According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is not just an American epidemic but also a global one. In 2007 statistics on obesity revealed:

* 1 billion overweight adults exists worldwide, at least 300 million of them obese.

* Those who suffer from obesity and are overweight are at major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer.

* The key causes of obesity appear to be an increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats and sugars, and reduced physical activity.

The primary causes of obesity appear to be multifaceted. Changes in work environments, which are more sedentary, consumption of fast foods, passive leisure pursuits like video games and automated transports contribute to the obesity epidemic.

People are shortening their lives and causing themselves more health problems because of their weight. The need that these people have for weight loss does not have anything to do with whether they are considered attractive. It is about being healthy and able to engage in all of the normal activities that an individual would have in their lives.

What can be done?

The World Health Organization stresses healthy diets and regular, adequate physical activity in order to promote and maintain good health. Stamping out obesity also begins in the home. Parents can teach their kids good eating habits, but they also need to be good examples, indulging in healthy habits and exercise, and planning family activities that involve physical exertion of some kind.

The idea behind weight loss is that it is important for many people today. Getting healthy without doing any work is what most people want. For many overweight people in this country, though, weight loss is vital. For people who were heavy in the past it is usually about control.

The goal of healthy weight loss is to get to the proper weight and stay there, not to continue to lose weight after that. Both very heavy and very thin people can set themselves up for health problems in the long term.

What this tells us is that obesity is more than simply an aesthetical or diet issue. It encompasses mental, social and psychological aspects of several global cultures. It is our duty to try to figure a way to defeat obesity, not only for the individual, but also for society as a whole.

We can do this by creating public health awareness about obesity and creating accessibility to a variety of low-fat, high-fiber foods, as well as provide opportunities for physical activity.

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