Every part of the world is reeling under the weight of particular problems. Of course there is no uniformity in the problems that particular parts of the world are suffering from. This is because the occurrence of some problems is dependent on geographic location, racial composition population etc. This definitely explains the variations in the steps taken by particular groups of people or even the legislative structures that have been put in place to curb particular problems.

However, if there is one problem that has been cross cutting all those divisions of race, age, geographical location, creed and religion etc, then it has to be obesity. Quite a large number of people may be surprised to have this as a problem. In fact many people even when they have it have been in denial. One of the most affected groups of people is the youth and especially those in colleges. This may be attributed to the free lifestyle that characterizes these institutions. While many people would look at obesity as a disease, it is important to acknowledge that it actually is a lifestyle disorder. That could explain its prevalence in the institutions.

Obesity defined

Obesity, also referred to as being overweight is the excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat in an individual thereby putting his or her health at risk. This condition is measured using BMI or Body Mass Index. BMI expresses an individual’s weight (expressed in kilograms) per his or her height squared. The height is in meters. An individual whose BMI I is equal to or more than 30, he or she would generally be considered obese. In addition, individuals whose BMI is 25 or more would be considered overweight. While obesity may not be considered quite a serious condition, it is actually on e of the key risk factors as far as several chronic diseases are concerned. These include cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Who does it affect?

Although this problem was at one time considered to be a problem affecting only the high income individuals, there has been a shift in this tendency with low as well as middle income individuals becoming victims if they could be called so. This is especially in urban setting, which explains why college students are some of the highly affected.

How widespread and for how long has it been in existence?

Initially, obesity was not considered much of a problem. After all, it was not so widespread and therefore even its being a risk factor had not been recognized as such. However, as early as 1961, fears had been raised as to the dangers of leading particular lifestyles especially on sweets, alcoholic beverages and no exercises schedules.

Currently, studies show that about 50%of all the Americans are beyond the ideal weight. In most cases, this excess weight does not come in form of muscle mass but rather body fat.

What is its cause in the college?

There are numerous reasons why obese cases in college have been on the rise in the recent times. These include the following.

Consumption of vast amounts of calories- recent times have seen an increase in the amounts of foods that individuals eat. Testament to this is the number of fast food canteens sprouting up everywhere all of which make quite a good kill. With our lives getting busier every day, making healthy meals has become a bit of a herculean task and therefore fast foods become the only alternative. They definitely happen to be quite tasty and therefore every time we have some few coins we end up going for them. Eventually, the calories intake exceeds the amounts needed by the body in the long term. The excess energy would be stored in our body cells in form of sugar and fat which outwardly comes as being overweight or obese.

Not having enough sleep- this is quite common for many college students. With all the assignments and the busy lives for those who work part time, sleep becomes more of a luxury rather than a necessity. Research has shown a link between obesity and sleep deprivation. This is due to the increased appetite that results from hormonal changes. When an individual does not have enough sleep, he or she would produce a hormone called Ghrelin which stimulates appetite. In addition, less Leptin would be produced. Leptin is a hormone known to suppress appetite.

Leading inactive lifestyles- while we all appreciate the technological advancement made in various fields, we must admit that it has changed our lifestyles in ways that are less than desirable. With remote controls, dish washers, washing machines, computers and televisions, most people even in colleges have become inactive. Simple activities like walking to the shops, classes and even home from school have become alien. Many of us would rather take a lift to a class in second floor rather than take the stairs. We definitely prefer to drive to school and the shopping malls even when they are a half a mile away rather than walk down there. The less activity the fewer the amounts of calories burnt. In addition, physical activity has a bearing in the functioning of the hormones which in themselves have a bearing on how food is dealt with in the body.

Previous efforts made to contain the problem

On acknowledging that overweight and obesity were interfering with the lives of many students, quite a large number of efforts were made to contain the problem. The most significant ones included

Counseling and raising awareness on the lifestyle changes that we need to incorporate in order to contain the problem

Equipping our health care centers with medications for helping the affected individuals to lose weight.

These two are definitely well meant efforts. However, even the well structured strategies can flop and these were no different. While it is arguable whether they were effective, the gradually rising cases of obesity prove that more efforts need to be made with better strategies being devised.

Counseling on life changes that individuals need to take would only be effective if active measures are taken to enforce these changes. In this case, the counseling and raising awareness efforts ended up like any other class work material.

As for provision of medication, you will acknowledge that the approach is quite simplistic. This would have been enough to endear it o the people. However, it was understood that some of the medications are habit forming. In addition they have undesirable side effects not to mention the high probability of regaining the weight one lost.

Suggested solutions

While there may not be any solution per se that may effectively address the problem, it is worth noting that adoption a holistic approach would be quite imperative. In my opinion, three solutions would be effective in dealing with the problem. These are explained below

Offering food combinations containing vegetables at reduced prices in order to enhance affordability- vegetables have been found to be very effective in enhancing sliming. Some like cabbages contain valuable chemicals known as tartaric acid that inhibits conversion of carbohydrates and sugars into fat. The essence of lowering the cost of foods that contain veggies is to give an incentive to the students to eat more of these and preferably substitute the fat ridden fast foods. Given the need to save an extra coin, the students will be enticed to take more veggies.

Minimize the fast food stores in the campus to discourage students from buying junk food- in most cases, the students do not get into the fast food stores because they really need to eat there. It is due to the convenience of these stores which always entices the students into buying there. By reducing their numbers in the university, it will definitely be less convenient for the students to go to the fast food stores. In any case, even if they do o there, chances are that they will have to queue for long which may discourage many from frequenting these places.

The university should regulate PE classes making it mandatory for individuals to attend them as a condition to graduating from college- one of the main causes of obesity is the sedentary lifestyles that most of us are leading whether due to pretty arguable reasons or not. That notwithstanding, physical activities have been found to be quite effective not only in helping burn calories in our bodies but also in the production of hormones that control how food is dealt with once ingested. Incorporating the PE lessons as part of the “curriculum” means that you are increasing the opportunities for them to expend the excess fat or sugars that would have accumulated in the body.

Basis of the solutions

As stated earlier, no single treatment would be sufficient to address obesity as an issue. The problem would only be addressed by comprehensive strategy that looks into the various aspects of the problem. This is especially as to the causes of the problem. This is what the three combined solutions attempts to do. It is important to acknowledge that the three solutions should be looked at as one and not in isolation. Decreasing the number of fast food stores reduces the incentive or temptation of the students to go seeking them. In case they actually do, they may end up queuing for long (which is an exercise on itself).

Even if the number of fast food store is reduced, the students will still need to eat. This is where the lowered prices of food combinations offering veggies comes in. It would fill the vacuum left by the reduced fast foods. This strategy discourages students from taking fast foods while encouraging them to take foods that combine veggies. It is a diet substitutions strategy.

There are definitely instances when the students will succeed in eating more calories than they eat. While this may not be prevented, it will be taken care of by the physical activities made mandatory where the students will burn excess fat.

As you may acknowledge, the three strategies provide a holistic solution addressing all the aspects with each solution covering the loopholes of the other solution.

Expected opposition

These solutions draw opposition in the fact that the students would still get the fast foods if they so wanted from outside sources. True as this may be, the idea here is to minimize the incentive or the temptation to go to them since they will be fewer.

As for lowering the prices of food combinations that have veggies, there are arguments that absolutely no one will be forced to take the food. However, with the reduced chances of going for fast foods and the lowered prices of foods with veggies, students being rational consumers will eventually go the Veggies’ way thereby yielding success for the program.

Making mandatory the engagement in PE may seem to be a herculean task. However, it I still enforceable when the students know that they will not graduate if they do not participate in the PE.

Conclusion

Obesity, while quite a big problem is a lifestyle disorder. Studies have shown that the most effective ways of addressing it are through lifestyle changes. In most cases, we as a people may not take that first step and therefore we need positive reinforcement (incentive) as well as have active measures taken to combat the problem.

References

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/http://hassam.hubpages.com/hub/ObesityCauses-Effects-And-Treatment – Obesity:Causes,Effects And Treatment

http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/remedy/Obesity.html – Obesityhttp://www.healthscout.com/ency/68/179/main.htmlHYPERLINK “http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/prescription.htm”http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/prescription.htm

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