Obesity is an issue of major global concern. For one, health practitioners globally acknowledge that obesity is a major risk factor for increased illness and death. Most notably, it is a major risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, various cancers, chronic diseases like kidney and liver disease, osteoarthritis, depression, and sleep apnea.

Rising Cases of Obesity

Globally, obesity is on the rise. From 1975 to 2016, global obesity levels have tripled. The data that out of 1.9 billion adults who are overweight, around half of them are obese. Besides that, around 40 million children were under 5 years that were obese as of 2019. It shows that the obesity problem could end up becoming a multi-generation problem that afflicts the world for decades to come. There is thus no doubt that the world is facing an obesity crisis.

Millions of people will no doubt suffer from major health consequences for years to come if something is not done. It will place huge pressure on healthcare systems, which might not be able to cope. While obesity is rising globally, it is most prevalent in Europe and the developing world. By 2025, it is estimated that 18% of the global male population and 21% of the global female population will be obese if something is not done. Due to the inherent hormonal differences, women are more likely to be obese than men.

Impact of Obesity

Data from various studies conducted between 1995 and 2008 shows that obesity has a huge economic impact. According to researchers, the lifetime economic impact of obesity is huge. By intervening early to reduce the issue, it could help to reduce the economic impact that the health condition has. When assessing the lifetime medical costs amongst obese people, it was found that costs rose with a rise in BMI.

Another impact of obesity was on quality-changed life years. It was found that men lost 1.9 million quality-change life years while women lost 3.4 million quality-changed life years from being obese. People suffering from obesity have a lower quality of life due to health problems compared to normal-weight people. It has also been found that avoiding obesity, could lead to better economic outcomes for individuals.

If measures are not identified and implemented to deal with obesity, it will put a major strain on healthcare systems globally. A good example of the dangers of an overstretched healthcare system has been demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. In nations where the hospitals were already dealing with other patients, new temporary hospitals, which cost a lot of money, have had to be built. In other places, older patients have simply been turned away due to lack of capacity.

If the obesity issue is not dealt with early, it will make it harder to deal with health emergencies in the future. It will make healthcare a huge expense on the economy while also increasing the mortality rate.

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