Growing Obesity Cases in America

Growing Obesity Cases in America

The rising cases of obesity and overweight in the United States of America, particularly among adults, is a grave public threat. Public health experts opine that the problem of obesity has become more severe than the opioid epidemic.  According to a report by researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been a significant rise in obesity rates over the past decade. The report indicates that the rates of obesity among American adults rose from 33.7% in 2007-2008 to 39.6% in 2015-2016 while cases of severe obesity increased from 5.7% to 7.7% during the same period (Blumenthal, and Servai).  These figures show a worrying trend and a looming public health crisis in the United States that must be managed before it spills.

According to this report, obesity is defined based on body mass index (BMI) where having a BMIO of 30 or higher is considered obese while a BMI of 40 or greater is a case of severe obesity. BMI is calculated using the weight and height of a person. For example, an adult weighing 203 pounds and standing 5’9” tall has a BMI of 30 while an adult of the same height weighing 271 pounds has a BMI of 40 and is considered a severe case of obesity. Obesity is a challenging public health to manage, given that it results from a amalgamation of causes and other contributing factors. It can result from personal traits such as behavior and genetics besides other societal contributing factors such as food.

Several behavioural factors can lead to obesity; however, they all revolve around diet patterns and physical activity. Weight gain results from an imbalance in energy from calories consumed from foods and beverages against the number of calories the body uses in physical activities such as playing or exercising (Cecchini, and Franco). Maintaining a healthy weight, therefore, requires a balance between the calories consumed and the calories the body uses in physical activities. Nutritionists advise that a healthy diet plan should consist of more whole grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, and high intake of water. This should be followed by at least two hours of moderate physical activity or an hour of intense physical activities daily.

Obesity also results in genetic factors; however, scientists have downplayed genes as a cause of the recent rise in obesity cases among American adults. They argue that changes in the genetic makeup of a population occur too slowly to be responsible for this epidemic. Genes are responsible for how people respond to changes in the environment. These changes can include extended periods of physical inactivity and high intake of calories, which can lead to overweight. There are also cases of inherited obesity within a family resulting from a particular variant of a single gene.

In summary, the rising cases of obesity among American adults have been linked with changes in lifestyle.  A study published by the World Health Organization found a correlation between the rise in the sale of fast foods and the corresponding increase in body mass index. This research explains the American obesity problem given that Americans are known for their appetite for fast foods. Another study by (Imes, and Lora) indicates that the average American diet is made up of 11% of fast foods. The same research also suggests that the effects of added sugar from soda and energy drinks are also a contributing factor to the American obesity scourge. It is not about how much Americans consume but rather what they consume.




Work Cited

Blumenthal, David, and Shanoor Servai. "Rising Obesity In The United States Is A Public Health Crisis". Commonwealthfund.Org, 2018,

Cecchini, Michele, and Franco Sassi. "Preventing obesity in the USA: impact on health service utilization and costs." Pharmacoeconomics 33.7 (2015): 765-776.

Imes, Christopher C., and Lora E. Burke. "The obesity epidemic: the USA as a cautionary tale for the rest of the world." Current epidemiology reports 1.2 (2014): 82-88.


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