Obesity is directly and indirectly linked to various medical conditions
When talking about obesity, the first thing that comes to my mind is the medical consequences of obesity that are both diverse and serious in their impact on a person’s health. The American Obesity Association has come up with an extremely long list of conditions that are directly or indirectly linked to extra weight. These conditions include arthritis, birth defects, various types of cancer, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), daytime sleepiness, chronic venous insufficiency, gallbladder disease, diabetes, gout, heat disorders, hypertension, liver disease, and many others. Obesity depresses the immune reaction of the body to infection thus increasing the risk of infectious diseases. Severe obesity can depress menstrual activity in women, put them at risk for disorders during pregnancy, lead to problematic deliveries, and birth defects. The list, which is far from complete, demonstrates connection between being heavily overweight and development of virtually all conditions that are major death causes nowadays, with the exception of AIDS. This brings one to the tentative conclusion that overcoming obesity could seriously improve life quality and health.
Obesity is linked to physical health
Obesity is not only linked to physical health – recent studies show the connection to mental health as well. Although a direct link between obesity and mental disorder has not been established, researchers point out that one can cause the other and vice versa. Individuals whose weight is concentrated mostly around their waist are in a risk group for developing the so-called metabolic syndrome that accompanies weight accumulation and is linked to depression. Such people choose to “console themselves with ‘comfort food’, which is usually high in fat, sugar, and calories because they are anxious, lonely, angry, or suffering from low self-esteem” (Harvard Health Publications). Some particular types of depression include symptoms such as lethargy and overeating. Besides, obesity can cause depression indirectly: after it triggers poor health condition, this illness leads to depression. Obese people also do not benefit from the positive psychological impact of exercise, which aggravates their risk for developing depression.
Obesity is an increasing cause of death
In the US, physical inactivity and obesity can soon be expected to lead as the cause for human deaths, overtaking smoking that remains the primary cause of avoidable deaths with 435,000 cases in 2000. This compares to 400,000 deaths caused by physical inactivity and extra weight, and the trend will soon exacerbate as “fewer Americans are smoking but more are gaining weight” (Leonard). As unhealthy diets are becoming more widespread, epidemic of obesity affects more and more Americans. The study of how obesity affects mortality conducted in Oxford, has found that people with BMN slightly above normal die three years earlier, while people with severe obesity live 10 years less than they could. Obesity is never good, especially if one is obese at the age of 20. Studies have found, that teenagers with obesity are more than twice more likely to die prematurely, before age 55, of illness or a self-inflicted injury than teenagers with normal weight. Moreover, even babies whose mothers are obese while pregnancy are at risk of death or serious health problems. If current trends continue, obesity will become the leading cause of preventable deaths very soon.
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American Obesity Association. AOA Fact Sheets. Web. 3 April 2011.
Boseley, Sarah. “Obese Die up to 10 Years Early, Study of a Million People Finds.” The Guardian 18 March 2009. Web. 3 April 2011.
“Effects of Obesity and Exercise: Is Obesity a Mental health issue? The Harvard Mental Health Letter investigates.” Harvard Health Publications: Press Release. (2004). Web. 3 April 2011.
Leonard, Mary. “US Launches a Fight Against Obesity”. Boston Globe 10 March 2004: A5. Print.
“Obesity Surge among Conceiving Women Puts 100,000 Babies at Risk in Later Life.” Daily Mail 3 April 2011: 5. Print.
Rabin, Roni Caryn. “Child Obesity Risks Death at Early Age, Study Finds.” New York Times 10 February 2010: A22. Print.