The Obesity Epidemic and Heart Disease

by Kevin on January 30, 2009

Levels of obesity in the United States have now reached epidemic proportions. In 2004, none other than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared obesity to be the number one health threat facing America.
This condition is responsible for over 400,000 deaths each year, and is reflected in the over $122 billion in costs to the economy.

Obesity affects not only the individual’s body, but also has a psychological effect. People who are obese tend to have lower self-esteem than people who are at or around a normal weight. Their self-esteem plummets as the numbers on the scale go up. They may fall into a depression.

The health consequences to the obese individual’s body should not be discounted, either. Being significantly overweight can lead to a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, and heart disease. Obesity is not something that affects only adults, though. More than 15 percent of young people under the age of 18 can be classified as obese. This means that children are putting themselves at risk of developing these serious health conditions, and from a young age.

It may be too simple to blame these obesity figures on people simply putting too much food into their mouth. There are people living in developing countries who are clinically obese. You may be surprised to find that this condition also exists in places around the world where a significant portion of the population is malnourished.

An interesting theory contends that children who are born to mothers who are malnourished are predisposed in the womb to being obese. Not having enough to eat before birth may have an adverse effect on the fetus’ metabolism, in which it trains itself to conserve any fuel it ingests as a hedge against future periods of famine.

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