News-Medical has written that obesity and being overweight have become a global problem in the last decade. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) back in 2005 approximately 1.6 billion adults over the of age 15+ were overweight, with at least 400 million adults being obese and at least 20 million children under the age of 5 years being overweight. Experts say if the current trends continue by 2015 approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and greater than 700 million will be obese.
Bioscience Technology has published an Associated Press article by Jennifer Agiesta on Jan. 6, 2013, which highlights the problem that few Americans understand the full implications of obesity, Poll: Few Americans know all the risks of obesity. A lot of people are aware of the association of heart disease and diabetes with obesity. However, there appears to be a far less awareness of the assocation of obesity with some types of cancer, arthritis, sleep apnea, and even infertility.
According to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only about one-quarter of people think that it's possible for someone to be very overweight and to still be healthy. When asked about the most serious consequences of obesity, greater than 7 in 10 Americans can correctly identify heart disease and diabetes. Heart disease is recognized as the nation's leading killer, and diabetes and obesity have become serious epidemics.
The other consequences are not as well understood. It was found that just 7 percent of people surveyed mentioned cancer, even though doctors have known for a long time that fat increases the risk of developing cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, uterus and certain other sites. Furthermore, being overweight can make it more difficult to spot tumors early and to treat them. And, only about 15 percent of people knew obesity can contribute to arthritis.
Furthermore, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and strokes were fairly low on the list, and infertility was not even mentioned. Also, only 5 percent put respiratory problems on the list. Studies have shown that people who are overweight are at increased risk of sleep apnea and asthma, and that losing weight can help improve their symptoms. These results are alarming because understanding the many ways which obesity affects health can help motivate people
to get more active and eat better before full-blown diseases associated with obesity occur.