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Posted: September 7th, 2023

Obesity as a Medical and Social Problem

Obesity as a Medical and Social Problem
While obesity remains a pressing global health issue as outlined, the language and framing could be updated to reflect current understandings. Specifically, terms like “obese people” may be replaced with “people living with obesity” to emphasize the humanity of those affected.
Additionally, the causes outlined could be expanded upon. While diet and exercise are significant contributing factors, the social and environmental determinants of obesity are increasingly recognized. Access to affordable healthy foods and safe spaces for physical activity vary greatly between communities and countries due to socioeconomic inequalities. Stress from poverty, discrimination and lack of social support can also influence unhealthy coping behaviors.
The health impacts too have evolved in knowledge. Obesity is now conclusively linked to 13 types of cancer in addition to cardiovascular diseases. Mental health effects also extend beyond stigma to include clinically significant rates of depression, anxiety and lower quality of life.
The social challenges section may be strengthened with recent data. For example, a 2021 study found obesity was the strongest predictor of workplace discrimination above other attributes. Additionally, health system costs are rising exponentially – a 2019 report estimated US obesity-related expenses reached $173 billion that year.
In closing, multi-pronged policy responses are needed. While individual choice matters, successful strategies require addressing the environmental and systemic barriers that drive the obesity epidemic. Community-based programs pairing nutrition education and access to fresh foods show promise. Your revisions could help raise awareness of this complex issue and promote more equitable, evidence-based solutions.
To update the references:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Obesity Facts. February 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
Daniels, S. R., and M. Hassink. “The Consequences of Childhood Obesity.” Future of Children 25, no. 1 (2015): 111-32. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44219021.
Guh, D. P., et al. “The incidence of co-morbidities related to obesity and overweight: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC public health 9, no. 1 (2009): 1-20.
Let me know if any part needs further clarification or expansion. I’m happy to discuss revisions that accurately reflect the current state of this important issue.

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