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The Obesogenic Environment and its Contribution to the Development and Management of Adult Obesity - Essay Example

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Obesity has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon,with its levels in certain lower-income and developing countries growing as high as,if not higher than,those in the developed countries.There are several factors that contribute to this worldwide trend…
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The Obesogenic Environment and its Contribution to the Development and Management of Adult Obesity
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Download file to see previous pages There have also been marked shifts in patterns of physical activity both at work and during recreation.In the UK, the incidence of overweight and obesity has been increasing dramatically, which is associated with, apart from increased workload, a 30 percent increase in prescription rates (Campbell 2003:73). Obesity, in England, has grown by almost 400% in the last 25 years with around two-thirds of the population now being overweight or obese. On present trends, obesity will soon overtake smoking as the greatest cause of premature death. It will put enormous strains on the health service, perhaps making a publicly funded health service unsustainable (House of Commons 2004:7). Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a major health problem with an increased risk of nearly 13 percent for obese women, which is more than that for men (Campbell 2003:74). Obesity is the underlying factor for hyperglycaemia, hypertension, hyperlipdaemia and cardiovascular disease. Obesity is also associated with angina, gall bladder disease, ovarian and colonic cancer, osteoarthritis, respiratory disease and stroke. Increase in BMI increases the rate of risk for these diseases. On average, those with obesity-related health issues die nine years early (Campbell 2003:75).
Obesogenic environment
Obesogenic environment refers to an environment that is conducive to gaining, and not losing, weight. It refers to the role environment plays in determining the nutrition and physical activity level of the population (Jones et al. n.d.:5). "A generation is growing up in an obesogenic environment in which the forces behind sedentary behaviour are growing, not declining" (House of Commons 2004:7). The trends are so rapid that what used to be overweight or obese would soon be regarded as normal.
Environmental influences on diet involve availability and access to foods for consumption at home and as takeaways and restaurants. The major factors related to food that contribute to obesity include high energy density, high fat, portion size, sweet-fat combination, sugary drinks, etc. along with snacking, TV viewing and others. Children growing up without adequate knowledge in preparing healthy meals, reduced time spent for preparing meals and increased consumption of alcohol are other noteworthy factors leading to obesity (House of Commons 2004).
Overweight or obese children are likely to become overweight or obese adults; overweight and obese adults are more likely to bring up overweight or obese children - a vicious circle. Children grow up without access to healthy food choices, having to resort to unhealthy foods provided by the vending machines installed in schools. A study was conducted by FSA in 12 secondary schools. All the 12 schools installed vending machines containing healthier drinks, such as milk, water and fruit juice, and approximately 70,000 healthier drinks were bought during the 24-week duration of the trial (www.food.gov.uk cited in House of Commons 2004:37). This can lead one to the conclusion that if given the choice, children can and do make healthy choices. However, the study, having been undertaken over a short duration, need not guarantee that the result would sustain over a longer term when the novelty fades out. Nevertheless, the school environment can be made use of in shaping the dietary patterns of an individual.
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