Is Obesity A Problem?

Obesity is currently a huge problem in the United States; and just like people’s waistlines, it is growing. Currently, more than one-third of the adults in the United States are obese. At least 12 states have an obesity rate of more than 30%. In 2000, no state had an obesity rate of 30%. Not only is it a problem for adults, but the number of obese children is also growing. It is estimated that more than 12 million children are obese, and this is triple the number that were obese in 1980. Carrying excess weight is not good for the body. It makes it more difficult for the body to keep its internal environment relatively stable (process called homeostasis; see “What is Physiology?”) which can lead to a variety of problems.

It makes the heart work harder, it may contribute to the clogging of arteries (atherosclerosis), and it hinders the ability of the body to regulate sugar (glucose).  Specifically, obesity is an important contributor to type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attack), gallstones and gall bladder disease, gout, heart failure, certain types of cancer, and the inability to breathe normally during sleep (sleep apnea).  The cost of obesity was estimated to be more than $147 billion in 2008.  Obesity is an epidemic that has hit the US.