Guest Contributor, Sports+Fitness Network
Faculty Director, School of Health Sciences; Associate Professor, Sports Management
The American Medical Association (AMA) has officially recognized obesity as a chronic disease (clevelandclinic.org, 2015). Obesity has been a mounting national health concern and as this problem continues, the adverse impact on the health of both our bodies and wallets will significantly increase. Obesity is defined as a person having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI is a measure of an adult’s weight in relation to his or her height, specifically the adult’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his or her height in meters. (cdc.gov, 2015)Unfortunately, according to the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA), more than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. “Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.” (jamanetwork.org, 2015) Some additional statistics of interest are provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (32.6%), and non-Hispanic Asians (10.8%).
- Obesity is higher among middle age adults 40-59 years old (39.5%) than among younger adults age 20-39 (30.3%) or adults over 60 or above (35.4%).
- Approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. (cdc.gov, 2015)
The rapid increase in obesity rates in the United States is illustrated by the maps below, which represent rates of obesity in this country since 1990.
- In 1990, among states participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 10 states had a prevalence of obesity less than 10% and no state had prevalence equal to or greater than 15%.
- By 2000, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 10%, 23 states had a prevalence between 20–24%, and no state had prevalence equal to or greater than 25%.
- In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence equal to or greater than 25%; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence equal to or greater than 30%. (cdc.gov, 2015)
It is incumbent upon the population in general and educators, in particular, to disseminate information about the history of this chronic disease as well as what this disease portends for the future of our country.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/prevalence-maps.html
Cleveland Clinic (2015). Retrieved from http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/06/obesity-is-now-considered-a-disease/
Journal of the American Medical Association (2015). Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832542
About Craig Bogar
Dr. Craig Bogar is the Faculty Director for the School of Health Sciences and an associate professor of sport management with American Public University System. He has taught sport management both on ground and online for many years. He previously worked in the College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama as a project coordinator and faculty member for pre-doctoral training. He was a college athletics director at Loyola University-New Orleans and the University of Mobile. He also coached swimming and track respectively at those institutions. In addition, he has worked as a college recreation/intramurals director. At the United States Sports Academy, he served as the Dean of Student Services, the Assistant Dean of Administration and Finance, and the Director of Administration. He also taught courses for the United States Sports Academy in the Kingdoms of Bahrain and Thailand. Dr. Bogar has a bachelor’s degree from Bryant University in Rhode Island a master’s degree from the University of Maryland and his doctorate is from the United States Sports Academy.