Data gathered for 2015-2016 by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that America’s obesity rate is currently near 40%, the equivalent of 93.3 million people. Despite increased awareness and the health-related risks, obesity rates continue rising.
Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of extra body fat and is considered a disease with multiple causes. Excess fat can build up and cause calcifications (hardening of tissue or other materials in the body) that have damaging and potentially life-threatening consequences. One major cause for America’s high obesity rate is eating unhealthy foods. An unhealthy diet consists of an abundance of processed red meat, fried food, butter, dairy, eggs, and sugar. In addition to the foods we eat, there are genetic, physical, and mental factors that contribute to a person becoming obese. Some lifestyle factors like work, stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation can contribute to weight gain. Even stress about weight could contribute to further weight gain. One of the most agreed upon factors among healthcare providers for managing weight is to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Most commonly, a combination of insufficient exercise and a failure to eat a healthy diet leads to obesity. For obese individuals, seeking guidance from a physician can help them manage a healthy weight and way of living.
Physicians help to treat obesity and related harmful effects. There are more than 50 health-related conditions associated with obesity. Most commonly, patients struggling with obesity will feel a decrease in energy and become more tired as they become unable to bear their own body weight. Even a 5-10% weight-loss can decrease the number of health-related conditions in an obese person. According to The State of Obesity data
North Carolina is ranked 20th in America for high obesity with a rate of 32.1%. North Carolina’s obesity rate has trended up in the last three decades, rising from approximately 12% in 1990 to more than 30% in 2017. Rates climbed fastest and most steadily until the early 2000s. In the last 10 years, rates have fluctuated as physicians began taking greater efforts to educate patients on the importance of preventing obesity.
Each individual will respond differently to obesity treatments, so there are many options physicians may recommend for controlling obesity. Those who battle with maintaining a healthy weight can seek help from professionals, such as a family physician, nutritionist or exercise specialist.
Byline: Katey Yang, Pre-Med Student Intern, Sampson Regional Medical Center
About the contributor:
Katey Yang is from Clinton, NC, and is a 2017 graduate of Clinton High School. She attends Tufts University with studies in cognitive and brain science. After college, she plans to attend medical school with dreams of becoming a pediatric plastic surgeon. She has a passion for helping others and working with kids and believes a career in pediatric medicine will be a good fit. Her research related to malformations in children has specifically interested her in pediatric plastic surgery.