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Obesity as a Problem in the United States


Numerous studies have concluded that the rate of obesity among children and adults in the United States has been on an increasing trend over the past several decades. This can be attributed to many factors, including the eating habits of the population, lifestyle choices concerning exercise, and genetic factors. Obesity is one of the issues that have been haunting the American health care system because it is associated with the increase of cases of various diseases. These include heart-related disorders, diabetes, and eating disorders among people.

Despite the extensive effort applied by the government through the public health care sector to educate the population about obesity and its preventive measures, current data reveals that there has been a stagnation of obesity rates in the majority of the states, whereas several states continue recording higher rates of the issue. This reveals that, indeed, obesity is a problem in the United States.

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Current data reveals that the rate of obesity in the population of 25 states in the US lies at 30%. Four states have an obesity rate of 35%, which is significantly high based on the fact that the national rate of obesity is estimated to be around 20% (“Obesity Rates & Trends.” par. 2). This implies that more than a third of the adults in the United States are obese, and numerous cases turn into serious obesity. There are disparities in the obesity rates based on ethnicity and race.

Obesity and Disparities in Health Outcomes

More cases of obesity are diagnosed among Hispanic and Black women and men than White women and men in the United States (Ogden 2294). This is an indication that one of the factors contributing to disparities in health outcomes among different racial and ethnic groups in the United States is obesity. The authorities in the health care system in the United States have been grappling with health disparities for decades, and obesity is one of the prevailing factors that have led to continuous differences in health outcomes among the communities in the nation. This makes obesity one of the greatest challenges to the improvement of health outcomes in the United States.

There are groups of researchers that have claimed that obesity is not a problem in the United States because many adults have identified the risks associated with the condition and they are working toward reducing their weight. Current studies support this opinion by highlighting that some states have stagnated in obesity trends, especially among men. However, Flegal et al. (2290) conducted a longitudinal study that revealed that the rate of obesity in men has slowed down, but it has increased exponentially among women in the United States. Reports have shown that 40% of American women are obese (Fox par. 1).

Obesity in Children

Current data reveals that approximately 17% of teenagers in the United States are obese (Fox par. 3). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five children aged 6-19 has obesity. This is a major problem in society because children with obesity face a higher risk of developing other chronic health issues. For instance, obesity in children has been linked to the increase in developing asthma, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Additionally, obesity is one of the factors associated with bullying because children are teased because of their weight.

This normally leads to social isolation and behavioral disorders emanating from low self-esteem and depression. It is also apparent that obesity is a problem in the United States because children with obesity grow up into adults with obesity, and they are likely to face serious diseases such as some types of cancer (“Child Obesity Facts.” Par. 5). Additionally, when obese adults become parents they are likely to raise children with obesity because of the lifestyle choices they make, such as poor eating habits and lack of regular exercise.

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According to the American Heart Association, obesity has overtaken drug abuse and smoking as the leading health concern among parents because the number of children with obesity has tripled over the past several decades (“Overweight in Children.” Par. 1). Obesity is a problem because children are now developing diseases that were traditionally associated with older ages. For instance, type II diabetes and high cholesterol levels are some of the diseases whose cases have increased among children in the modern world.

Becoming obese at an early age is one of the factors that are likely to reduce life expectancy in the nation. Children with obesity are likely to develop disorders that require long-term management, and in such cases, the majority of the children die in their adult years rather than in old age. The table below shows data on children with obesity in the United States (“Overweight in Children.” Par. 1).

Male Female
Non-Hispanic Whites 17.5% 14.7%
Non-Hispanic Blacks 22.6% 24.6%
Mexican Americans 28.9% 18.9%

Critical Analysis of the Issue

Some critics might claim that obesity is not a big issue in the United States because of the stagnation in statistics associated with the rates of obesity in most states, but they fail to consider the fact that the population is growing. This implies that 20% of a small population and 20% of a larger population are not the same. One of the implications of obesity is that the government will continue spending more on the provision of health care services to manage preventable diseases. Lifestyle-related diseases are gradually becoming one of the major causes of death in health care facilities, and their roots can be traced down to obesity. Additionally, it is apparent that as the health care budget increases, the implication is that a larger percentage of taxpayer money will go into the health care budget. This will translate into the reduction of other budgets associated with national development.

Obesity costs the government about $190 billion annually from paying different bills associated with the condition (“Understanding the American Obesity Epidemic.” Par. 3). Medical bills for complications arising from obesity and the resultant lifestyle disorders are bound to increase in the future if the current trend continues. Moreover, a nation where more than one-third of the population is obese is likely to have a lower ability to increase its gross domestic product. Many obese people are being confined to their homes because of difficulties with mobility, and this implies that more people will continue getting out of the labor force. Companies will be forced to outsource labor or to meet the high cost of providing health insurance for their employees.


More adults and children have been diagnosed with obesity, despite the government putting efforts to educate members of society on the requirements for adopting healthy lifestyles. Obesity has numerous causes, but its effects on society should raise the concern of Americans. Not only will an increase in obesity rates lead to lower productivity of the society, but it will also foster a larger budget for the government to pay for medical bills associated with disorders linked to obesity. Obesity is a major problem in American society, and there is a need for the people to start taking it more seriously because it can jeopardize the future of the American society, concerning health outcomes and economic productivity.

Works Cited

“Child Obesity Facts.” CDC2017.

“Obesity Rates &Trends.” State of Obesity2017.

“Overweight in Children.” American Heart Association2014,

“Understanding the American Obesity Epidemic.” American Heart Association, 2017.

Flegal, Katherine M., et al. “Trends in Obesity among Adults in the United States, 2005 to 2014.” JAMA, vol. 315, no. 21, 2016, pp. 2284-2291.

Fox, Maggie. “America’s Obesity Epidemic Hits a New High.” NBC News, 2016,

Ogden, Cynthia L., et al. “Trends in Obesity Prevalence among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1988-1994 through 2013-2014.” JAMA, vol. 315, no. 21, 2016, pp. 2292-2299.