Obesity seems to be an issue not only in the United States, but worldwide as well. There are many factors that play a role in obesity, including the food choices that people make as well as the use of technology. 65% of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese (Pellegrini, 2012). The advances in technology today has both advantages and disadvantages with obesity as well as prevention and treatments for the disease. Obesity causes may health issues including “the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease (CHD), and an increase incidence of certain forms of cancer, respiratory complications such as obstructive sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis of large and small joints” (Kopelman, 2015). In a study that was performed, the risk of death between 26-42 years of age increases by 1% for each pound and between the ages of 50-62 it increases by 2%.
However, there are many factors that play a role in obesity among children, teens, and adults today. These factors range from the food choices such as fast food to the use of technology. Technology seems to be related to the cause of obesity in a negative way. A study was performed of times spent on play video games, watching television, and using the computer among adolescents. Body mass index (BMI) and weekly physical activity was also taken into account during the survey. The results were of the adolescents, “14.5% were overweight and 2.7% obese”. The results are that many children, teens, and adults are spending too much time behind a computer screen and not enough time doing physical activities. It is recommended to spend at least 60 minutes doing moderate physical activity 5 days out of the week. On average, 40% of teens spend 3 or more hours watching television and only 33% of those teens have physical education classes in school. It is proven that girls tend to be less active than boys when they become teenagers. Studies have also been conducted showing if the child’s parents were involved in exercising, then the child would most likely enjoy physical activity.
There are also some advantages with the use of technology when it comes to the disease of obesity. There is an approach with a mobile game to help persuade childhood obesity. This application is called MACO. The purpose of this game application is to help children make healthy lifestyle choices by eating healthy food and to be physically active. “Persuasive technology is often developed to shift the attention of people to particular information to modify their thoughts and actions” (Almonani. 2014). The goal of the MACO game is to provide a fun game where children are motivated to start exercising and choose healthy foods to eat. There are two components to the game. The first one shows what foods are healthy to eat, when it is time to eat, and being active. The second component includes two games; healthy food and physical activity games.
Mobile health (mHealth) is another technology approach to help prevent childhood obesity. This application provides preventions and intervention efforts for obesity and can be used for any age group. mHealth is used as a data collection device, assessment tool, and provides interventions for obesity. It also provides “self-monitoring behavior and real time surveillance techniques” (Tate, 2013). There are many advantages when using this application. Instead of using face-to-face methods, behavior interventions can be used with the mobile application instead. Secondly, behavior data is collected in real time and this allows feedback to automatically be sent back quickly such as exercise data.
There are many preventions to help curb the disease of obesity. People can start by making healthy food choices instead of going to the nearest fast food restaurant. Exercising is also a great method to use to prevent obesity. Whether it is walking for 30 minutes a day to doing a full workout. The key is to be active at some point throughout the day and week. The technology based applications for weight loss interventions are also a great tool. MACO and mHealth are great applications that can be used for the prevention of obesity.
There are several treatment plans that are available for patients that are obese. The most common treatment is reducing the size of the stomach to limit the intake of calories and to help the patient feel full earlier. This treatment is done by “creating a smaller gastric pouch within the stomach directly from the interior of the stomach itself” (Sutton, 2013). A pylorplasty procedure can also be performed to treat obesity. This helps reduce the pyloric sphincter incompetent. Lastly, a gastric bypass procedure may also performed. This helps curb obesity by making fats and sugars bypass the stomach and go directly to the bowel.
The percentage of people in the United States who are overweight or obese is high and it continues to climb. It seems that children in this generation are more prone to being obese because of the technology that surrounds them. Children would rather be inside playing video games and watch television than being outside and exercising. This is one downside of technology. However, technology can also be used to help prevent or treat obesity. There are applications that can be downloaded on phones or tablets that can persuade children as well as adults to exercise and eat healthy. mHealth seems to also be a great application that can be used. There are also many treatment plans that can be performed to help curb obesity and create a healthier lifestyle such as gastric bypass surgery. The best prevention to obesity is to just have a healthy lifestyle and exercise at least five times a week for thirty minutes. If people could commit to this, then the obesity and overweight percentage would be maintained and decrease.
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