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Prevalence of Obesity among Women

Obesity is quickly becoming a widespread global epidemic that is infiltrating all levels of society regardless of culture, income level or gender. Because of the health risks associated with obesity, this magnitude of epidemic puts tremendous stress on public health resources.

The American Obesity Association (AOA) states that “More than half of adult U.S. women are overweight, and more than one-third are obese.” The National Center for Health Statistics determined that over a 10 year period from 1990 to 2000, the prevalence of obesity among women in the U.S. increased by as much as 10 percent.

Factors Related to Obesity in Women

The National Center for Health Statistics has outlined some factors that appear to be related to obesity in women. These factors are: age and socioeconomic status.

  • Obesity and Age – Statistics show that women are more likely to become overweight as they become older and middle-age women are at the highest risk of becoming obese. Factors contributing to weight gain in ageing women include a natural decrease in metabolic rate, less physical activity, and menopause.
  • Obesity and Socioeconomic Status – A researcher at the University of Washington named Adam Drewnowski tried to explain why people with low incomes were at a higher risk of obesity. What he determined was that much of the foods that are low in cost are processed foods that are high in sugar and fats. Other socioeconomic factors contributing to obesity low-income neighborhood barriers to physical activity, such as limited opportunities for daily walking or physical activity and reduced access to stores that sell healthy foods, especially large supermarkets.

Health Effects Associated with Obesity in Women

There is a number of health effects associated with obesity in women. These adverse health effects include arthritis, birth defects, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, cardiovascular disease, gallbladder disease, infertility, incontinence, and diabetes.

How to Reduce the Prevalence Obesity in Women

There are a number of things that could be done to reduce the prevalence of obesity in women. The most important would be to make education about weight loss, weight management, nutrition and exercise available to all women regardless of socioeconomic status. Furthering this would be to provide free health and wellness programs for women who are struggling with obesity or being overweight.