Obesity is a serious rising condition in the United States

Abstract

Obesity is a serious rising condition in the United States. Obesity happens when a person eats more calories than they work off. This can cause serious problem for the individual. Obesity is a risk factor to many underlying diseases. Obesity is easily diagnoses and can be treated. Exercise and dieting are the two top treatments for obesity. These two options can help a person expend more calories than they take in. At North Carolina Wesleyan, three practicum patients are overweight. They all are different, but one thing they have in common is a sedentary job. Is there a link between sedentary occupations and obesity? Many studies have been done on this topic. The overall census is that there is a link between the two. Sedentary occupations can lead to obesity. People have to work, so there is ways occupations can help obese employers. Jobs can offer preventive measures for their employees. Free gyms and healthy food options can be the way to turn this rising epidemic around. Healthier employees not only benefit themselves but also their job. Occupations should want to make sure their employees are in top shape. Future studies, should look more into the psychological aspects of obesity. As of now, research knows the physical aspects that cause obesity. It is now important to understand what psychological factors play a role in obesity.

Introduction

Obesity is a condition characterized by excess body fat. Body mass index is the most common metric for determining obesity. If someone has a BMI of thirty or more than they are considered obese. Although genetics can play a role in the likelihood that a person will become obese, the condition occurs when the amount of calories consumed exceeds the amount of calories expended over a period of time. Excess calories are stored in the body as fat, when a person had a long-term caloric excess. This eventually leads to obesity in the individual. More than one-third of United States adults are obese (Housh, Housh, & Johnson, 2012). It is estimated obesity-related conditions account for more than 7% of total health care costs in the United States. The direct and indirect costs of obesity are in excess of $190 billion annually (American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities, 2016).

The 2016 ACSM guidelines, indicated that 68% of U.S. adults were classified as either overweight or obese, with 34% obese and 6% extremely obese. Although the prevalence of obesity has steadily risen over the last three decades, recent data indicate a plateau in the overall population prevalence of obesity. Obesity is higher in certain ethnic and gender groups. African American women have age-adjusted overweight/ obesity rates of 82%, followed closely by Hispanic men at 78.6% (ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 2017).

Obesity is often oversimplified. People do not realize the role obesity plays as an individual cardiovascular risk factor. Obesity is often a precursor to serious chronic conditions (American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities, 2016). For all ages and ethnicities, overweight and obesity are linked to an increased risk of the development of numerous chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, some forms of cancer and musculoskeletal problems. If obesity is not taken care of, it could lead to premature death (ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 2017).
​Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet are ways in which to combat obesity. A person has to spend more calories, then what he/she is taking in (Housh, Housh, & Johnson, 2012). Overweight and obese people can perform exercise. The primary considerations about exercise in a person with obesity should mainly be their other chronic conditions. So when making an exercise prescription, a person should take in consideration comorbid diseases (American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities, 2016).

The management of body weight is dependent on energy balance that is determined by energy intake and expenditure. For an individual to lose body weight, one’s energy expenditure has to exceed intake. Studies have concluded that is a person loses 3-5% body weight, then it will likely result in a reduction of several cardiovascular disease risk factors. There is evidence that as little as 2-3% loss can result in similar CVD risk factor improvements. These benefits are more likely to be sustained through the maintenance of weight loss. The ACSM’s position stand on physical activity and weight loss concluded that 150 minutes a week of physical activity will promote minimal weight loss. Greater than 150 minutes a week of physical activity will promote modest weight loss (2-3kg). Physical activity greater than 225-420 minutes per week, could result in a 5-7 kg weight loss (ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 2017).

Bariatric surgery is offered in the United States to individuals with a BMI of 40 or greater. People with comorbid risk factors and a BMI of 35 or greater can also be considered (American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities, 2016). Exercise is still important after surgery to maintain weight loss. Studies have shown that people increase their physical activity level post-surgery. Just like any surgery, there is a possibly of failure. Bariatric surgery is not the go-to fix for obesity, but it is an option (ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 2017).

Jobs Leading to Obesity

A lot of jobs require people to be sedentary for a long period of time. Sedentary jobs are considered to have low job demand physically. This is because people aren’t demanded to walk and preform strenuous activities. Sedentary jobs can have a high job demand mentally (McCrady & Levine, 2009). Office jobs require employees to sit up to 8 hours a day most of the time. This mathematically is about 85% or more of their day sitting, if driving and leisure sitting is also taken into account. There is no way possible a person can spend more calories than they intake, if they sit most of their day (Parry & Straker, 2013). Driving jobs are one of the largest work forces of around 3.2 million in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017).
Three out of three North Carolina Wesleyan College practicum assigned participants would be considered obese on the BMI chart. Two participants work behind a desk on a daily basis, while the other gets moments to stand for a few hours. These three individuals are not the only ones that struggle with obesity on the college campus. Student and other college employees have the same problems. Physical inactivity and sedentary environments all link these individuals.

Choi and colleagues argued that the decline in work-related physical activity seems a prime suspect in the growth of obesity. There has been a substantial change in technology, the organization of work, structure of industries and occupations and labor relations in the United States since the 1980s. Routine manual tasks at work in the US have been reduced substantially over time by mechanization, automation or computerization. Strenuous jobs have decreased and sedentary jobs have increased significantly. Studies done showed an association between physical inactivity at work and total obesity. Choi and colleagues did a sedentary data analysis. Sedentary work and physical job demand were measured by questionnaire items. Results showed that sedentary work and low physical job demand increased the risk for total and central obesity (Choi, et al., 2010).

Studies have shown the percentages of high physical inactivity at work were highest in the high education groups in both men and women. Middle and low education groups in both men and women followed with more strenuous jobs. The educational change of physical inactivity at work was greater in men than women. Results concluded that education plays a part in job roles. The higher up a person is, the less strenuous work they have to perform (McCrady & Levine, 2009). This makes sense, the higher up a person, and the more workers under him/her doing the heavy work.

Taylor and colleagues studies the death rates among physically active and sedentary employees of the railroad industry. Previous studies indicated that men in sedentary occupations are more liable to have coronary heart disease than those in occupations requiring moderate to heavy physical activity. So, Taylor and colleagues tested the hypothesis by conducting a study on the death rates among clerks, switchmen and section men employed in the railroad industry. The results were consistent with the hypothesis. Men in occupations requiring at least moderate amounts of physical activity have fewer fatalities from coronary heart disease than do men in sedentary occupations. Also, sedentary occupations showed an increase in BMI than active occupations (Taylor, et al., 1963).

Role of Exercise

ACSM’s Guidelines recommend people to get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscles that results in a substantial increase in caloric requirements over resting energy expenditure. Exercise is a time of physical activity that is planned and structured (ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 2017).

They’re many benefits of physical activity. Physical activity is known to reduce risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, different types of cancers and diabetes. PA can help increase healthy and strong bones. Physical activity is linked to the immune system and can help decrease the chance of catching colds and flu. Better weight management, increased energy, better sleep, less anxiety and depression, and enhanced self-esteem are all benefits of physical activity (Marcus & Forsyth, 2003).

People enjoy competition and overall support. Thorndike and colleagues did a study to determine if a 9 month maintenance intervention and an immediate 10 week follow-up worksite exercise and nutrition program would prevent regain of the weight lost during the program. Previous studies mention employers providing wellness programs to help employees make changes in diet and exercise behavior. So, Thorndike and colleagues wanted to test the hypothesis. Results showed that an intensive 10 week team-based worksite exercise and nutrition program resulted in moderate weight loss and improvements in diet and exercise behaviors at one year. The internet-based maintenance program immediately following the 10 week program did not improve these outcomes (Thorndike, et al., 2012).

Based off the knowledge mentioned above, employers should provide a competitive/ supportive exercise option to all employees. People like to know they are supported and loved. All sedentary jobs should have a free fitness facility available. Since not all people can afford gym memberships, occupations should care for their employee’s health. It is important for individuals to get their 30 minutes in each day. There can be set times that employees can go and workout. This could not only be benefit the employee but it could also benefit the employer too (Marcus & Forsyth, 2003).

Education is key to getting people to understand obesity. So, many Americans are not aware of the risk factors of obesity. Occupations need to start with educating their employees. They need to make employee aware of the chronic condition worldwide. Then employers need to promote the need for increased obesity prevention, treatment and research. After the employees are aware, occupations then need to support and encourage them. Employers can offer exercise and diet programs and hold their employees accountable. Accountability and motivation are the main components to weight loss. Occupations should want to take the financial burden of health off their employees. Providing free fitness facilities and cheaper healthy food options in the café can do just that (Jastreboff, Kotz, Kahan, Kelly, & Heymsfield, 2018).

Clearly, there is benefits for the employee if they adopt a physically active lifestyle. But, there is also benefits for the employers as well. Consistent healthy employees add a lot to a company. Studies have shown that healthy employees reduce company cost in multiple ways. If employees are healthy there will be less accidents. Fitness helps decrease stress and strength and boosts immunity, so there will be less work-related illnesses. Healthier employees take less sick leave and absenteeism is reduced. Greater employee population health improves staff morale. Healthy employees improve company health and culture (Parry & Straker, 2013).

Conclusion

Obesity is a condition characterized by excess body fat. Although genetics can play a role in the likelihood that a person will become obese, the condition occurs when the amount of calories consumed exceeds the amount of calories expended over a period of time. More than one-third of United States adults are obese (Housh, Housh, & Johnson, 2012). Obesity is higher in certain ethnic and gender groups. African American women have age-adjusted overweight/ obesity rates of 82%, followed closely by Hispanic men at 78.6% (ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 2017). Obesity plays as an individual cardiovascular risk factor. It is often a precursor to serious chronic conditions (American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities, 2016). Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet are ways in which to combat obesity. A person has to spend more calories, then what he/she is taking in (Housh, Housh, & Johnson, 2012).

Sedentary jobs are considered to have low job demand physically. This is because people aren’t demanded to walk and preform strenuous activities. Sedentary jobs can have a high job demand mentally (McCrady & Levine, 2009). Office jobs require employees to sit up to 8 hours a day most of the time. This mathematically is about 85% or more of their day sitting, if driving and leisure sitting is also taken into account. There is no way possible a person can spend more calories than they intake, if they sit most of their day (Parry & Straker, 2013). Choi and colleagues did a sedentary data analysis. Sedentary work and physical job demand were measured by questionnaire items. Results showed that sedentary work and low physical job demand increased the risk for total and central obesity (Choi, et al., 2010). Other studies have shown the percentages of high physical inactivity at work were highest in the high education groups in both men and women. Middle and low education groups in both men and women followed with more strenuous jobs (McCrady & Levine, 2009).

ACSM’s Guidelines recommend people to get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week (ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 2017). They’re many benefits of physical activity. Physical activity is known to reduce risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, different types of cancers and diabetes. All sedentary jobs should have a free fitness facility available. It is important for individuals to get their 30 minutes in each day. There can be set times that employees can go and workout. This could not only be benefit the employee but it could also benefit the employer too (Marcus & Forsyth, 2003). Education is key to getting people to understand obesity.

So, many Americans are not aware of the risk factors of obesity. Occupations need to start with educating their employees. Employers can offer exercise and diet programs and hold their employees accountable (Jastreboff, Kotz, Kahan, Kelly, & Heymsfield, 2018). Consistent healthy employees add a lot to a company. Studies have shown that healthy employees reduce company cost in multiple ways (Parry & Straker, 2013). Employers should want to help their employee work more efficiently and live better. Future studies, should look more into the psychological aspects of obesity. As of now, research knows the physical aspects that cause obesity. It is now important to understand what psychological factors play a role in obesity.

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