Being overweight and obese is a problem that has increased quite rapidly in the last 2 decades along with the awareness of its apparent dangers. In addition to the social stigma attached to being overweight and issues one can experience with self esteem and the physical limitations - being overweight is unhealthy and will put you at a greater risk of heart disease and other adverse conditions.
Particularly in developed countries we have witnessed an alarming increase in the number of children and young adults who are overweight and/or have developed associated conditions and diseases.
There are many side effects to this problem including the associated costs and pressure on individuals and government health systems.
Much of what is now considered by many as an obesity epidemic is blamed on the trend in the last few decades towards unhealthy eating habits and an inactive lifestyle.
The last few decades has seen a major shift from home cooked meals to more convenient ways of satisfying hunger or feeding of the family. This often means, fast food, takeaway or pre-packaged meals.
These foods, more often then not are laden with an excess of the things that are bad for us and low or devoid of thing things our bodies require.
The range of choices available to consumers for these types of food is extensive. Sadly, unhealthy eating can become a habit that is passed down from parent to child and as they turn into young adults they may not be aware of the benefits of better food.
If healthy eating habits have not been instilled in people at a young adult, they may find it difficult to make the change should they try. A bad diet at a young age can not only affect a child's development and social standing, but may even result in the development of serious related conditions at a young age.
Major changes to the way children are entertained and how they communicate has resulted in a more sedentary lifestyle, an undeniable factor in obesity. Some of the most popular activities that children overindulge in on a regular basis include television, video games and the internet which all involve hours and hours of physical inactivity.
This detracts from activities that previously may have involved being in the outdoors to meet friends and occupy themselves in other ways.
We are in a time where there is more awareness over the gravity of obesity and its effect on the health of society.
At any age there is the stigma that comes with being overweight and the social and self esteem issues that stem from this. Being overweight is going to have an effect on the psychological development of any individual.
Some of the better known weight related conditions include diabetes, heart conditions and cancers. These conditions that are heavily associated with being overweight receive a lot of media attention and there is a lot of encouragement, education and awareness involved with such conditions and the dangers of being overweight.
As a community, the awareness has resulted in governments and other bodies taking specific steps to address the issue. Programs in targeted towards schools and the youth are being pushed to ensure that they eat more correctly and are more active.
An example of this in mainstream media is the Changes celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver made in England in respect to the state of school dinners. The concept of weight loss also makes for marketable programming such as the series "Biggest Loser" which has a number of world wide versions.
Like with many problems, recognizing that they exist is the first step and with obesity this has certainly become the case. Though it maybe too late for many people already, the steps that are being put into place and the awareness of parents can lead to a return to lower obesity levels amongst the young generation.