Obesity. An Epidemic Disease in North Carolina

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Public health is one of the many issues that are of national importance to the United States’ government. There has been a proliferation of a number of diseases that have become regular among majority of Americans. Diseases, such as obesity, smoking, and diabetes have led to the loss of young people due to shortened life span among them. This paper will try to unearth all issues concerning obesity in the North Carolina state. Analysis of this state’s health objective policy, which is dubbed as Health North Carolina 2020, will be carried out. Obesity has proved to be one of the most costly epidemics. By affecting young generation, the economic status of North Carolina and the country at large is compromised. Various statistics and models that expound more on the obesity condition of this state will be provided. Thereafter, it will be determined how far the state has gone in its effort to fight obesity in line with the policy paper Healthy People 2020. Obesity is one of the major health complications that have been declared  national, as well as regional, disaster.

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Health related problems have come under many forms in the United States. The country has been grappling coming up with mechanisms that can help it ameliorate epidemic challenges. Some of the health problems that have become a disaster to the public entail obesity, smoking, and diabetes among others. As a result, the United States has come up with a body that can help mitigate this menace. “Local public health agencies (ALPHAs) are the bodies which are mandated to devise preventive mechanisms of these diseases menace at community level (Hatala et al., 2008). Over the recent past, a sizeable percentage of American youth has registered an increase in the number of people who are becoming obese. Surprisingly, the health threat has been affecting young people due to their eating habits (Aballay et al., 2013). Most of them like to feed on junk foods, which are major instigators of obesity. Increased consumption of fast foods has ld to an increase in the number of youths who have been falling under this category at an alarming rate. Obesity renders them dormant due to the increased weight, thus, making them less productive (Aballay et al., 2013). Apart from it, they become more susceptible to other diseases, such as heart failure and high blood pressure. This occurrence has prompted Local Public Health Association (LPHA) to declare obesity a national disaster in the United States. The body has employed various mechanisms in its efforts of mitigating obesity nationally.

Obesity has been greatly associated with childhood. It has been prevalent in the United States. The major cause of obesity is lack of balancing between the amount of calories that are taken and the ones that are utilized. Apart from it, obesity may also be caused by the environmental, genetic, or behavioral changes. Obesity has some adverse effects on children, such as social, psychological, and physical health problem. Childhood obesity rate has tripled from 1970s to 2000s to a slightly 15% and above (Hatala et al., 2008), thus indicating a more an alarming rate of health deterioration.  

Obesity affects people of all ages, regions, groups, and socioeconomic status levels. It is worth noting that obesity is more prevalent with Non-Hispanic, Blacks, Native Americans, Whites, Puerto Ricans, and Mexican Americans. Nonetheless, it is lower among the Asian Americans. Rural populations have higher cases of obesity as compared to the population in major urban centers. Increase in cases of obesity has cost the United States’ government an approximately 50% of the annual expenditure on medicines (Hatala et al., 2012). These costs are incurred through Medicare and Medicaid. Thus, the United States’ government has been working over the recent past to ensure that the epidemic disease is minimized or eliminated fully.

Obesity has become a national issue of concern in the United States due to the American lifestyle. Their lifestyle makes them susceptible to obesity. According to a study that was carried out in the year 2010 by Health People, it was identified that more than 75% of the whole population of Americans rarely eat fruits (Macera, 2012). Another group of more than 50% did not take enough vegetables (Macera, 2012). Nonetheless, 64% of the same population consumed food that was saturated with fats (Macera, 2012). There was an indication that the majority of Americans ate food that had higher percentage of total fat. There was also high percentage of saturated fats as well as calories consumption. The correspondence in the uptake of essential elements in their food, such as phosphorus and calcium, was poor. Hence, people were made susceptible to the obesity-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. It has cost the country a lot in terms of losing the productive age group due to premature death. The total loss, that is incurred, is estimated to be $70.9 billion (Macera, 2012). Costs associated with addressing the issue through the medical procedure are estimated to be more than $100 billion on an annual basis (Macera, 2012). These statistics underscore the need to view obesity as an issue of national importance. It should be considered as an epidemic that everyone should claim a position and a chance to fight it.

Epidemic of health related diseases, including obesity, have prompted various agencies, states, and the federal government to devise policies that can help to deal with them. For instance, there was the development of a health policy that was referred to as ‘A Better State of Health’. The policy was developed by the state of North Carolina. Its main aim was to attain a healthy population by the year 2020 (Dickson, 2011). It was estimated that there was higher obesity rate, where almost two thirds of adults were overweight. Moreover, there were other health-related epidemics that have been declared the national disaster in this state. For instance, there is the epidemic of losing teeth due to gum diseases, tooth decay and smoking.

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