Causes and Effects of Obesity

The causes and effects of obesity are many and they are complex. There are several conditions that may lead to obesity. It is most commonly caused by a lack of physical activity coupled with excessive dietary calories and genetic susceptibility. There are a limited number of cases where it is due solely to genetics, medical reasons or psychiatric illness.

Obesity is associated with several diseases; one of the conditions most strongly linked to obesity is type 2 diabetes. It is believed that 64 % of diabetes cases in men and 77% of the cases in women are linked to excess weight.

Other diseases associated with obesity include cardiovascular diseases, difficulty breathing while sleeping, many types of cancer, asthma, chronic lung disease, poor mobility, and others. These are just a few of many diseases associated with obesity.

I addition to the health issues, the effects of obesity can be felt in different levels of society, from government, to corporation to individual. It can lead to social stigmatization and disadvantages in employment. Obese workers take more disability leave and have a higher absenteeism rate than their counterpart on average. This results in higher costs for employers and lower productivity.

The causes and effects of this condition are far reaching. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) press release in July 2009, the medical cost attributable to obesity is estimated at $147 billion annually. This includes payments by Medicaid, Medicare, private insurers, and prescription drug spending.

Today there is a greater awareness and monitoring of this condition at various levels, from parents paying more attention to what they feed their kids, to government initiating measures to change school menus to doctors addressing this issue earlier and with their patients.

The CDC recently initiated a Workplace Obesity Prevention Program designed to help employers respond to the obesity epidemic. Their website called “Lean Works” provides guidance on planning, and assessing an obesity prevention and control program among other things.

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