Obesity in South Carolina

Compared to other states, South Carolina is ranked 13th in obesity, and 8th in diabetes. Currently 31.7% of adults in South Carolina are obese, compared to just 12% in 1990. More and more people are becoming obese, not only in South Carolina but in the entire country, and America’s health is declining rapidly ("Adult Obesity in the United States").

Causes of Obesity

The root cause of obesity comes from simply consuming more calories than you burn, although there are more factors. In order to maintain a healthy weight, the energy that one takes in through calories in food and drinks must balance out with the energy that one’s body uses for daily activities. Over time, as one takes in more calories than one burns, weight gain occurs, leading to obesity. However this energy imbalance is not always obvious, and can be influenced greatly by one’s lifestyle, environment, and family history.

With more and more jobs requiring one to spend countless hours seated at a desk, many Americans are living inactive lifestyles, leading to weight gain and negative health effects. Heavy work schedules cause many to struggle to find the time and energy to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle.

The changing environment that many are surrounded by has also caused lifestyle changes. With a lack of neighborhood sidewalks and safe places like parks for recreation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find places for both adults and children to be active. Healthy foods are also becoming more difficult to access, being both more expensive and less readily available. Food advertising targeting children and teenagers have resulted in obesity developing at younger and younger ages, with an absence of media portrayal of the negative consequences of poor eating habits like large portions and quick, unbalanced meals.

Obesity can also be influenced by genes and family history, however these factors can be counteracted by a healthy lifestyle. Emotional factors like stress eating and preexisting health conditions like hypothyroidism, depression, and Cushing’s syndrome and some medicines can also negatively affect health.

Solutions

In order to reduce levels of obesity across South Carolina and America, it is important that good habits are developed early.

By improving access to and affordability of healthy food and drink options in communities, schools, and workplaces, it would be easier for people to make better diet decisions. Such as teaching more people about how to control their food portions and monitoring what they eat.

Exercise is also very important when it comes to preventing and reducing obesity. By creating more parks, trails, and sidewalks, communities can encourage more active lifestyles and active commuting.

The South Carolina Obesity Action Plan (2014-2019) outlines a plan to help prevent and reduce obesity over the next few years. It focuses on improving communities, worksites, healthcare, schools, and childcare to reduce obesity. In order to improve communities, this plan suggests providing both safe and easily accessible parks, sidewalks, and trails for members, encouraging a more active lifestyle. This plan also aims to improve access to local farmers markets to provide communities with healthy, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. This plan intends to improve the daily lives of working Americans by increasing access to healthy food and beverage options at worksites and schools, as well as increasing the availability of safe physical activity throughout the day. This plan also aims to improve access to and affordability of obesity treatments and assessments in order to both prevent and reduce obesity. This includes improved newborn practices encouraging women to breastfeed as well as partnerships helping patients access healthy diet and lifestyle resources.

Issues with Obesity Testing

  • There is a fallacy in the way that obesity rates are calculated in the United States. Most of the studies and test conducted to test obesity rely solely on BMI. The issue with this is that BMI does not take into account fitness but instead focuses only on the height and weight ratio of the tested individual.
  • The issues with only testing BMI becomes more drastic while conducting obesity tests on children. BMI becomes more misleading on children because it is a height to weight ratio and does not account for whether or not a child has gone through puberty or not.
  • To fix the inconsistencies with BMI it may be worth trying to implement more accurate obesity test such as waist/hip circumference measurements or body fat percentage calculations on a wider scale for more accurate testing and results.

Facts About Obesity

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2014.
  • Obesity is preventable.

Work Cited

"Adult Obesity in the United States." : The State of Obesity. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.

"Effects of Obesity." Stanford Health Care. Stanford Medicine, 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

"How Can Overweight and Obesity Be Prevented? - NHLBI, NIH." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 July 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

"Obesity and Overweight." World Health Organization. World Health Organization, June 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

"Obesity Causes." Obesity Prevention Source. The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

"Obesity In Children And Teens." Obesity In Children And Teens. American Academy of Child Adolescent Psyciatry, Apr. 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

"Obesity: MedlinePlus." Obesity. MedlinePlus, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.

Ratini, Melinda. "Medical Causes of Obesity." WebMD. WebMD, 21 July 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

"South Carolina." State Obesity Data, Rates and Trends: The State of Obesity. Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

"The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America." Trust for America's Health. Healthy Americans, Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

"Strategies to Prevent Obesity." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

"What Causes Overweight and Obesity? - NHLBI, NIH." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 July 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

http://thehealthyrooster.blogspot.com/2015/03/obesity-rise-in-united-states-and-south.html

http://eatsmartmovemoresc.org/learn-more/

http://cordantsolutions.com/pdmp-use-to-become-mandatory-for-many-south-carolina-doctors/

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