The widespread of obesity

For many communities, the prevalence of obesity is nothing new, and as new technologies are developed and the world becomes more interconnected, the problem only gets worse. Public health is hampered by the rapid increase in obesity in developed countries, where over 25% of the population is obese. If no preventive measures are taken in the public health and economic sectors, it is predicted that by 2020, the percentage of the obese population will have increased to over 9 percent. The percentage of the obese population has increased dramatically from 4.2 percent in the early 1990s to 6.7 percent in 2010. Obesity in both children and adults not only results in type 2 diabetes but also to the growth of some non-communicable diseases such as blood pressure and coronary heart disease ( Wright and Louis, 731). According to world health organization reports, obesity is one of the main causes of deaths that occur globally. Besides, obesity is associated with poor performance, depression which results to long term unsuccessfulness. Despite the number of strategies formulated to curb obesity like the therapy sessions and physical exercise, Obesity is still increasing at an alarming rate.

Vegan diet refers to diet derived from plants. The diet includes all types of vegetable, beans, legumes, all types of grains and fruits. Also, a modification has been done on food that makes them qualified as vegetarian food which includes: vegetable hot dogs, vegan ice cream, vegan cheese and vegan burgers. Therefore, this paper will expound on the causes of obesity and how vegan diet can help in solving obesity by exploring various studies that address the challenges of obesity and the vegan diet.

Causes of obesity

It is widely recognized that obesity is a result of an imbalance between the energy consumption and its use, this imbalance occurs when the body is unable to make use of the calories consumed thereby stored as fats in the body. Although studies argue that the imbalance is the main cause of obesity, genetics and environmental factors is another factor that causes obesity in both children and adults (Wright and Louis, 730-732). The following are the cause of obesity:

Less physical exercise- when people fail to participate in physical exercise, the body is unable to burn the calories taken sufficiently; thus, the excess calories is stored as fats that in due time accumulate leading to weight gain a major factor to obesity. The majority of children spent most of their time in watching television and playing video games, which is accompanied by the high intake of cereals and snacks that are being advertised, thus, limiting the time for physical activities that will burn the calories intake, this behavior result to weight gain.

High intake of sugary food and beverages- sugary food have been linked to weight gain since they are less satisfying, thus, taken in large quantities resulting in a high intake of calories. High intake of calories tends to increase the body mass intake of a child since the excess calories are stored as fats which over a period become excess and result in obesity.

Genetic factors- some studies argues that genetics is the largest contributor to obesity. It is argued that twenty-five to forty percent of body mass index can be inherited. Also, genetic disorders inherited can result in issues such as indigestion of certain foods which will alter the energy breakdown as well as the way fats are stored in the body resulting in obesity in both children and adults.

Environmental factors- the unsafe surrounding and various inconveniences have denied people the freedom to have physical exercise. Due to that fact many parents prefer to drive their children to and from school, also adults prefer to drive to work and other places such as the church for fear of being harmed or kidnapped, this behavior result to insufficient burn of the calories intake leading to obesity.

sleep- poor sleep pattern and insufficient sleep results to low metabolism rate leading to weight gain, in addition, poor sleeping pattern and insufficient sleep makes a person hungry and high craving for food with high caloric content a major factor to obesity.

Pregnancy- pregnant people, tend to crave for food and snacks that contain high calories, for instance, salty snacks and fast foods such as fries. Also, pregnant consume a lot of food and don’t exercise. Thus, the excess calories are stored as fats contributing to obesity.

Prader- Willi syndrome- it is a medical condition that is associated with obesity, the condition causes an individual to have excess hunger leading to the intake of more volume of food than the recommended resulting in obesity.

Cushing’s syndrome- it is a medical condition whereby, an individual has excess cortisol hormone in the body.

Polycystic ovary syndrome- a condition that causes hormonal imbalance in the reproductive system that results in obesity in both adolescents and women.

Solving obesity with vegan diet

Consuming vegan diet is not an assurance that an individual will lose weight or control obesity, although consumption of a plant-based diet with a combination of other vegan products can yield long-term results. Some researchers have been done to find out the impact of a vegan diet to obesity control. Individuals that take only vegetables have very low amount of body fats, lower body mass index and leaner bodies compared to the individuals that consume food rich in calories and proteins.

Research conducted by Sabate and Michelle (1525), explains the relationship between vegetarian diet and obesity. The research concentrated on children. According to the research, vegan diet indicated an extremely low body mass index in comparison to other diets. Similarly, vegetarian children show a lower body mass index in comparison to the non-vegetarian children. Thus, the non-vegetarian children are vulnerable to obesity. Therefore, Sabate and Mitchelle (1527), suggest that children should be motivated to consume plant-based products to eliminate the issues of obesity in the society.

Vegan diet poses a tremendous advantage to obese children in that it reduces fats in their bodies which help to prevent heart diseases that most affects children with obesity. In a study by Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, fourteen children between the ages of nine to eighteen years volunteered to test two healthy plans (Macknin et al., 953). Random selection was done on two teams each of fourteen children in a company of their parents to either eat a plant based diet or no-fat-added diet (Macknin et al., 954).The results obtained after a month shows that the children in both groups had an overall in myeloperoxidase, a blood test that detects inflammation linked to heart disease and drastic weight loss. Although the children that took plant-based diet showed a great change in systolic blood pressure, BMI, low-density lipoprotein, and insulin level compared to the group that took the no-fat-added diet. Therefore, a recommendation of the plant- based diet as a remedy for eliminating obesity and the heart diseases vulnerability in children (Macknin et al., 958).

Despite the importance of vegan diet in controlling obesity in adults and children, many doubts arise on the nutritional value of the vegetarian diet with many studies supporting that vegetarian diet has a deficiency in some nutrients. Thus, the body lacks few nutrients that are necessary for growth and development. Therefore, it is crucial to have a comparison between the vegetarian and non-vegetarian. In a research conducted by Farmer (15), individuals with nineteen years and over were selected for the study including pregnant women and lactating mothers. The participants were clustered according to diet group which was: vegetarian versus non-vegetarian, dieting vegetarian versus dieting non- vegetarian and non-dieting vegetarian versus non-dieting non-vegetarians. From the results, the vegetarians recorded high nutrient level in fiber, iron, calcium, Niacin, thiamin and vitamin B12 in comparison to the non-vegetarian who recorded high nutrient intake in proteins, fats, and sodium, although both consumed the recommended sodium intake per individual which is 2300mg.In addition, the vegetarians had a higher intake of whole grain, legumes, and dairy products compared to the non-vegetarian (Farmer, 18). For the dieting and dieting non-vegetarians, the dieting vegetarians had a high intake of vitamins A, C and E, folate and magnesium compared to the dieting non-vegetarian in which only potassium was higher and fats intake. For the non-dieting vegetarians there was a high intake of Vitamin A, C, and E, thiamin iron, calcium, and magnesium compared to the non-dieting non-vegetarian, however, non-dieting non-vegetarian recorded higher intake of vitamin B12, zinc, niacin and saturated fats (Farmer, 22). Therefore, a vegetarian diet is recommended as a remedy for obesity and weight gain due to the sufficient supply of nutrient to the body.

A long-term remedy for child and adolescent obesity should be explored to eliminate the problem that has been a pressing in the public health and the world at large. Bonnie (192), suggest various strategies that can help resolve the issue of obesity and overweight among the children and adolescent. In his study Bonnie (192), explains the link between consumption of vegetable and fruits and body weight whereby, high intake of fruits and vegetables while avoiding intake of foods rich in fats will result in drastic weight loss. Whereas, intake of food rich in fats while avoiding consuming vegetables and fruits will highly increase the body weight of both boys and girls. Therefore, intake of fruits and vegetables in large volume is the best solution for managing weight and reduction of obesity and diseases associated with obesity and weight gain (Bonnie, 192).

Body mass index has not only been linked to mortality and diabetes but also obesity. A difference of individual’s body mass index has been identified among the vegetarians and meat-eaters. In a study conducted by spencer et al. (730) to explore the link between diet and body mass index, 37875 participants were selected, the participants included both men and women aged between 29 to 97 that were healthy. The participants were categorized into four groups according to the diet type which was: meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. From the study, meat-eaters showed the highest body mass index whereas vegans had the lowest body mass index, fish-eaters and vegetarian had intermittent and same values (Spencer et al., 732). Dietary and lifestyle elements had microscopic influence in body mass index of the four teams in both men and women; for instance, smoking showed the small difference in body mass index between the meat-eaters and vegans, a difference of 3 percent was noted. Lifestyle factors such as level of education, smoking, and physical exercise had a great influence in body mass index of women compared to men whereby the married ones had a higher body mass index. It is concluded that high intake of a vegan diet, vegetarian diet and minimal intake of a fish result to lower body mass index and reduced rate of obesity in adults globally (Spencer et al., 733).

To determine the risk associated with weight and obesity. A study was conducted by Newby (1269), to find the risk among the semivegetarian, lactovegetarian and vegan women. 55459 healthy women were selected for the study, whereby the women were asked whether they classify themselves as omnivores, semi vegetarians, and lactovegetarian or vegan women through filling a questionnaire form. The participants were clustered into three categories depending on the type of food taken; the classes were: omnivores, semivegetarian and vegan, and lactovegetarian (Newby, 1272). From the study, omnivores recorded the highest level of body mass index with 40%, semivegetarian and vegan women recorded minimum body mass index of 29 percent, and the lactovegetarian had the lowest body mass index of 25 percent. From the study, it is concluded that Vegan women had the minimal chance of being obese compared to the semivegetarian. Furthermore, the semivegetarian, lactovegetarians and vegans had the minimal chance of being obese and overweight compared to the omnivores due to the large intake of vegetable and zero fatty foods (Newby, 1274).

In conclusion, obesity and weight gain are caused by some factors which range from the medical factors such as Prader-Willi syndrome and other factors such as pregnancy. In as much as many strategies have been identified and implemented, Vegan diet can prove to work better since it provides the body with all the nutrients required. From the various studies discussed vegetarian diet shows great changes not only in weight loss but also in managing obesity in children and adults. Vegan diet manages the body mass index that is associated with diseases such as the heart disease and diabetes, as well as provides nutrition values to the body. Much effort needs to stress especially for a nutritionist to recommend a vegan diet to obese and overweight patients as well as make follow-up. The government should also support farmers so that they can be able to constantly supply all types of vegetables and fruits yearly so that seasonal vegetable and fruits can be available and plenty, through supporting irrigation by giving subsidies to the tools and equipment’s used.

Furthermore, more research should be done on the various types of foods that accompany the vegetable and fruit intake without adding weight. Besides, another mechanism can be put in place, for instance, life management technique to avoid the stress that leads to high intake of calories and food resulting in obesity and weight gain.

Annotated Bibliography

Dealer, Brie Zeltner The Plain. “Vegan Diet Benefits Obese Children, Cleveland Clinic Study Shows.”, 12 Feb. 2015, Accessed 20 Apr. 2017.

This article highlights the positives of a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle and proves that it does reduce the risk of obesity. One possible sentence I would use from this article is a quote from a pediatric doctor named Michael Macknin. He states that ‘plant-based diets are beneficial for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity," (Macklin). Many other quotes would further my argument that is present in this article.

“Eating Meat Is Linked to Obesity.” PETA, Accessed 20 Apr. 2017.

This article is an organization that is against animal cruelty. It uses a robust statistic that would be beneficial in my research paper to prove further that obesity could be solved with vegan diets. The article states that “meat-eaters have three times the obesity rate of vegetarians and nine times the obesity rate of vegans” (PETA). That is a shocking statistic that could be used in my essay to convince my audience further.

Le, Lap, and Joan Sabaté. “Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts.” Nutrients, vol. 6, no. 6, 2014, pp. 2131–2147., doi:10.3390/nu6062131.

This scholarly research journal studies the effects of vegan diets on individuals health. This group of researchers studied many different aspects of vegan, vegetarian and regular diets. They found that vegan and vegetarian diets had reduce risks of cancer and many other health benefits. I would use their finding in my paper to further back my claim and persuade the audience.

Macknin, Michael, et al. “Plant-Based, No-Added-Fat or American Heart Association Diets: Impact on Cardiovascular Risk in Obese Children with Hypercholesterolemia and Their Parents.” The Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 166, no. 4, 2015, doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.12.058.

A scholarly research journal that surveyed different groups of people and those on the plant-based diet had higher beneficial baseline changes than those on the other diet. This further proves that a plant-based diet could decrease obesity amongst the young population. I could use their findings to support my claim and show that the vegan lifestyle has many beneficial effects.

Sabate, J., and M. Wien. “Vegetarian Diets and Childhood Obesity Prevention.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 91, no. 5, 2010, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2010.28701f.

This is a scholarly research journal that had real findings that I could include into my essay. This research journal was about vegetarian diets in particular and their effects on obesity. In the conclusion of the research journal, they stated: “A plant-based diet seems to be a sensible approach for the prevention of obesity in children.” This just further proves that the diet can be done and could prevent obesity from affecting more children.

Whiteman, Honor. “Low-Fat, Plant-Based Vegan Diet 'May Reduce Heart Disease Risk' in Obese Children.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 16 Feb. 2015, Accessed 20 Apr. 2017.

This article is a short study that found in just four weeks that obese individuals that switched to a plant based diet show significant improvement. This further proves my claim that obesity might be able to be tackled with the help of a vegan diet!

Bonnie.A et al, “Recommendations for Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity” Pediatrics, 2007, 195-207.

Farmer, Bonnie. "Comparison of nutrient intakes for vegetarians, non-vegetarians, and dieters: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004." Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations (2009): 150.

Newby, P. K., Katherine L. Tucker, and Alicja Wolk. "Risk of overweight and obesity among semivegetarian, lactovegetarian, and vegan women." The American journal of clinical nutrition 81.6 (2005): 1267-1274.

Spencer, E. A., et al. "Diet and body mass index in 38 000 EPIC-Oxford meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans." International journal of obesity 27.6 (2003): 728-734.

Wright, Suzanne M., and Louis J. Aronne. "Causes of Obesity." Abdominal Radiology 37(5), 2012, 730-732.

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