Globally, there is a rising prevalence of overweight and obesity in both developing and developed countries. The rate of obesity has tripled in developing countries over the past 20 years as they rapidly become more urbanized. This is accompanied by increased consumption of high-calorie foods and the adoption of a more sedentary lifestyle. Some studies observed that first-year university students have significant weight gain, followed by ongoing slow but steady weight increase. Maintaining good health while studying is a major key to success for international students. For this reason, we will examine the health effects of obesity on international students.
Obesity is a medical condition that occurs when a person carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health. A doctor will usually suggest that a person has obesity if they have a high body mass index. Obesity is a serious medical condition that can cause complications such as metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease. It also causes diabetes, high blood cholesterol, cancers, and sleep disorders. Obesity increases the chances of developing health risks and is clearly associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
How obesity affects International Students.
Social Issues: There is a link between social issues and obesity. Insufficient funds to purchase healthy foods or lack of safe places to walk or exercise can increase the risk of obesity. Obese international students generally display more emotional difficulties than their non-obese counterparts. Moreover, it affects their social skills and makes them feel inferior to other students. Obese students can have difficulty participating in some sports activities due to the high weight of their body. This deprives them of the opportunity to relate freely and make friends.
Unhealthy Diet: Most Americans’ diets are high in calories, are fast foods and are high-calorie beverages. Diet’s high in calories, lacking in fruits and vegetables, are fast foods laden with high-calorie beverages and oversized portions cause weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight through diet and exercise is one way to prevent or reduce obesity. In some cases, a person may need surgery.
Causes of Obesity
- Weight gain occurs when people eat too much food with too little physical activity.
- Some Americans have less access to stores and markets that provide healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables. This happens especially in rural, minority and lower-income neighbourhoods.
- Restaurants, snack shops, and vending machines provide food that is often higher in calories and fat than homemade foods.
Other causes include
- There is too much sugar in our diet. Research reveals that 6 out of 10 adults drink at least 1 sugary drink per day.
- It is often easier and cheaper to get less healthy foods and beverages.
- Access to parks and recreation centres may be difficult or lacking and public transportation may not available.
- Safe routes for walking or biking to school, work, or play may not exist.
The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity
People with obesity are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions. They include the following:
- All-causes of death (mortality).
- High blood pressure (Hypertension).
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia).
- Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
- Stroke and gallbladder disease.
- Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint).
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems.
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver).
- Low quality of life.
- Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
- Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning.
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight
A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or healthy eating plan. Choosing the right diet helps you to maintain a good weight.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020, a healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
- Stays within the daily calorie needs.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer foods high in fat and sugar.
- Drink more water instead of sugary drinks.
- Limit TV watching in kids to less than 2 hours a day and don’t put one in their room at all.
- Promote policies and programs at school, at work, and in the community that make the healthy choice the easy choice.
- Try going for a 10-minute brisk walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week.