Obesity one the most prevalent medical condition worldwide affecting almost all the people irrespective of their age groups. Obesity is thus regarded as an excess of the total body fat proportion (Biggs, 2006). Therefore an individual can be considered to be obese at situations whereby his or her weight is usually 20 percent more above what is regarded normal weight. However, the most apparent measure that determines whether someone has or does not have obesity is usually the body mass index (BMI). Moreover, an obese person is supposed to have a body mass index measure of above 30 (Steinbeck, 2009). In addition, this condition also varies with severity depending on the recorded body mass index. For instance, the morbid obesity is whereby someone has between 50 to 100 percent more weight over the normal one (Walls, et al. 2011). Moreover, there are also some individuals who have a body mass index of over 40 thus becoming sufficiently overweight which can otherwise severely affect their health as well as normal functioning of the body (Chuang and Lee, 2010).
However, the prevalence of obesity in Australia ranges between the children up to the adults but the rates among the children are quite alarming. Alternatively it is a bit problematic to measure obesity among the children mainly because of the differences that are experienced in developmental rates as well as maturation (Nichols, et al. 2011). Thus according to the surveys conducted by the National Nutrition Survey indicates that the obesity rate within the children is actually increasing at an alarming rate (Steinbeck, 2009). For instance, there were approximately 6.7 percent boys as well as 7.5 percent girls between the ages of 7 to 15 years who were obese in the year 2007, compared to 1.4 percent and 4.7 percent in boys as well as 1.2 percent and 5.5 percent in girls in the year 1985 and 1995 respectively within the same age bracket (Babooram, Mullan and Sharpe, 2010). This is an indication of the alarming rate at which obesity is spreading among the children in Australia. This is mainly because within a period of just ten years, that is, between 1985 and 1995 the obesity prevalence rate was more than triple within the children aged between 7 to 15 years (Biggs, 2006).
The Australian obesity prevalence among the adults is also an alarming one whereby according to the recent National Nutrition Survey it was noted that there is also an increase in the obesity prevalence rate (Nichols, et al. 2011). For instance, it was reported that an overall of 16.4 percent of the Australian adults population was obese, whereby among this population 17.8 percent and 15.1 percent were males and females respectively (Biggs, 2006). This indicate a disparity in the gender distribution of the condition within the Australian population (Steinbeck, 2009). Moreover, the rates continues to increase with an increase in age whereby older age groups recorded higher rates of obesity (Walls, et al. 2011). Those who were within the 55 to 64 age group recorded the highest rate of obesity both in males and females. A comparison of the National Nutrition Survey data indicates that there was a markedly increase of obesity prevalence between the year 1995 through 2005 whereby obesity rates in adults increased from 11.1 percent in 1995 to 16.4 percent in 2005 (Biggs, 2006).
An international obesity prevalence comparisons is always a bit difficult because data obtained is not obviously directly comparable (Chuang and Lee, 2010). Moreover, the recently available data on obesity prevalence indicates that the prevalence of obesity in the adult Australian population is lower compared to the prevalence in United States, but it is however similar to both Canada and United Kingdom; however it is far much above the prevalence in Japan. See figure below:
Figure 1: International comparison of obesity prevalence with Australian prevalence
Factors contributing to obesity
Obesity for a long period now has continued to be a public health concern in Australia as well as throughout the world (Walls, et al. 2011). However, despite this condition occurrence been a consequence of factors that are complex which may include increased consumption of calories combined with a decrease in physical activity, the obesity prevalence may also be greatly influenced by the environmental factors (Babooram, Mullan and Sharpe, 2010). For instance, in Australia foods a widely available and relatively in expensive which means there is a likelihood of high intakes on daily basis. On contrary most of the people have embraced sedentary lives whereby they are rarely involved in any physical activity (Steinbeck, 2009).
Apparently the most obvious cause of an increase in the obesity prevalence within the Australian population is usually poor eating habits (Walls, et al. 2011). For instance, the habit of increasing the intake of high energy foods is always an exposing factor which usually high energy intakes resulting to increased storage of the excess in form of fat tissue. However, the increased intake of finely refined as well as junk foods has also been a contributing factor especially among the young populations. However, these poor eating habits which involves taking more calories that someone can burn combined with sedentary life are the major causing factor leading to an increase in the prevalence of obesity in Australia (Babooram, Mullan and Sharpe, 2010).
Moreover, there are a number of people who usually thinks that to be fat is the only better way to show that you a well up hence they end up eating much which apparently leads to overweight and finally obesity. This issue of body image has also contributed to a great number of people developing obesity (Chuang and Lee, 2010). Diseases can also be a common cause of obesity but usually on different mechanisms. For instance, diseases that include hormonal problems such as the hypothyroidism which results into a decrease in the metabolism rate may lead to obesity due a reduction in the metabolism of the food taken in (Nichols, et al. 2011). Also depression is another condition which is likely to cause obesity mainly because a great number of people when depressed they mainly respond by eating much which is a likely cause of obesity. There are also some rare diseases that usually affects the brain leading to an increase in the eating rate which is also an apparent cause of obesity (Steinbeck, 2009). Moreover, some medications to these diseases such as steroid drugs as well as a variety of antidepressants may result to an excessive weight gain. There are also some genetic disorders that predispose people to obesity leading to the passing over of the disease down the inheritance line (Biggs, 2006).
However, a great number of people are usually not concerned about their health status thereby making them no to put emphasis on the health of their bodies. This is mainly because they ignore physical activity as one way of ensuring their body fitness. Active individuals always need more calories compare to the less active ones in order to maintain their weight (Babooram, Mullan and Sharpe, 2010). In addition, increased physical activity decreases appetite in obese people as well as increasing the ability of their bodies to be able to metabolize fats preferentially as the source of energy. Much of the increased prevalence of obesity is mainly as a result physical activity neglect by the majority (Walls, et al. 2011).
Implications of obesity
Obesity usually has a lot of to the life of the one who has already developed it. For instance, this condition usually acts as a prerequisite to a pack of a variety of other diseases thereby acting as an exposure (Walls, et al. 2011). Therefore there are several medical implications of obesity which may include an increased risk of diseases such as the diabetes, heart disease, stroke as well as certain forms of cancers (Chuang and Lee, 2010). Thus it is actually evident that this is a condition which is likely to lead to the development of many more diseases that has no cure but management ones. However, obesity also contributes to other various factors that are known to be risky such as the increased serum cholesterol, hypertension as well as physical inactivity due to the body size and weight which makes someone not flexible at all (Steinbeck, 2009). Therefore upon the development of the above mentioned condition it therefore increases the medical bills since some those risk factor conditions are just manageable but incurable. There also the aspect of restriction in life whereby due to reduction in flexibility an obese person will not be able to participate in many physical activities (Nichols, et al. 2011). Also in the attempts of reducing the obesity there are also food restrictions that must be imposed (Gard and Wright, 2005).
Social and economic impacts of increased prevalence of obesity
As obesity prevalence continues to increase in Australia there is also an increase in the social and economic impacts that are associated with their condition. For instance, this leads to an increase in the cost to taxpayers as well as the government (Walls, et al. 2011). This is mainly because due to the increase in the prevalence of this condition, the government has put in place policy measures and programs to intervene and at least provide a solution to the situation. These programs and policy implementation are also usually funded by the taxpayers money thereby putting more pressure on the available resources (Steinbeck, 2009). Moreover, due to the increased exposure of these people to other disease condition mentioned above it continues to strain the health system which is already burdened since there conditions also needs attention in the same health facilities (Nichols, et al. 2011).
Possible solutions to high obesity prevalence rates
There are preferably a variety of possible solutions to the high prevalence rates of obesity which can be embraced in order to provide a solution to the alarming rates of the obesity prevalence. However, the main solution through devising programs that are aimed at promoting healthy living (Chuang and Lee, 2010). This should involve promoting good eating habits and physical activity both of which are very crucial in finding a solution to this devastating menace (Walls, et al. 2011). Therefore there is need to ensure that an awareness has been raised to the entire of Australian population about obesity and the problems associated with which will make them to adopt more healthier lives. There will also be the need to have support programs for those who already have the disease in order to help them manage it more amicably (Gard and Wright, 2005). These programs would be very crucial in ensuring that the patients are capable of coping well with the situation in which they are in. Hence this would probably be very helpful in reversing their condition to a more healthy life (Nichols, et al. 2011).
Obesity, is without any doubt one of the most common disease condition within the Australian population in almost all the age groups (Gard and Wright, 2005). However, its prevalence has also tremendously increased in Australia as well as all over the globe with the highest rates been recorded in the developed countries. Moreover, there are a variety of factors that leads to obesity which include poor eating habits, diseases as well as a don’t care attitudes towards ones health among others (Steinbeck, 2009). However, despite the implications of obesity there are also apparent ways in which the prevalence can be solved thereby reducing its menace (Chuang and Lee, 2010).
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