Obesity is the state of being grossly fat or overweight and has been impacting America rapidly and continuously for a very long time. In fact, this epidemic can be traced in human record from over 20,000 years back (Bray, 2007). However, as history progressed, the perception of being overweight altered. What once was a symbol of wealth and power, is now a symbol of deficiency and infirmity. Still, obesity is more than just a pessimistic rift in social classification, condemning all those influenced by it to social alienation. More importantly than that, obesity is a harmful condition that often decreases life expectancy, impairs the normal functioning of the body, and, often times, negatively impacts an individual’s self and public image (Butsch and Ansel, 2017).
The idea that succumbing to obesity increases the likeliness of having a shorter lifespan than someone who is not obese is more than just an empty assumption. In the past two decades, the problem of increasing levels of obesity in the United States has become a major public health concern, with more than 25% of adults currently overweight and 16.9% adolescence (Flegal et. al., 1991). Although adults have a higher percentage, the smaller percentage of adolescence is more susceptible to a shortened life expectancy than their older counterparts. Evidence has emerged to suggest that the relationship between obesity and mortality may differ by age. In fact, some researchers even found that there is a trend of lower death rates amongst older obese individuals (Bender et. al., 1999; Lindsted and Singh, 1997). Following along with that trend, other researchers have found that obesity tends to effect the life expectancy of younger adults more so than it does older adults (Fontaine et. al., 2003; Thorpe and Ferraro, 2004). This implies is that obesity might not have as large an impact on the mortality of older individuals as much as it does young adults or adolescents. However, the same studies that implied this interjected that although older adults are less exposed to mortality than young adults, they are more exposed to developing a disability or mobile limitation (Davison et. al., 2002). These studies and speculations all come together to support the idea that obesity has the potential to become, if not fatal, then literally crippling. However, it doesn’t end here. The prospect that obesity can cause the development of physical limitations raised another question. Can obesity also generate mental limitations too? Well, despite the discrimination that an overweight person may be subjected to in the general population, they show no greater psychological disturbance than non-obese individuals do. Likewise, obese patients seen for medical or surgical procedures generally show no more psychopathology than do non-obese patients. The only obesity-related psychiatric disturbances that were observed included disparagement of body image and negative emotional reactions to dieting (Wadden and Stunkard, 1985). The scientist of this study, Wadden and Stunkard, then proceeded to speculate that poor emotional responses to dieting may be responsible for the increased incidences of bulimia and anorexia observed in this country in recent years. They made this speculation because the trend shows that women, adolescent girls, and the morbidly obese appear to suffer the most deleterious consequences of society’s contempt for the obese.