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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Research Paper on Obesity - Obesity as Public Health Issue

Obesity is defined as the abnormal accumulation of body fat which is usually 20% or more of the ideal body weight of an individual.  It is determined by getting the body mass index (BMI) which is computed by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of a person’s height in mass.  Distinction should be made between the BMI of an adult and a BMI of a child.  Generally, however, a person with BMI of below 20 is considered underweight while those with BMI between 20 and 25 are considered of normal weight while those with BMI between 26 and 29 are considered overweight. Those with BMI of 30 or greater are considered obese and those with BMI greater than 40 are considered morbidity obese.

Obesity is a problem not merely about aesthetics and appearance.  Rather, obesity is an important issue because it is related to a person’s health.  Since obese individuals are more prone to chronic diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, gout, breathing problems, and even cancer, it is important that obesity should be avoided.  

It is important to state that obesity is a medical condition.  It is not a result simply from a person’s lifestyle.  Some people are obese not because they are lazy or untidy or depressed. In fact, some people are obese not because they like to eat fatty food or they simply like to eat too much.  There are patients who are afflicted with a medical condition that causes them to become overweight. This medical condition is known as the Prader-Willi Syndrome.  Individuals who have Prader-Willi Syndrome have excessive appetite, low muscle tone, emotional instability, immature physical development, and learning disabilities (Heaton-Harris 45).  Hypothyroidism is also a medical condition that can cause obesity.  It is a condition that affects the person’s thyroid which is responsible for the metabolism in the body.  

Considering their condition obese people should not be the object of discrimination or negative perceptions and biases. Though obesity is becoming a widespread problem tolerance for individuals who have weight issues did not increase (Kopelman 25).  In fact, weight bias appears to remain widespread and prevalent.
According to recent studies obese individuals are more likely to face discrimination in three important areas of their life.  These are education, employment and health care.  In these cases, the obese individual is treated differently as compared to individuals who are not obese.  

Obese individuals are already suffering from depression as a result of the bias, discrimination and unequal treatment.  In an effort to sell their products, Multi-national companies are excessively promoting that fat is ugly and slim is beauty.  There are documented cases of companies discriminating against fat and obese employees.  Studies also say that obesity is associated with negative perceptions such as laziness, lack of self-control, incompetent, unattractive and morally depraved.  These negative perceptions have negative social consequences for the obese individuals.  

Individuals should learn that obesity is not merely a lifestyle choice.  In most cases, obesity is a condition which the obese individual can do nothing about.  It is therefore important for us to learn to accept them and treat them as regular individuals.  Since they too are human beings they deserve to be treated with respect.  We should not laugh at them or make fun of them.  We should not make judgments on them.

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