Chapter 1

Overweight and Obesity: A True Global Epidemic

Bishara S. Atiyeh and Karim A. Sarhane

Abstract

Overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions, with more than 1 billion adults overweight globally. Childhood obesity is already epidemic in some areas and on a rise in others. An estimated 22 million children under age five are considered to be overweight worldwide. The rising obesity epidemic reflects profound changes in society and in the behavioral patterns of communities over the recent decades. There is a variety of factors that play a role in obesity which makes it a complex health issue to address; nevertheless, overweight and obesity are primarily diet-induced. The principal causes of the epidemic are first a sustained excess in ingestion of energy-dense foods and second an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Although obesity should be considered an avoidable chronic disease in its own right, it is also one of the most substantial key risk factors for other chronic diseases. The morbidities associated with obesity reduce a patient's quality of life and contribute to escalating medical costs.

Total Pages: 3-11 (9)

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