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Obesity - Who's to blame No.2

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Biology Case Study-Who is to blame for obesity?? Introduction As the increase of illnesses and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, even depression and many more continue there appears to be one common factor amongst many of the sufferers-obesity. But who is to blame for this problem? Is there any one source we can pin the responsibility to, or is it a mixture of many? In January 2008 nearly a quarter of adults in the UK were obese, as were 24% of children between the ages of 2 and 15. What is Obesity? A definition of obesity from http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/articles/article.aspx?articleId=265&sectionId=1 describes obesity as being a condition where "a person is carrying too much body fat for their height and sex." This happens when a person eats more calories than they are burning off over a period of time. At this weight it has increased so much it is the point of endangering their health. Healthcare professionals all over the world use BMI checks to discover whether a person is of a healthy weight, underweight, overweight or obese. Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by dividing weight (in kilograms) by height (in metres squared.) I have included a recommended BMI chart from the cancer research website http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/healthyliving/obesityandweight/bodymassindex/ * under 18.5 is underweight * 18.5-25 is healthy weight * 25-30 is overweight * 30-35 is obese * Over 35 is morbidly obese. Obesity: Caused by Parents? Lightspeed Research performed a global survey in June 2006 which revealed that nearly 3 out of every 4 respondent blamed parents for the rise of obesity in children. ...read more.


Sarah Leibowirz, a neurobiologist at Rockefeller University, New York also agrees with this theory, that the exposure to fatty foods might change the hormonal system to crave more fat. She also has performed studies on rats, and these have also shown that whilst the rats were fed on a high fat diet, they became more resistant to leptin-the hormone that stops eating. This suggests that early exposure to these fatty foods can "reconfigure" children's bodies so they always chose fatty foods, or predispose them to always needing fatty products. However, as Dr. Hannah Theobald, a nutrition scientist from the British Nutrition Foundation states "It's hard to translate the findings...as they've been carried out on rats in the laboratory." This suggests that it is hard to create any firm conclusions from this evidence, as there are many other factors to consider, and there is a vast difference in the behaviour of humans and rats. Obesity: Caused by Technology? Technological advances could be another cause of the epidemic. People are becoming lazy, as there is no need to walk anywhere as many households in the UK own their own car, with many families owning more than two. And it is not just the advances in vehicle technology that can be to blame. Computer games and television means that people spend less time doing sporting activities and going out, as they, especially children, prefer to be at home on their numerous games consoles. ...read more.


Binge eating causes a surge of blood glucose, which stimulates the pancreas into producing insulin - a hormone naturally produced by the body to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. This means that after the initial high, blood sugar levels actually fall rapidly, which sends a false message to the brain that we need more food in order to top up glucose levels. Cravings for sugary foods that will provide a quick glucose fix continue, and binge eaters may therefore consume large quantities of food even when not hungry. Obesity: Caused by schools? There are many reasons as to why schools could be blamed for obesity, both direct and indirect. Reasons such as; school dinners, packed lunches, the school journey or just a lack of physical exercise during the school day. One study found that less than half the children asked walked to school or did exercise at break or lunch, with girls having the least inactivity. Parents tend to overindulge their children whilst packing a school lunch, wanting their children full so they can concentrate their best. However, many lunchboxes lack the healthy elements, fruit and salad and yogurts being replaced by crisps and chocolate bars. Even the substantial foods such as sandwiches are being left out. On the other hand, the school dinners have rapidly improved in quality, with the government having a lot of control over what foods are served. People such as Jamie Oliver have also made a large difference recently in the health quality of school food provided, impacting not only the food served, but the quality of it, especially meats, and also ...read more.

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