Impact on Health and Wellbeing

Obesity is referred to as a complex disorder which includes excessive storage of fat in the body resulting in increased weight. In relation to this, the essay will focus on areasrelated to health and wellbeing regarding obesity and defining how obesity can affect an individual’s health and wellbeing. The essay will also aim to discuss current global and national policy initiatives related to addressing obesity. It will also discuss factors that can lead to obesity and positive and negative aspects regarding the individual’s health and wellbeing.

According to Pasco, Brennan and Kotowicz (2013), it can be argued that obesity levels have increased both in the United Kingdom (UK) and globally in adults and children (British Nutrition Foundation (BNF, 2019). In 2014 alone 62% of adults in the UK were classified as being overweight with their Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or above, compared to 53% 20 years earlier. (SpencerandRajmil, 2016).Thus, it indicates that a concerning number of people in the UK are facing obesity. These statistics have informed the choice of the topic, so that the factors contributing to the increased risk of the disorder can be identified to take effective steps in resolving them.


In England, it is reported that 9.5% of the children within 4-5 years of age are obese with 12.8% being overweight. The children who are living in deprived areas in the UK are found to be more likely to become obese. This is evident as 6.4% of the children between 4-5 years of age in the least deprived areas are obese compared to 12.4% children of the same age in the most deprived areas in the UK (, 2018). These statistics informed by the government of the UK indicate that adults, as well as children, are equally vulnerable to experience obesity. In addition, the UK government has identified that high levels of obesity in deprived areas may be due to lack of effective healthcare intervention and opportunities (, 2018). ). According to Cook (2017), obesity can be seen to be a leading progressive public health concern both in the UK and worldwide. The British Fertility Society states that obesity acts as a major factor in creating infertility in women (, 2007). The current statistics informs that 31% of women in the UK are overweight while 30% are obese (, 2018).

The World Health Organistaion (WHO) states that adults above the age of 18 years are usually found to be more obese in nature and currently 39% of the adults over the age of 18 years are overweight and 13% are obese as per 2016 records. In 2016, 41 million children who are above the age of 5 and 340 children between 5-19 years of age are found to be obese as per global statistics (WHO, 2018). These statistics indicate that globally huge numbers of people are obese and thus obesity can be considered as vital health disorder as WHO has informed that obesity and being overweight kills more people than underweight individuals (WHO, 2018). This is because increased storage of fats in the body leads to the development of different health complication such as Type 1 and 2-diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), high blood pressure, breathing problems and others (The Nuffield Trust, 2019).Thus, to develop strategies to avoid negative impact of obesity among the global population as well as develop strategies for lowering the alarming rate of the disease the topic has beenchosen to be discussed because it would lead to help the individuals of the global population live a healthy life.

The WHO statesthat individuals with BMI rate above 25 are regarded as overweight and pre-obese where as people with BMI rate 30-35 are regarded as Class I obese, 35-40 as Class II obese and above 40 as Class III obese (WHO, 2018). In Latin American countries along with China, Mexico, Brazil and elsewhere in the world shows that consumption of heavily processed junk foods with added sugars, salts and carbohydrates; grain-based desserts, savoury snacks high in fat content and other nature of similar food intake has grown at a rapid rate (Silberman et al. 2017; Moreno-Altamiranoet al. 2014; Popkin and Reardon, 2018). The intake of these kinds of food has contributed to raise obesity among adults and children as the increased intake of fats results the body store extra fat within the body leading the person to gain weight. In addition, the added sugars and carbohydrates contribute to excess gaining of fat in the body and in a drastic manner leading the individuals to gain weight and become obese(Stanhope, Lei et al. 2016).

The junk foods promote overeating among individuals leading them to face obesity (Finlayson, 2017). This is because addedsugar and fat present in the foods acts as rewards in the brain that leads the person to consume an increased amount of such foods to get more pleasure exposing the body to become vulnerable to increased amount of extra fats consumed adding to the weight of the body. The aggressive marketing of the junk foods by the companies leads to influence the children as well as adults to prefer eating processed foods.It leads to obesity among individuals because attractiveimages and content areshown in the advertisement that lures people to eat such foods without having knowledge regarding the way it is going to adversely affect their health as such information is not revealed in the promotions (Sturm and Hattori, 2015).

The limited movement of the body along with lack of physical exercise has led to the rise of obesity in the UK. This is evident as the often UK lifestyles are sedentary with little physical activity. Children are oriented to watch television and play indoors, rather than playing outside(Franks, 2017; Wilkie et al. 2016). The limited physical exercise and movement lead to obesity because the energyentering the body through eating junk food is converted to fat, which is stored in the body resulting in weight gain.

In South America, it is seen that black women perceive being overweight as a sign of wealth and beauty as per their traditional beliefs. They do not have any knowledge or concept regarding obesity as about the way increased body weight leads individuals to become vulnerable to increased number of disease (Dandalaet al. 2018). Thus, this informs that lack of awareness regarding negative impacts of weight gain and proper concept of obesity among the black women in South America is contributing to the rise of obesity among the population. In addition, the hindered traditional belief of being overweight is healthy leading black individuals in these countries to become obese as they perceive the aspect as positive condition whereas it is actually negative making them less concerned to take steps in resolving the issue.

The obesity epidemic initially appeared to develop in the United States of America (USA) and then spread to Europe and other countries around the world that are rich in financial, food resources, but, also affected the poorest countries of the world, in particular, urban areas where individuals diet focuses upon low fat intake resulting in a diet that is based upon eating carbohydrates and sugar (Meldrum, Morris and Gambone, 2017). Obesity levels are also suspected to continue to increase in the future and it appears that the controls of current governments regarding the provision of health services of underdeveloped nations have limited access to public health services which can effectively arrest this increase (Clark et al. 2007).

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Being overweight is a contributingfactorthat has led to increase in individual’s having a higherrisk of developing serious diseases, for example,heart disease and cancers (WHO, 2014).Findings show that obesity in children has more long-term effectsregarding their physical and mental condition. According to the Health Survey for England(2015), approximately 26% of adults are obese (BMI 30 and over) including nearly 3% who are brutally obese (BMI over 40) (NHS Digital, 2016). Reasonable obesity (BMI 30-35) can shorten an individual’s life spanbyan estimated3 years, whereas,extreme obesity (BMI 40-50) canalsoshorten the individual’s lifetime by an average of 8 to 10 years. Thus, it appears that negative health will impact upon the individual and can lead to them developing CVD, hypertension and other chronic illnesses due to increasing obesity levels (NHS Digital, 2016).(Refer to Appendix 1)

There appears to be a strong connection between obesity, poverty and ethnicity. When obesity is high it can increase ill-health amongstindividuals from poor socio-economiccommunities and in certain black and ethnic minority groupswhich may result ina widening imbalance in health and social care provision (Bagade, 2015). Obesity can also be seen to be a result ofadverse social impacts such as discrimination, common exclusion and reduced earnings (WHO,2014). It is believed that when obesity increases amongst communities thatit also contributes heavily to major public health challenges nationally and internationally. When an individual is obese they are at risk of developing illnesses including, stroke andhave a low life expectancy. Obesity has variousimplications for example,financial but not limited to directcosts and benefit payments, loss of workingand social care expenses (WHO,2014).

Environmental factors regarding obesity seem to have creatednumerous variations regarding theglobal food supply which are related to the expense of productsand have led the nutritionalshift worldwide (Prentice, 2005). The decreased physical activity levels and healthof individuals over the years have contributed to approximately 66% of deaths amongst the low-income nations and this figure may increase over the years (Department of Health, Physical Activity, Health Improvement and Protection, 2011). There are ways that are recognised and believed to predict the increased obesity levelsin the near future and particularly in communities that have struggled for a long time to overcome lifestyle conditions, eating habits and theirlivelihood (NHS, Digital, 2016).

In the UK, the introduction of Fat Tax has been proposed to control the rise of increased number and intake of junk foods that are leading individuals to become overweight and obese. The Fat Tax would lead to increase in the price of the foods with an increased amount if at by 20% (, 2015). The increased price of the foods may encourage people to buy less fatty food and fruit and vegetables and therefore become less obese. In the UK, the members of parliament have proposed that increased VAT (value-added tax) is to be charged on unhealthy foods to control obesity (, 2018). This is because increased VAT like the Fat Tax would increase the price of the unhealthy foods making individuals unable to avail them due to financial constraints. However, these proposal are yet to be initiated and obesity rates are still rising at an alarming rate in the UK (, 2018)

In Latin America, to control obesity they have taken the initiativeto include taxation of increased taxation of sweetened foods, increasing open space for individuals to exercise, nutrition labelling at the front of the packaging of foods and others (Cominatoet al. 2018). These initiatives are going to cater to all individuals in the country to lower the chances of being obese. This is because increased open space would lead adults, as well as children in the country, have the opportunity to exercise in the lap of nature. In additional, nutrition labelling would lead adults and parents become aware if the food is healthy to be consumed by the children or by them helping them to avoid taking in foods with increased fats that lead to obesity. Moreover, increased taxation of added sugary foods would lead adults to avoid buying due to high prices leading the individuals in the country control their diet to avoid obesity (Pérez‐Escamilla et al. 2017).

In conclusion it can be seen that obesity is regarded as a global phenomenon, however, it does appear to be more common in developed countries of the world as compared to developing countries. Evidence does seem to suggest that research completed on obesity has resulted in findings discussing key factors such as,the individual’s day to day lifestyle, for example, eating junk food, burgers and a lack of fruit and vegetables is a key factor that can causeobesity.In addition, the sedentary lifestylesof individual’s and lack of sleep, less completion or taking part in physical activity such as sport can also lead to obesity.It is seen that steps to control obesity have been taken in the UK and other countries such as inclusion of taxes for fatty foods and unhealthy foods, creating open spaces, etc.

References 2007, British Fertility Society issues new guidelines on the effect of obesity on female reproductive health, [online]. Available from:

Cominato, L., Di Biagio, G.F., Lellis, D., Franco, R.R., Mancini, M.C. and de Melo, M.E., 2018. Obesity prevention: strategies and challenges in Latin America. Current obesity reports, 7(2), pp.97-104.

COOK, D., 2017. Obesity: New paradigms, interventions and treatment. Nurse Prescribing. 15 (7), pp. 338-343.

Dandala, P., Kolanisi, U., van Onselen, A. and Green, J.M., 2018. Black South African Women’s perceptions of obesity in the Msunduzi district of Pietermaritzburg. Journal of Consumer Sciences. 2018.pp.23-45.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, HEALTH IMPROVEMENT AND PROTECTION, 2011. Start Active, Stay Active A report on physical activity for health from

Finlayson, G., 2017. Food addiction and obesity: unnecessary medicalization of hedonic overeating. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 13(8), p.493.

FISCELLA, K. and KITZMAN, H., 2009. Disparities in academic achievement and health: the intersection of child education and health policy. Pediatrics. 123 (3), pp. 1073-1080.

Franks, P.W., 2017. Commentary: Mining gene-lifestyle interactions in UK Biobank: all that glitters isn’t gold. International journal of epidemiology, 46(2), pp.576-577.

HASLAM, D. and WITTERT, G., 2014. Fast facts:Obesity. 2nd ed. Oxford: Health Press Limited.

Lei, L., Rangan, A., Flood, V.M. and Louie, J.C.Y., 2016. Dietary intake and food sources of added sugar in the Australian population. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(5), pp.868-877.

MCLAREN, L., 2007. Socioeconomic status and obesity. Epidemiologic Review. 29, pp. 29-48.

MELDRUM, D.R., MORRIS. M.A., GAMBONE, 2017.Obesity pandemic: causes, consequences, and solutions-but do we have the will?Fertility and Sterility. 107 (4), pp. 833-839.

Silberman, M., Moreno-Altamirano, L., Hernández-Montoya, D., Capraro, S., García-García, J.J. and Soto-Estrada, G., 2017. Dietary patterns, overweight and obesity from 1961 to 2011 in the socioeconomic and political context of Argentina. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 68(1), pp.104-116.

SPENCER, N. and RAJMIL, L., 2016. Voluntary targets food companies will not end childhood obesity. The BMJ [online]. 355. Available from:

Stanhope, K.L., 2016. Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy. Critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences, 53(1), pp.52-67.

Sturm, R. and Hattori, A., 2015. Diet and obesity in Los Angeles County 2007–2012: Is there a measurable effect of the 2008 “Fast-Food Ban”?. Social science & medicine, 133, pp.205-211. 2015, Is a fat tax the only way to combat our growing epidemic of obesity?,[online]. Available:

THE NUFFIELD TRUST, 2019. Obesity: We look at how the proportion of the population who are overweight and obese changed over time [online]. Available from:

WEBBER, L., DIVAJEVA, D., MARSH, T., MCPHERSON, K., BROWN, M., GALEA, G. and BREDA, J., 2014. The future burden of obesity-related diseases in the 53 WHO European Region countries and the impact of effective interventions: a modelling study.BMJ Open.4 (7), pp. e004787.

Appendix 1:

Obesity can also be seen to be associated with educational attainment. Statistics have shown that men and women who have a lower level of educational qualifications have a greater chance of becoming obese. Fiscella and Kitzman (2009) argue that approximately 1/3 of adults (18 years of age or over) who left education without any formal qualifications are overweight compared to less than a 1/5 of adults who have qualifications achieved degree level. It does appear that educational accomplishment or levels do hand in hand with inequality, deprivation and individuals who are socioeconomically disadvantaged tend to have poorer strength and lower levels of education (McLaren, 2007).Equally, lower levels of education attainment in obese children may be caused by various factors such as; low self-esteem, bullying and discrimination (Bagade, 2015).

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