During recent years, the topic of obesity has increased to the point that many are starting to call it an epidemic. Does the obesity problem constitute an epidemic? What is considered obese? These are two important questions to consider.
Obesity is the term used when talking about someone who has an excessive amount of fatty tissue. It’s often determined by the person’s body mass index (BMI), though there are other methods for evaluation. The BMI is based upon a weight-to-height ratio with a BMI of 30+ equaling obese. Another technique is through the measuring of the waist. Men are considered at risk once their waistline exceeds 40 inches, and women are at risk at 35 inches or more.
A big issue is that obesity has a strong link to health conditions and mortality. Obesity is not a simple cosmetic problem: it is a serious health hazard. According to WebMD, someone who is 40 percent overweight is considered twice as likely to die at a younger age. Obesity is linked to several serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart troubles and some types of cancer.
Statistics have been mounting over the years with the numbers of obese people, thus prompting the term “epidemic.” Is this the right term? The dictionary definition of an epidemic is that of a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease, or undesirable phenomenon, in a community. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a map showing an increase in the percent of United States’ obese adults. By 2007, every state on the map is colored in a way that shows that 20 percent of the state’s population or higher is considered to be obese.
While some may disagree with the term “epidemic” in reference to obesity, one thing is clear: it is a serious problem.