The fact is, obesity is a serious problem. This condition is where a person’s body mass index or BMI is 30 or more. According to the World Health Organization, about 2.5 billion adults are overweight, with 700 million belonging in the obese category.Thisleads to serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke among many others.
However, obesity does not affect the individual alone. In fact, this phenomenon has a significant impact on other people in their lives, as well. Let’s take a closer look at the impact obesity has on healthy people, too:
1. Your Family
They say family is the basic unit in the society. From the moment you found out you were having a child, until you started parenting duties in raising your little one, you will always be your kid’s role model.
Therefore, set a good example. Get rid of sedentary a lifestyle and encourage healthy habits. Eat lots of natural foods, take it easy on salt and sugar, and include physical exercise on a daily basis, or at least make it a weekly routine.
If a member of your family is struggling with weight issue, help them. Encouraging higher numbers on the bathroom scale won’t do any good for them. Instead, offer your steady support and suggest healthier alternatives other than allowing this condition to take over your family member’s life.
If you think you are not affected, think again. Obesity can take a toll on relationships, self-esteem, and the overall personality of your loved one. The family member might also feel that they are being judged and are unwanted because they are “too big.” Don’t let this condition ruin the family unity.
2. Your Social Ties and Relationships
Did you know that obesity could be contagious? No, this is not meant to mock those who are on the heavier side. However, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that those who are friends or closely connected to obese individuals have 57 percent chance of becoming obese, too. Same-sex friendships could also increase the chance of obesity by 71 percent.
This is because there is a change in one’s perception of what equates to health and fitness. When a close friend is obese and you learn to accept it, obesity may not look so bad to you, after all. According to researchers from the Harvard Medical School and the University of California – San Diego, this could also be the reason why there is a growing number of Americans with expanding waistlines.
However, your social network is not the only reason for this phenomenon. Genes, personal choices, and lifestyle habits could contribute to a person’s weight. Their social network is only one factor of many.
3. Your Community
Aside from social ties, the community where you are located is also affected by obesity. How, you may ask?
When it comes to food availability, fast food chains like McDonald’s are popping up everywhere, at least every 7.2 hours. Consequently, organic stores are becoming popular these days because of the increasing rate of obesity.
However, be careful on anything with an “organic” label on it. Some manufacturers are going with the flow because people believe that organic is healthy, so read labels carefully.
Aside from food, obesity also affects public transportation. Buses, trains, cabs and other modes of transportation are the prototypes of decades of invention. Now that there is an expanding waistline, public transportation must also adapt to these changes to ensure that everyone can get in to the city, and be accommodated. This means less walking and biking, which are both healthier alternatives to sitting in traffic.
is also affected by this phenomenon. Regardless if you are a man or woman, you will always want to look good or presentable with what you wear. Clothing manufacturers and retailers understand this need; hence, they adjust the sizes to make it look like you are wearing smaller sizes, when in fact the clothes are bigger.
However, this could be a solid challenge for the community. Because of its serious effects, communities around the world must make an effort to create more bike trails, sidewalks and recreational facilities to encourage physical activities. They must make them safer, too.
4. Your Economic Impact
Did you know that obesity could also have a significant impact on the economy? It sounds absurd, but there are direct and indirect costs on the health care system. According to the World Health Organization, direct costs,such as treatments, hospital bills, and the cost of medicines linked to obesity are up to eight percent of the total healthcare costs worldwide.
In Australia alone, the direct cost related to obesity is $2 billion. There are indirect costs associated too, such as the loss of productivity due to absenteeism, a decreased productivity level at work, and dead weight loss due to job transfers.
What This Means:
More people are seeking treatment for obesity-related illnesses, like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. While there is health insurance to cover for the costs, it is important to look at the indirect costs associated with obesity. In the United States, the nationwide productivity costs of obesity-related absenteeism ranges between $3.38 billion to $6.38 billion.
In other words, an obese individual could contribute $79 to $132 to productivity issues because of absenteeism, thereby affecting the overall productivity of the company.
5. Our Government
Everything starts at home, and although family plays an important role in defining obesity in a person, this worldwide pandemic affects the government, as well. In fact, the local, national and international governments should intervene and take action to reduce obesity problems in the society.
First Lady Michelle Obama gave us a helpful start with her fitness campaign,Let’s Move!
Aside from this, education through information dissemination and the use of social media could help in making people aware of the effects of obesity. Increase availability of healthier alternatives, such as offering promos and discounts. The government can also impose regulations or tax measures to discourage consumption of unhealthy products.
Change starts within yourself; however, we all play a part, so everyone, including our government needs to play a crucial role in fighting obesity.
How to Help Someone Get Back on the Fitness Track
Obesity is a serious health problem. If you have a family member or a friend who belongs in the heavier category, the best thing you can do is to help them get back on the health and fitness track.
However, this could be embarrassing and challenging for you. You want to help without sounding too hurtful, nagging or interfering. At the same time, your friend or family member might feel that you are among the many people judging them, even if it’s not your intention.
Here are tips to help someone you love get healthy again:
- Learn About Weight Loss. How much do you know about dieting? When it comes to helping a family member in weight loss, it is important that you know the kinds of food they should eat,
how the diet plan works, the importance of physical exercise, and anything that could help them about weight loss. This will make it easier for you to understand what they are doing.
- Be a Cheerleader, Not a Coach. It is easy to dictate what your family member should do, but that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Instead, encourage and cheer them for their efforts and determination to reach their weight goals.
- Be Involved. By being a cheerleader, this means getting involved in the things they will do. Eat healthy with them, play sports or go to the gym together, run together, and be an active participant to help them achieve the right weight.
- Focus on Health, Not Just Weight.To get over obesity, put emphasis on health and not on the way they look. Focus on healthy eating and healthy lifestyle habits, instead of saying, “You would look better if you were 30 pounds lighter.”
- Don’t tempt them.It is important to respect a dieter’s food choices. Therefore, don’t tempt them to take “just a bite.” This takes them right off the diet track and sabotages their weight loss plan. This also makes them crave the whole slice of cake or cookie, which can affect their ultimate weight loss goals.
- Cook For Everyone. If only one family member is on a diet, then don’t cook separate meals for them just to meet their weight loss goals. Instead, cook for the whole family and make changes in everyone’s menu. This will make the dieter feel that they are not alone. At the same time, this shows support and solidarity, while encouraging the dieter to go on until they reach their ideal weight.
- Develop Healthy Incentives. Weight loss is also about setting goals. If the dieter was able to meet the goal, say three pounds off in one week, then offer incentives aside from food. Treat them to a movie, pay for a one-month gym membership, get them new running shoes – be creative, because the choices are endless. The important thing is don’t offer food as a reward.
- Be Positive. This is the most important tip you need to remember. Your family member will appreciate it if they know there is someone out there who believes that they can do it. If they stumble, help them get back up and encourage them to move forward.
What does all this truly mean? Obesity is a serious problem that triggers a domino effect in all aspects of one’s life, and other’s lives, too. Over the years, there has been a steady decline in optimal health, and an increase in a number of serious, obesity-related medical conditions. While you still can, adopt some healthy lifestyle habits and say yes to healthy living.