such that all manual activities are handled by machines rather than assigning the task to the energetic teenagers. The children are therefore not exposed to an atmosphere which calls for physical exercise which is essential in burning excess calories Weight watchers international (2007).The other factor that has been closely linked to obesity is the genetic composition of the individual.
Polymorphism of various genes controlling metabolism as well as appetite in animals ahs been known to trigger obesity. A close interaction of the genes with favorable external stimulus creates an increased appetite for certain foods thus increasing the chances of developing obesity. Mutation of certain genes generally leads to all sorts of syndromes such as the Cohen syndrome which is a predisposing factor towards being obese WHO (2003).The social class of the affected population is also a determinate of whether a certain individual will develop obesity. More cases of obesity are reported among American teenagers who come from high class families. Research has shown that teenagers who live in third world countries rarely develop obesity as compared to those who live in developed countries such as the United States Singhal, (2008).Individuals with psychological problems are usually treated using a variety of drugs some which may affect the metabolism as well as the appetite of the individuals. Such treatment increases the rate of consuming food and at the end of it all such people are presented by an increased consumption of high calorie foods Singhal, (2008).
Body systems affected by the disease
Excess body fat which is deposited around vital body organs usually causes them to fail in their normal functioning as well as inhibiting their full exploitation. Individuals who are suffering form obesity have been known to see simple tasks such as moving up the stairs as a form of torture. They find it being quite difficult to carry their body weight as well as some bodily movements such as moving their limbs WHO (2003).Obesity affects the general body systems in different ways such that the overall physiological and psychological state of the victim is affected. Excess accumulation of fat around blood vessels has been linked to increased heart diseases.
This is caused by deposition of fat around the vessels such the overall capacity of blood is reduced thus applying more pressure to the walls of the circulatory system. Sometimes a lot of fat can be deposited around the heart such that the force required to pump blood out of the heart is interfered with hence leading to inefficiency and in extreme cases the individual get a cardiac arrest WHO (2003). Obesity often interferes with the absorption of as well as the assimilation of certain minerals in the body thus leading to ailments associated with deficiency. Teenagers who are obese are more likely to develop type II diabetes as compare to those who have normal weight. The close linkage is associated with failure of the pancreas to release insulin due to clogging of the ducts with fat deposits Singhal, (2008).
Risk factors that can be controlled
Some of the risk factors of obesity that can be controlled include modification of the sedentary lifestyle and adopting a life full of frequent exercises. Parents should be in the forefront of creating an environment which increases physical activities which help in burning the extra calories. Schools should incorporate programs which increase physical; activities especially during leisure time such that instead of the students heading for the canteen they advance towards the playing ground Weight watchers international (2007).The government should increase awareness on the health implications brought about by consumption of sweetened beverages as well as highly processed snacks. School canteens should be encouraged told stock fresh fruits as well as nutritious such that the students do not end up adding storing unnecessary fat in their bodies(McKlvie, 2010).
Risk factors which cannot be controlled
The genetic composition of the teenage cannot be modified or controlled to prevent obesity as it may involve a lot of unethical activities in addition to being expensive such that most patients cannot afford it. However, the environmental stimuli can be inhibited such that it does not present the conducive environment for the occurrence of obesity.The social class may prove to be quiet a challenge to control as it is sort of inherited from ones parents. Unless the lifestyle of individuals in that particular social class is modified or changed to adapt healthy loving habits it is quiet difficult to control obesity as a result of the social class (McKlvie, 2010).
Evolution of treatment options in obesity
In the 6th century, medical professionals used to recommend more manual work as well as increased physical activities as a remedy for obesity. People who were lazy were more prone to being obese such that obesity was seen as a punishment to make them work and after the punishment, all was okay for them. Reduction in the food portions served to obese individuals was also a common remedy although it failed terribly as people who ate small portions of food became hungry quiet easily hence they ended up eating more (McKlvie, 2010).However, it is not until the 21st century when pharmaceutical companies started developing drugs which have improved the treatment methods involved in treating obesity. Nutritionists have also develop quite a number of diets which are aimed at helping the patients reduce their intake of certain foods which are mainly made from carbohydrates while at the same time increasing consumption of vegetables as well as fruits. Surgery has also been incorporated in the treatment of obesity with most people opting for liposuction as opposed to exercises and diets Singhal, (2008).
Current treatment methods
Dieting has been developed to promote weight loss such that the affected individual is able to choose from quite a variety of low-fat foods containing little carbohydrates as well as consumption of food which has low calories. Most of the diets usually contain low fats and carbohydrates while the proteins component usually high. Diets usually result in starving the body hence reducing the general body weight. Diets have been known to produce quite diverse side effects on individuals who follow their rules such that constant medical care is required (McKlvie, 2010).
Physical exercise is a form of therapy in which the obese individual indulges in at certain designated times at specific intervals in order to make their muscles consume energy which is derived from the excess fats and sugars that are consumed. Physical exercise may involve normal walking or running as is applicable in the level of obesity Weight watchers international (2007).This form of therapy affects the macronutrients balance such that the body is able to use most of the stored fats in the form of energy required to carry out the exercises. Other than engaging in the exercise during weekends and in the evenings, most institutions discourage their members against subsequent use of the elevator and they are asked to use stairs (Weight watchers international (2007).
Weight loss programs
These are rules and guidelines set up by obese individuals as away of controlling their weight through promotion of healthy lifestyles and change in diets such that only food that’s is nutritional is consumed. An example of people who have come together to fight obesity are the Weight Watchers based in Brooklyn who recommend that obese people should practice consuming small meals as well as increased participation in physical exercise at least every day. The group believes that incorporation of more individuals sharing the same problem will motivate more people to control their weight (Weight watchers international 2007).
The pharmaceutical industry has developed two drugs which are used by obese people to fight the disease in various capacities. One of them is Xenical which reduces the capacity of the small intestines to absorb fats thus they are egested before undergoing complete digestion. The other option is Meridia an anti-depressant which reduces an individual’s appetite hence they consume less food (McKlvie, 2010).
Surgical removal of excess fat is the latest development in the treatment of obesity whereby the individual undergoes bariatric surgery. Laparoscopic procedures are also carried out where the individuals stomach is reduce such that after the operation it will be holding less food (McKlvie, 2010).
Future treatment options based on current research
More obese people are opting for control measures which do not have adverse effects on their eating patterns such that most of them would prefer to incorporate medicinal treatment rather than indulge physical exercise. Consequently, research has shown that more people prefer surgical removal of excess body fat as compared to all other treatment options WHO (2003).
Current programs to curb the disease
The American government has incorporated several programs to curb the disease with the recent one being prohibition of selling high calorie snacks in school canteens. The program has achieved quiet a large following with many parents and teachers forming a lager percentage WHO (2003).
Obesity is a major disease which causes huge losses of life each year in America and therefore it is upon the government to come up with more persuasive ways of controlling as well as maintaining it.
McKlvie, R. (2010), The Mayo Clinic Diet for Healthy Weight Loss: A Realistic Program for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off. Retrieved on May 29, 2010 from: eight-loss-methods.suite101.com/.../the-mayo-clinic-diet-for-healthy- weight-los
Singhal,V., Schwenk, F.W. and Kumar, S. (2008), Evaluation and Management of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity
WHO (2003), Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic disease. Report by WHO/FAO expert consultation. WHO technical Report Series 916
Weight watchers international (2007), “research has shown that people who attend Weight Watcher meetings lose three times more weight than those who try to loose weight on their own”. Retrieve don May 29, 2010 form: www.weightwatchers.com.