Put very simply, obesity is a disease. It’s a disease in which excess weight becomes dangerous and can lead to a host of medical conditions which are debilitating at best, and deadly at worst. These conditions can include:
- Type-2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure, and
- Sleep apnea
These diseases, in turn, can lead to chronic health issues including heart disease, fertility problems and even certain forms of cancer.
There’s no doubt that weight problems and obesity have become one of the great medical challenges of our lifetime. Obesity is one of the leading killers in the United States, causing a number of preventable follow-on conditions. Obesity rates have been trending steadily higher over the past 10 years and the CDC, or Centers for Disease Control, now estimates that over 30% of U.S. population is obese with over two-thirds of the U.S. population being overweight or obese. This problem has reached epidemic portions and the cost to both the individual and to society is staggering. A recent George Washington University Hospital study showed that the individual cost of obesity has skyrocketed to over $2,500 per year for a typical obese male and to over $4,500 per year for a typical obese female. Further, the cost of obesity in lost life as a result of serious illness and even death is immeasurable.
Obesity is an extreme cost to society. It is estimated that medical care costs of obesity hit about $147 billion per year in 2008.
Almost every state has seen an increase in obesity over the past several years, however, overall obesity rates do vary significantly. Some states including Colorado have very low obesity rates relatively speaking (under 20%), while others such as Mississippi have very high obesity rates (over 34%). For a more detailed listing of obesity rates throughout the country, have a look at state-by-state obesity rates.
Causes of Obesity
Treatments for Obesity
Childhood & Adolescent Obesity