The development of Obesity



The obesity epidemic is a problem in many countries and will require many methods to control it. Food manufacturers must work together with the government to provide more information of the effects of obesity. This has been a proven method to work in prevention of a disease. Since it has been the law in the UK to display warning sings on cigarettes about the affects of smoking cigarettes and tobacco sales have been down. If a similar law was put into place for high fat/sugar foods then this might decrease the amount of obesity. The current methods to reduce obesity are mainly based on educating young children on the effects of obesity, these appear to be working in the UK as there is a slight decrease in the amount of obese adults. I believe that the way to effectively control the obesity epididemic is to educate children at a young age and include warning labels on food similar to the ones on tobacco products. This should lower the amount of children becoming obese adults as they have been told from a young age about making the right choices. The labelling will help everybody to make the right choices when choosing food. If both these are done the obesity rates could be lowered slightly but in the future if high sugar/fat food is more easily available and convenient than the rate of obesity will continue to rise.

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Risk Factors

There are many risk factors associated with becoming obese. Some of these include genetics and medication. However, I do not think these are the most significant factors for the disease. I think the most significant factors are eating too much of the wrong food and not exercising enough. This is because this is the main cause many people become obese and there is proven scientific facts to prove this where as how genetics play a factor in weight gain is not fully researched or understood yet.


Diet and exercise is the main form of treatment for obesity. This may be given to a patient by a doctor or just something the person wants to do for themselves. There are many different diets which claim to help people loose weight fast. However, these are often unhealthy and damage the body more as well as causing weight gain when the patient eats normal again. This is sometimes because the body’s metabolism slows down and cannot digest food as efficiently as it used to. This causes more weight gain when the persons begins eating normally. The most proven and best way of loosing weight is by a healthy diet which is balanced in all food groups and exercise. In total the amount of energy burned needs to be more than the energy input for the person to loose weight. When the body needs energy it will use the free fatty acids from fat cells. Another treatment for obesity which is able to be done on the NHS but as a last resort is weight loss surgery. These include gastric bypass and gastric band. These are very expensive so they are used as an absolute last resort on the NHS. The patient must also remember that their diet will dramatically change because of it and if they do not change their diet then the weight loss surgery will not work.

Gastric Bypass: This works by rerouting the foods path so that the stomach is only a small pouch. This makes the patient feel full quicker and also stops them being able to eat lots of food as their stomach can only digest small amounts at a time and if they over eat they will be sick. This treatment has many complications though. As well as all the complications due to abdominal surgery such as hernias and scarring there are complications which are caused by the gastric bypass. Some of these include leakage inside the body due the stomach and small intestine not forming a seal after being stapled together.

Gastric Band: A gastric band is another form of weight loss surgery. A band which is filled with fluid is placed around the top of the stomach. This stops how much food can be passed through the stomach and digested at once which lowers food intake and promotes weight loss. Again there is risk factors associated with abdominal surgery and the risk of increased acid reflux and the adjustable band leaking. Both these surgeries have been proven effective only when the patient follows the strict diet that goes along with them. A problem with both surgeries includes excess skin left over from drastic weight loss which can leave the patient with lower self esteem than they had before.

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Affect on Population

Obesity has a huge impact on public health and population. More money is needed to be spent on a preventable disease which means less money is available for non preventable diseases. 8% of the total public health budget is spent on obesity. This could lead to an increase in taxes as well and this affects the whole population. Company's must be prepared to accommodate for obese people, car manufacturers must now make seatbelts stronger and hospital beds must be available to accommodate obese patients.

Obesity can have an effect on family as well. It is shown that children with obese parents are more likely to be obese themselves due to picking up bad habits from their parents. As well as this children may have to be carers for their parents if they become bed bound. Carers are needed for obese patients who are not able to leave their bed due to the strain on their bones and are unable to preform everyday tasks such as bathing and cooking. This can affect the child in many ways. They may not focus on school because they are always caring for their parent instead of working, they could feel isolated from social activities and when they are old enough they may not be able to go to work because they will be caring for their parents.

Global Spread of Obesity

This map shows the population of obese adults in each country. There is no data for a lot of the country but we can see that highly westernised countries have a higher population of obesity. But we can also see that poorer countries like Mexico have an even higher rate of obesity. This can be due to poverty meaning that people cannot afford healthy foods as processed high fat foods are much cheaper and more convenient. Westernised countries have more fast food restaurants and TV food advertisements which can encourage obesity. From this map it is easy to see that money has a huge effect on the population of obese adults. We do not see a high obesity rate in non-westernised societies. One reason for this could be because of the nature of the work that different societies do. Westernised countries tend to have a lot of city and office work available which requires little physical activity, this combined with the higher amount of fatty food available causes a lot of obesity. In non westernised cultures farming work is what a lot of people do and they have to walk for food and water meaning there is no chance of them becoming obese. The poorer westernised conutries do not have as high standard health care so obese patients are even more at risk of becoming ill with something else.

Mortality and Morbidity Rates UK

400,000 deaths each year in the UK are down to obesity or obesity related illness and 64% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.

This chart shows the increase in obesity rates within the UK over 16 years. It shows an overall increase and then a slight decrease in 2009. This may be due to campaigns to educate the population on the affects of obesity. The increase is due to a number of factors including higher availability of fast food.

In 1995 0.11% of deaths had obesity as the cause of death on the death certificate this raised to 0.23% in 2006. Although this sounds like a small amount this not show the deaths caused by obesity related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. In 1990 300,000 deaths in the UK where caused by an obesity related disease and 400,000 by 2010. This shows a dramatic increase in number of obesity related deaths again due to many factors such as fast food being available and an overall increase in portion size.


Education is one way the government is using to try and prevent people from becoming obese in the first place. Activities have been added to the school curriculum so people know about the risk of obesity from an early age which will lower the risk of them becoming overweight as adults. Laws have also been put into place. Food manufactures are not aloud to aim TV adverts advertising high sugar/fat food at children and must also make nutritional values of calories, sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt clearly on their packaging so people know exactly what they are eating although this not a legal requirement the government recommends it and 450

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Excess glucose can then be stored in the fat cells around the major organs and in the fat cells within the arteries. Blood clots can form as a result and these can cause stroke and heart attack. A deposit of fat is damaged within the artery, this means white blood cells and clotting factors rush to the site of damage and cause the blood iin the area too clot, the clot becomes the size of the artery and the blood cannot flow through.


Fat is in everyone's body and it is useful for insulation, energy and protection of vital organs. Most fat in our body’s is found in the subcutaneous layer of our skin. When we eat glucose excess is stored as fat. We always have the same number of fat cells in our body. What changes when we gain weight is the size of each fat cell which depends on how much energy is stored inside. The energy inside is stored as free fatty acid. When there is no glucose in the body to make our cells function free fatty acid will be released into the blood stream from the fat cells and be used a form of energy. However, insulin in the body stops free fatty acid from being absorbed by cells. Insulin is what allows glucose to be absorbed, so when we eat insulin is produced and glucose is distributed to the cells which need it and excess is stored in the fat cells. Insulin takes longer to leave the body than glucose so we may feel hungry but our body will not be able to use the free fatty acids stored in the fat cells due to insulin still being in the body. Because we are hungry we will eat something which will raise our glucose levels but then also raise our insulin levels so the glucose is absorbed but more excess glucose is stored in the fat cells again. This means to not gain weight we must not eat too much or the excess will be stored and it will be difficult to remove again. To burn off the excess fat there must be little insulin in the blood so the free fatty acids are able to be absorbed. This is why people find it difficult to loose weight.

Development of Obesity

Obesity is not something which develops and worsens overtime unless something is done about it. If a person regular exceeds over the amount of energy they burn off they will continue to gain weight. Fat doesn’t just deposit where we can see it, it can also deposit in places such as around the heart and inside the arteries and this will worsen overtime. As the patient becomes more obese it becomes more difficult for them to exercise and this can cause them to gain even more weight which will worsen the problems. Overtime the heart will have to pump blood further around the body which will cause future heat problems.

What is obesity? Obesity is when excess fat is stored around the body and eventually has a negative impact on a persons health. This is measured using body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measurement of weight and height. It is used to calculate healthy weight at a height. However, this cannot always be accurate as muscle weighs more than fat. When a person has a BMI of over 30 they are considered obese.

Effects? Being overweight may not have many effects to begin with but the effects will become noticeable at the time. Obesity can effect many of the bodys organ system including the cardiovascular system, respiratory system and muscular skeletal system. People who are obese will generally be out of breath quickly, feel tired and have back and joint pains. These are the short term effects of obesity.

Long term effects are much worse and include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Obesity can also have psychological effects on the patient such as low self esteem, low confidence and feeling isolated from people. This can result in depression and anxiety problems.

Causes? Excess fat being stored is due to taking in more energy than is being burnt off. The body does not need it so it stores it. Eating too much and not exercising will cause this. Overtime weight will be gained and this will effect how the body functions. There are a few diseases and medication which can cause people to be These include: - Cushing’s Syndrome

- Underactive Thyroid

- Corticosteriods