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Obesity as a Global Problem of Modern Society

Obesity Is a Disease, Not a Choice

Obesity is characterized by WHO as a non-communicable epidemic of the 21st century. More than a billion people on the planet are overweight, and 300 million of them are obese.

Obesity Is a Disease, Not a Choice

  • About 39% of the world’s adult population is obese.
  • In developed countries, more than 17% of adolescents and more than 20% of children are obese.
  • Childhood overweight is a significant factor in adult obesity
  • 50% of children who are overweight at the age of 6 become obese in adulthood
  • In adolescence, this probability increases to 80% (Overweight prevalence by age worldwide 2019 | Statista, 2019).

WHO views obesity as a global epidemic affecting millions of people. This problem is becoming more and more urgent and begins to pose a social threat to the life of people regardless of their social and professional background, area of residence, age, and gender.

Many people think that obesity is a lifestyle disease caused by laziness. However, it is not true since it has much deeper causes. This problem is not a reason for ridicule but for decisive action. This is a large-scale issue, so it is important to clarify what are the ways to deal with it.

Negative Outcomes of Obesity

The significance of the obesity problem is determined by the threat of disability in young patients and a decrease in the total life expectancy due to the frequent development of severe concomitant diseases. They include:

  • type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • arterial hypertension;
  • dyslipidemia;
  • atherosclerosis and related diseases;
  • reproductive dysfunction;
  • cholelithiasis;
  • osteochondrosis.

Obesity reduces resistance to colds and infectious diseases, as well as sharply increases the risk of complications during surgery and injuries. It reduces life expectancy by an average of 3-5 years with a slight excess weight and up to 15 years with severe obesity (GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators, 2017).

In almost two cases out of three, a person’s death occurs from a disease associated with impaired fat metabolism and obesity.

Most of these individuals suffer not only from illness and limited mobility but also from low self-esteem, depression, and other psychological problems due to discrimination and isolation that exist concerning them in society.

Stakeholders Need to Address This Issue

The attitude towards obese people is often inadequate. It is believed that obesity is a punishment for laziness. Therefore, the treatment of obesity is everyone’s own business (Weihrauch-Blüher et al., 2018).

However, this is a huge social problem that needs to be addressed by society, consumers, healthcare professionals, policymakers, nutrition experts, employers, and other stakeholders.

The problem of obesity in modern society is quite relevant and socially significant. Modern society provokes unintentional obesity in its citizens by promoting the consumption of high-calorie foods. At the same time, thanks to technological progress, a sedentary lifestyle is stimulated. These factors have contributed to the rise of obesity. However, all the stakeholders, from consumers to policymakers, need to understand the acuteness of the problem, get knowledge about it, and change the situation together.

Raising Public Awareness

The social significance of this problem is that severely obese persons:

  • can hardly get a job;
  • experience discriminatory restrictions on promotions;
  • have daily household inconveniences;
  • have restrictions on movement, the choice of clothing, and carrying out hygiene measures.

Public consciousness is still far from the notion that obese people are sick, and the cause of their illness is often not an unbridled addiction to food but complex metabolic disorders leading to excessive accumulation of fat and adipose tissue (Weihrauch-Blüher et al., 2018).

Society has not yet finally realized the need to create and implement programs for the prevention of obesity. Although recently, the risk factors and risk groups for the development of this disease have practically been determined, their use in prevention is still limited.

Obesity Prevention Strategies

Programs should be created to change the behavior of children and adults with regard to physical activity and nutrition. These should include political, informational, and advisory activities.

It is necessary to introduce a unified system for assessing physical development in accordance with WHO recommendations and prepare health workers to use this system along with effective counseling.

The media should also be called upon to improve the knowledge of the population about the need for physical activity and the availability of appropriate resources, as well as realize their social responsibility for shaping the population’s behavior (Lavie et al., 2018).

The governments of developed countries are beginning to allocate funds for the creation and implementation of such programs as the prevention of hypertension, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease (Lavie et al., 2018).

The pathogenesis of these diseases is closely intertwined with the pathogenesis of obesity. It would be advisable to build programs for the prevention of overweight as an integral part of programs for the prevention of hypertension, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

How Can a Health-Communication Portfolio Help Achieve the Outcomes?

Promoting healthier eating habits and reducing the prevalence of obesity, especially among vulnerable populations, could provide significant health gains.

The health-information infographic is a graphical way to present information on obesity in a concise and accessible way:

  1. Its audience – is people who suffer from overweight and obesity.
  2. Its aim – is to present information on the basic rules of a healthy lifestyle using visualization.
  3. Its message – simple recommendations can help maintain and improve health and prevent obesity.

The opinion piece is a personal opinion article that allows effectively establishing contact with the target audience:

  1. Its audience – is the readers of journals and periodicals.
  2. Its aim – through arguments and reasons, is to create viewpoints on the problem of obesity.
  3. Its message – obesity is a serious social problem despite the popular thought that it is a personal choice.


Prevention of obesity is one of the fundamental principles of health in modern society since the main cause of the high mortality rate of obese people is not obesity itself but its severe concomitant diseases.

Unfortunately, in society and the minds of some doctors, the idea is still strong that obesity is a personal problem of an individual, a direct consequence of an idle life and excessive overeating. Perhaps, for no other disease, self-medication is not practiced on such a scale as with obesity.

Almost any popular periodical gives space for a dozen tips on how to lose weight, but they are not supported by medical reasoning. That is why there is no doubt that the raising of public awareness and policy support is vital for the prevention of obesity in the world.


GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators. (2017). Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years. New England Journal of Medicine, 377(1), 13-27.

Lavie, C. J., Laddu, D., Arena, R., Ortega, F. B., Alpert, M. A., & Kushner, R. F. (2018). Healthy weight and obesity prevention: JACC health promotion series. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 72(13), 1506-1531.

Overweight prevalence by age worldwide 2019 | Statista. Statista. Web.

Weihrauch-Blüher, S., Kromeyer-Hauschild, K., Graf, C., Widhalm, K., Korsten-Reck, U., Jödicke, B.,… & Wiegand, S. (2018). Current guidelines for obesity prevention in childhood and adolescence. Obesity Facts, 11(3), 263-276.

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"Obesity as a Global Problem of Modern Society." StudyKraken, 2 Aug. 2022,

1. StudyKraken. "Obesity as a Global Problem of Modern Society." August 2, 2022.


StudyKraken. "Obesity as a Global Problem of Modern Society." August 2, 2022.


StudyKraken. 2022. "Obesity as a Global Problem of Modern Society." August 2, 2022.


StudyKraken. (2022) 'Obesity as a Global Problem of Modern Society'. 2 August.

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