Archive for the ‘obesity’ Category

The “paradoxical” faces of hunger: obesity and emaciation

November 18, 2008

A report shows the United States is beset with hunger problem just like the poor countries of the world. The US Department of Agriculture reports that 50% more American children compared to the previous year suffered hunger in 2007. Other findings are:

“_Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007 (above the 430,000 in 2006.) About one in eight Americans (12.5%) struggled to feed themselves adequately even before this year’s sharp economic downtown.

_The families with the highest rates of food insecurity were headed by single mothers (30.2 percent), black households (22.2 percent), Hispanic households (20.1 percent), and households with incomes below the official poverty line (37.7 percent).

_States with families reporting the highest prevalence of food insecurity during
2005-2007 were Mississippi (17.4 percent), New Mexico (15 percent), Texas (14.8 percent) and Arkansas (14.4 percent.)

_The highest growth in food insecurity over the last 9 years came in Alaska and Iowa, both of which saw a 3.7 percent increase in families who struggled to eat adequately or had substantial food disruptions.)”—Associated Press; (11/17/08, Sniffen, MJ)

What constitutes hunger for Americans is a bit unsettled compared to those who endure apparent lack of food in other countries. Although the definition of hunger isn’t clear, it is appalling that the richest country on earth is reported to suffer hunger like the Philippines, one among the top five world nations which deals with lack of food.

Understanding food deprivation in USA is hard given the tremendous resources the nation has. Many of its “hungry” people are obese and are within arms way from government welfare services which are meager or almost non-existent in the Third World. Sixty-five (65%) of the Americans suffer from excessive weight; among them are those who complain of hunger. Paradoxically, even the overweights experience hunger. Fat people are seen quite regularly lining up in welfare offices, food stamp lines, social service agencies, and soup kitchens.

It seems hunger looks differently in USA than in other places that most people know. In the Third World, the hungry are usually underweight and emaciated—- the usual signs of malnutrition from pervasive lack of food and high incidence of diseases. Each day the poor struggle to eat, mostly subsisting on skimpy food devoid of essential nutrients which explains their thinness. The social milieu in which they live shows food scarcity—-unlike in USA where faulty food distribution is the problem.

Where food supply is abundant and readily available, obesity is traced to poor eating habits. Inadequate knowledge on nutrition, lack of exercise, and alternating over-eating and undisciplined binging are leading reasons for their excessive weight. Concurrent illnesses and the influence of genes are blamed for some forms of obesity, but almost all emaciated people suffer from lack of food and/or concomitant diseases.

So there’s the clue why people who go hungry can’t be easily recognized by their appearances. It’s interesting to know how many among the obese complain of hunger in America while in the rest of the world, the hungry are physically wasting away. It’s sobering to think how Americans could suffer hunger in the midst of plenty. (Photo Credits: Calvaryslo; MioCade; ClaudeBarute; ItuDk) =0=

RELATED BLOG: ‘Hunger in the Philippines” Posted by mesiamd at 11/05/2008

Large and Heavy

September 15, 2008

Who strains in this picture? Is it it sitter or the chair? An obese person (body mass index BMI=or>30,) carries extra weight which is as heavy as a bar-bell on one’s shoulder. Loaded and bulky, the chair seems to strain as it supports the huge sitter waiting for a plane ride in Hearthrow Airport in London on September 12, 2008 (Reuters/TobyMelville.)

Obesity & the Fight Against the Bulge

As much as sixty-five percent (65%) of Americans are fat and the number is rising. In 2000, it has been estimated that the cost of obesity in the United States is about $117 billion. It is said that if the trend isn’t reversed, the gains of the past generation from improvements of medical care can be wiped out by the illnesses that go with excessive weight.

Obesity increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions like:
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
• Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
• Type 2 diabetes
• Coronary heart disease
• Stroke
• Gallbladder disease
• Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
• Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

That’s why like smoking, there are attempts to fight the bulge by altering the public mindset and behavior. Aside from education, diet and exercise, the people are warned of obesity’s long-term effects. Linked with hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, psychological disturbances and their multi-organ complications, obesity is causing a drain in health care as much as it spawns chronic morbidities which worsen as the person gets old.

There are initiatives to curb on excessive weight gain. Food values are required in processed food packets. A move to lessen food servings is offered in restaurants. Vegan diet is made available and recommended. In poor neighborhoods such as the one in South, Los Angeles, CA a moratorium to open new fast foods was made into legislation on July 2008.

Employers and medical insurance companies give health education lectures to their workers and subscribers. They give incentives to promote exercise and preventive consults with their doctors. The burden of obesity control rests largely on the discipline of individuals, but the environment on which the health problem thrives need some reprogramming. (Photo Credit: Lil’Miss) =0=