The Task

Groups working on this task are reminded that they must first offer an abstract or summary to introduce / induct the reader to the event before offering their answers to the questions.

1. What do you think are the reasons for the cause of this modern pandemic?

2. What are the dangers of obesity?

3. How can we counter it?

4. What does the recognition of this disease imply on the arena of medicine and health science?


 Obesity:
Obesity is an excess of body fat, and it's one of the most common health problems in the United States. About one-third of all American adults are considered to be obese. Obesity affects both adults and children. Approximately 9 million (about 15%) of American children aged 6 to 17 are obese, a percentage that has doubled since the 1960s.
Taken from

 Reasons for obesity:

Time constraints: People have very busy lives and they have no time to make nutritious meals at home. Hence fast food and other such unhealthy food is becoming more popular and as a result obesity goes on the rise.

Genetic: Some people have the misfortune of inheriting a genetic disease that will almost certainly make the person fat. However, for most people, weight control still lies with the individual.

Eating disorders: Some people binge causing them to gain weight.

Lifestyle: People who are inactive and spend most of their time being couch potatoes will gain weight if they continue being sedentary.

 Dangers of obesity:
Many health problems can arise. Examples are high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Being obese puts a person in grave danger as many potentially fatal health problems can arise.

Life expectancy decreases.

Joint problems and severe pain as ligaments in the knees are worn away.

Low self-esteem as people will feel self-conscious of their weight. May lead to depression and then suicide.

 How can we counter obesity:
Lead an active lifestyle so that fat is always being burned. Regular exercise will help keep weight down.

Modify diet: Place emphasis on more nutritious food like fruits and vegetables. Reduce intake of food such as fast food.

Raise awareness: Schools should educate their students on proper dietary habits and how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Should let students watch documentaries such as Supersize me to emphasise the effects of over-eating.

 What does the recognition of this disease imply on the arena of medicine and health science?

Attention is being brought to this disease. It should not be taken lightly hence prescription drugs are being made to counter the effects of obesity. It is a serious death causing many fatalities around the world. Hence it shows that more people are being made aware of this disease.

sharon 07a05
Meaning of obesity: increased body weight caused by excessive accumulation of fat
Some information about obesity: Obesity is made possible when the lifetime energy intake exceeds lifetime energy expenditure by more than it does for individuals of "normal weight".
When food energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, fat cells (and to a lesser extent muscle and liver cells) throughout the body take in the energy and store it as fat. The key causes are increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats and sugars, and reduced physical activity. Because being obese is more than just being a few pounds overweight, people who are obese have usually been getting more calories than they need for years.
To determine if someone is obese, doctors and other health care professionals often use a measurement called body mass index (BMI). First, a doctor measures a person's height and weight. Then the doctor uses these numbers to calculate another number, the BMI. A person with a BMI above the 95th percentile (meaning the BMI is greater than that of 95% of people of the same age and gender) is generally considered overweight. A person with a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentiles typically is considered at risk of obesity.
Obesity can run in families, but just how much is due to genes is hard to determine.

2. What are the dangers of obesity?
Globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese.

DianZhuang 07A05
What is Obesity ? By definition from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, obesity is a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body.

1. What do you think are the reasons for the cause of this modern pandemic?
What are the causes ? As with many conditions, obesity can be brought on by a range of factors, often in combination. These factors can be acquired, psychological, hereditary and also certain illnesses.


Childhood obesity results from poor eating habits. It is also caused when a person's parent(s) are obese. Fast food restaurants and junk food are popular with children. In lieu of home cooking, it has become common for parents to take their children out to eat. Even when it is not a fast food restaurant, frequent eating out often results in weight gain.
Children who do not engage in frequent physical activity are much more likely to suffer from obesity. This is said to be due in part to the recent technological developments, including video games, computers, and mobile phones. Physically inactive children are unable to burn off the calories that they gain from eating. The body will store some or all of the unused energy as fat.
Also, children in lower-income households are more likely to become overweight than those in higher-income households. Not eating breakfast is also associated with an increase in obesity.

Psychological factors

These factors influence a child's eating habits and many children eat in response to stress and or negative emotions such as boredom, anger, sadness, anxiety or depression.


Often, a child whose parents are overweight or obese will also be overweight or obese. Although this is often caused by shared unhealthy eating habits in the household, it has been suggested that there may be a genetic (inherited) predisposition toward being obese, although this is as yet unproven and research is ongoing. Many children become slightly overweight because of their body's growth pattern. Some pediatricians may still classify this as childhood obesity. Recent studies have shown that while there is evidence of in vitro influences on food choice, perhaps the largest influence can occur during the toddler years. Indeed, recent studies have shown that parents influence an estimated 72% of what and how much their children eat on a daily basis.


Conditions such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, depression and certain neurological problems can lead to obesity or a tendency to gain weight in a child. Also, drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may lead to obesity or a tendency to gain weight in a child.

Siti Suhara 07A05
Genes play a part in how your body balances calories and energy. Children whose parents are obese also tend to be overweight. A family history of obesity increases your chances of becoming obese by about 25 to 30 percent. Heredity does not destine you to be overweight, but by influencing the amount of body fat and fat distribution, genes can make you more susceptible to gaining weight. You cannot change your genetic makeup by willpower any more than you can make yourself taller or shorter by wishing. But you can still achieve your weight loss goals even with a family history of obesity.


People learn to eat and cook the way in which they were brought up. Food choices and combinations are learned very early in life. Social events and family rituals are often centered around large meals. Today's culture promotes eating habits that contribute to obesity. People may serve large portions and foods that are most readily available instead of choosing foods that are most nutritious. Cooking with butter, chocolate and other high-caloric foods is a normal part of the American diet. Also, food is often used as a reward in this country. Children are treated to sweets for cleaning their room, and the team is taken for pizza or ice cream after the game. Seldom is eating only when hunger is present.

Emotional or Psychological Factors

Food is often a source of solace or celebration. If we feel blue, we may turn to food. If we celebrate a new job or birthday, we may go out to a big dinner. If a friend is grieving, we bake them a pie. Often as children, parents told us to clean our plates. Food carries many significant memories from our past. Food may be your best friend. Food may become less important in your life after weight loss, especially if you have surgery. Weight loss will allow you to acquire new interests in your life and become more active and varied in your activities.


Muscle uses more energy than fat does. Men have more muscle than women, and burn 10 percent to 20 percent more calories than women do at rest. For this reason, women are more likely to be obese.


As you get older, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease, and fat accounts for a greater percentage of your weight. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism. Your metabolism also slows with age. Together, these changes reduce your calorie needs. If your food intake is not adjusted, you will gain weight.

Medical Problems

Less than 2 percent of all cases of obesity can be traced to a metabolic disorder, such as low thyroid function or hormonal imbalances.


Causes of Obesity

Problem 1: Diagnosing Causes For Sudden Rise in Obesity Levels
Any explanation of the root causes of the current obesity epidemic must account for its sudden appearance. Six million American adults are now morbidly obese (BMI 40+), almost twice as high as 1980 severe obesity rates, while another 9.6 million have a BMI of 35-40. The percentage of overweight children 6-11 has nearly doubled since the early 1980's. (Source: US Census 2000; NHANES III data estimates). Thus genetic causes are unlikely to be significant. Because while a predisposition to obesity can be inherited, the fact that obesity has increased so much in the last few decades appears to discount genetics as a major main cause. Also, the fact that each succeeding generation is heavier than the last indicates that changes in our environment are playing the key role.

Family Influence - A Major Contributory Cause to Obesity
Parental behavioral patterns concerning shopping, cooking, eating and exercise, have an important influence on a child's energy balance and ultimately their weight. Thus family diet and lifestyle are important contributory causes to modern child obesity, especially at a time of rising affluence. Since obese children and adolescents frequently grow up to become obese adults, it's clear that family influence also extends to adult obesity.

Genetic Causes of Modern Obesity
Genes affect a number of weight-related processes in the body, such as metabolic rate, blood glucose metabolism, fat-storage, hormones, to name but a few. Also, some studies of adopted children indicate that adopted children tend to develop weight problems similar to their biological, rather than adoptive, parents. In addition, infants born to overweight mothers have been found to be less active and to gain more weight by the age of three months when compared with infants of normal weight mothers, suggesting a possible inborn drive to conserve energy. Research has also shown that normal-weight children of obese parents may have a lower metabolic rate than normal-weight children of non-obese parents, which can lead to weight problems in adulthood. All of this suggests that a predisposition to obesity can be inherited.
However, the fact that obesity has increased so much in the last few decades appears to discount genetics as the main cause. According to Stephen O'Rahilly, professor of clinical biochemistry and medicine at Cambridge University, the influence of genetics on modern levels of obesity is insignificant:

"Nothing genetic explains the rise in obesity. We can't change our genes over 30 years."
- Source:
2. What are the dangers of obesity?

Obesity is a condition in which the natural energy reserve, stored in the fatty tissue of humans and other mammals, is increased to a point where it is associated with certain health conditions or increased mortality.

In the contemporary culture, the obese body shape is widely regarded as unattractive. Many negative stereotypes are commonly associated with obese people, such as the belief that they are lazy, stupid, or even evil, gluttony being the second of theseven deadly sins. Some of the social problems caused by obesity, are namely that obese teenagers may face a heavy social stigma. Obese children are frequently the targets of bullies and are often shunned by their peers. Obesity in adulthood can also lead to a slower rate of career advancement.

Obesity, especially central obesity, is an important risk factor for the "metabolic syndrome", the clustering of a number of diseases and risk factors that heavily predispose for cardiovascular disease. These are diabetes 2, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and triglycefride levels. An inflammatory state is present, which — together with the above — has been implicated in the high prevalence of atherosclerosis and a prothrombotic state may further worsen cardiovascular risk.

Some statistics of the danger of obesity include, an estimated 300,000 deaths per year may be attributable to obesity and individuals who are obese (BMI > 30) have a 50 to 100% increased risk of premature death from all causes, compared to individuals with a healthy weight. In short, people who are obese are more prone to most cancers and diseases, usually concerning the heart, because they are more vulnerable.

However, obesity does not only affect the person in terms of health, but also socially. An obese person will have a lower self-esteem, as they feel somewhat "uglier" and inferior compared to the thinner people. Emotional suffering can also play a huge part in obese people, as they crave to "belong" since the media and the American society often emphasizes physical appearance and often equate attractiveness with slimness, more so for women, which in turn leads to an increased cases of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. Such messages make overweight people feel unattractive.

Melissa 07A05 (: