Epidemiology of Obesity

Subject: Healthy Nutrition
Pages: 5
Words: 1226
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College

At-risk Population

Despite numerous attempts at managing the problem of obesity, it remains a common concern in a range of communities. The World Health Organization (2018) specifies that obesity affects 650,000,000 people globally. Despite multiple efforts made to combat the disorder and encourage proper eating habits, the number of people with weight issues, in general, and obesity, in particular, grows exponentially (Hruby & Hu, 2015). Therefore, a comprehensive program based on epidemiological analysis of the subject matter is overdue.

Nevertheless, one should mention location, age, and lifestyle as key factors that define the possibility of obesity. For instance, studies show that the people that live in urban areas are less prone to developing the disorder than their rural counterparts (27% and 36%, respectively (Congdon, 2017)). In addition, people living a sedentary lifestyle are likely to be prone to developing obesity. Hence, people with disabilities should also be viewed as vulnerable (25.6% compared to 12.8%) (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2017). Age is another risk factor because of the challenges that older people face when exercising physically (Hill, You, & Zoellner, 2014). Specifically, patients aged 40-60 (42.8%) are regarded as a vulnerable population that may be affected by obesity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Finally, race and ethnicity can be seen as an important factor since a large number of Hispanic (46%) and African American (48%) people suffer from obesity, according to a recent report (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Thus, the characteristics mentioned above need to be taken into account first when addressing the needs of people facing obesity.

Health Risk, Epidemiology, and Variables

Obesity causes additional health risks since it leads to a variety of complications. Among the primary issues that pose a threat to people’s well-being, obesity causes especially devastating results since it leads to the development of a range of comorbid conditions (Hill et al., 2014). Heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and low quality of life are only some of the comorbid issues that are associated with obesity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Therefore, focusing on the development of strategies that will contribute to the drop in obesity levels among the vulnerable population must be seen as a necessity.

The epidemiology of obesity incorporates a vast number of issues, including not only health-related but also economic and social ones. For example, among the primary causes of obesity, genetic factors, as well as patients’ genetic makeup, socioeconomic factors, and environmental factors are typically listed (Hruby & Hu, 2015). Therefore, addressing the problem on a general level will require a profound analysis of the identified issues. In addition, novel factors regularly emerge in the modern global environment, thus, predisposing specific populations to obesity.

In addition, low levels of education can be seen as one of the crucial factors creating a threat of obesity. Without basic health literacy, which people are attending appropriate educational institutions have, one is unlikely to identify a health threat. In addition, the lack of respective knowledge will not allow one to use the available information management tools to gather the necessary data and make appropriate conclusions about one’s health (Hill et al., 2014). Therefore, education problems, in general, and the absence of health literacy, in particular, make the process of disseminating knowledge among vulnerable populations especially difficult.

The disorder itself is typically defined as the excess weight (Hill et al., 2014). However, the specified definition is admittedly loose, which prevents epidemiologists from exploring the subject matter in depth. Herein lies the significance of the Body Mass Index (BMI), which provides a ratio for measuring obesity by dividing a patient’s weight by height (Hruby & Hu, 2015). Therefore, in adults, obesity can be defined as BMI that exceeds 30, whereas being overweight is viewed as having a BMI over 25 (Hruby & Hu, 2015). The identified measurements are different from the ones that are used to determine the presence of obesity in children.

Among key tools for managing obesity, the promotion of healthy dieting and an active lifestyle need a mentioning. Although being rather basic, the proposed approach leads to quite impressive results when followed precisely, according to the existing studies (Hill et al., 2014). However, in order to implement the identified intervention successfully, a nurse must be aware of potential obstacles that may stand in patients’ way of losing weight. Addressing the problem of obesity might be simple enough. Healthy eating habits and the promotion of an active lifestyle are common ideas that are typically associated with managing obesity.

However, one must also bear in mind that people suffering from the disorder may also have psychological issues that will prevent them from acquiring healthy habits. The problem of social contempt is, perhaps, the most problematic issue that causes obese people to develop psychological problems that range from mild stress to massive depression and even suicidal attempts (Hill et al., 2014). The propensity toward an unhealthy diet may itself be a symptom of severe psychological concerns. Therefore, the implementation of a program aimed at helping the vulnerable population to lose weight must start with the assessment of their psychological comfort and stress factors that disrupt it (Hruby & Hu, 2015). As a result, the enhancement of the overall efficacy of an intervention is likely to become a possibility.

Potential Obstacles

Apart from the emotional distress experienced by obese patients, one must also consider some of the external factors that may impede the recovery. The lack of support from family members and friends can be seen as one of the key problems. In order to convince the identified demographic to support patients, additional counseling efforts must be made. By providing family members and friends with directions for assisting patients in losing weight without social pressure, one will be able to create a comfortable environment for the vulnerable population.

Furthermore, patients with obesity issues might feel tempted to eat the food that they find tasty. Therefore, the introduction of a strong motivational leadership strategy will be required. Finally, one must mention the impact that modern media has on people with weight problems. Because of the active promotion of an idealized and often sexualized image of a human body in movies, commercials, and other types of media, obese people may feel disheartened or develop psychological issues such as depression caused by self-esteem, poor self-image, and similar problems (Hill et al., 2014). The identified concern can be addressed with the help of the motivational leadership strategy mentioned above.


A resolution to the problem of obesity will affect a number of people starting from patients with weight concerns to healthcare facilities providing corresponding services and the global community, in general. Adults suffering from obesity are the key stakeholders whose needs the program is supposed to meet. However, apart from the identified demographic, their families and friends, as well as the urban community, in general, will be affected significantly. With a rise in awareness levels that the program will entail, the rest of the global community may reconsider their values and ethics and obliterate bullying and ostracism of obese people. Healthcare organizations may also experience changes if the proposed solution turns out to be viable. In the latter case, healthcare organizations may adopt the suggested framework as the basis for catering to the needs of obese people. Thus, the foundation for a faster recovery will be built.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Obesity. Web.

Congdon, P. (2017). Variations in obesity rates between US counties: Impacts of activity access, food environments, and settlement patterns. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(9), 1023-1040. Web.

Hill, J. L., You, W., & Zoellner, J. M. (2014). Disparities in obesity among rural and urban residents in a health disparate region. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 1051-1058. Web.

Hruby, A., & Hu, F. B. (2015). The epidemiology of obesity: A big picture. Pharmacoeconomics, 33(7), 673-689. Web.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2017). Facts & statistics. Web.

World Health Organization. (2018). Obesity. Web.