By: Shannon Charles
In today’s society we are confronted with many complex health issues, such as: access to adequate health coverage, the global burden of non-communicable diseases, and the growing need for more community health workers, to name a few. However, there is still a major issue that we cannot overlook: obesity. Obesity remains one of the most important health issues today, affecting individuals in the United States for decades. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a high risk to one’s health and wellbeing. A person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered obese. A person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight.
Recent reports suggest that there has been minimal improvement as it pertains to obesity rates in the United States in 2013. However, for the first time in decades there has been no increase from one year to the next amongst Americans, which demonstrates progress. Stable rates of adult obesity indicate that efforts made towards prevention are having effects on the population nationwide. In recent years, there have been several public health campaigns launched, which have proven effective. There was great emphasis made on encouraging adolescents to keep active and maintain a balanced nutritional diet. The school board has even played a role in reducing childhood obesity by designing healthier school menus and changing the types of food served in their vending machines.
Although evidence clearly shows that there has been improvement made in the United States, it is my belief that we are still far away from our goal as a nation. The United States still remains second amongst all nations worldwide in regards to obesity. More emphasis has to be focused on making healthier choices and encouraging physical activity amongst adults and adolescents. Evidence has proven that those individuals who maintain healthier lifestyles by eating a balanced nutritional diet and exercising daily are less likely to develop chronic diseases. Although I am encouraged by the progress that has been made, I still believe that as a nation we must make significant steps in the coming years to improve the quality of health in the United States.
About the Author:
Shannon Charles is a graduate of Florida International University, where he obtained a masters degree in Public Health with a specialization in health policy & management. Since graduating from FIU, he has worked in the health field as a product service specialist for the University of Miami Tissue Bank, and as an area manager for Community Blood Centers of Florida. He enjoys all aspects of public health including: health disease and prevention, epidemiology, and health policy. He has aspirations of one day working for a health agency geared towards improving the quality of healthcare in the United States.