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Physiological And Socioeconomic Effects Of Obesity On The Health And Wellbeing

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The aim of this essay is to focus on obesity in adults and this essay will be exploring the physiological and socioeconomic effects of obesity on the health and wellbeing of individuals as well as its influence on the wider society. The essay will further identify and evaluate one current health promotion strategy/policy from the UK which will be Obesity in adults; Prevention and Lifestyle weight management programs NICE (2016)this is to prevent and manage obesity in the society, in order to improve quality of life for individuals. In addition, this essay will explore the role of mental health, children, and the learning disability nurse in supporting an individual to improve their quality of life through health promotion and recovery in relation to obesity.

Obesity can be defined as an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that can present a risk to health (WHO, 2018). The WHO, 2018 considers individuals with a Body Mass Index(BMI) of 30 or more as obese. According to (Muller et al, 2016) which stated that the most often used measure of body fatness is Body Mass Index (BMI), an individual’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the individual’s height in meters (Muller et al, 2016). Obesity is a clinical term used in describing excess body fat. (Department of Health 2018). Obesity is the most common problem in the UK that affects around one in every four adults; however, 26% of people are obese in England (NHS Digital 2019). Public Health England also estimated that two-thirds of adults are obese. (Public Health England, 2019). DOH (2018) stated that obesity is a major public health issue because it is associated with risk factors for a number of health problems such as heart diseases, stroke, and some cancers. It also leads to other serious conditions such as type2 diabetes. (Department of Health 2018) Obesity can also cause a lot of further problems including difficulties with daily activities and day to day problems related to obesity are breathlessness, snoring, feeling tired very often, joint and back pain, and difficulty in doing physical activities (NHS, 2019)

Obesity has many socio-economic impacts on individuals, which is considered the relationship between the social and economic factors within the society. (Kent et al, 2017) These factors include employment, education, and income. These factors influence one and another, Employment will dictate one’s income, the level of income link to the level of education, and the level of education will help dictate the employment. Socioeconomic factors affect the health and wellbeing of individuals. (Dreverand Whitehead, 2012). Individuals with lower socioeconomic status with lower income are more likely to be obese, as a result of consuming high calories food and avoiding physical activities. (Pampel et al, 2012). Those with poor education may be unemployed or in a low-paid job, which may lead to living in a deprived area, with limited access to opportunities for physical activity or shops to purchase healthy food. However, education may be the only escape from being obese (Davis and Chapa (2015) Food with a high fat and sugar content often cost less than healthier, fresh food which can be afforded by an individual with low income (Drewnowski,2015) Public Health England estimate that up to a third of working people are obese and that there are 16 million days of sickness absence each year due to obesity (Public Health England, 2018) Schmid et al (2005) confirmed that people who are obsessed are usually blamed for their situations and may be regarded to be lazy. Puhl and Brownell 2012 stated that an obese individual is more likely to face bias and stigma at the workplace, in education, and in healthcare. Women are also sixteen times more likely to report weight-related employment discrimination than men, this is because parts of the social service sector have an aesthetic labor market where body image is important as competence. (Morris, 2017)

According to the Department of Health 2018, Obesity is associated with and increases the risk number of health issues such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Obesity is a chronic metabolism disease, it is considered as one of the main risk factors of cardiovascular diseases (Poirier and Eckel 2018). Accumulation of fat in the abdomen is also considered to be a high risk of cardiovascular disease. (Banning, 2017)Physiology factors deal with the functions and activities of life or of living matter such as organs, tissues, or cells and of the physical and chemical phenomena involved. (Merrian Webstar 2017). There is an increase in developing diabetes in people who are obese, A BMI higher than 30 carries a risk five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to a BMI of 25 (Jones 2018). Obesity is linked to various health issues such as stroke, type 2diabetes, heart diseases, cancers, and eventually death if not treated at the right time (Royal College of Physicians, 2013). Obesity can is linked to atherosclerosis, (which consists of cholesterol, macrophage, and foam cells) and coronary artery disease which can lead to structural and functional changes of the heart, which causes heart failure. It is stated that fat is a metabolically active tissue, secreting various factors which are related to the development of atherosclerosis. (Jones, 2018). The changed in myocardial structure increases the risk of atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death. (Rocha and Libby, 2018). Heart diseases are common in people who are obese compared to people who are not obese. It reduced blood flow to the heart and narrowed arteries can result in a heart attack or chest pain. Also, Blood clots can formed or blocked arteries and give rise to a stroke which may eventually lead to death.

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However, in order to tackle obesity in the UK, the government implement a strategy/ policy to prevent illness and improve quality of life for individuals and the society which is called “Obesity in adults; Prevention and Lifestyle weight management program” NICE (2016). This policy entails ways of preventing adults from becoming obese and provides lifestyle weight management programs for adults who are obese. This policy is set up to help to avoid illness which is placing an increase in financial burden on health and social care services in England. An obese person is at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, cancer as well as heart diseases. (NICE,2016) Public Health England (PHE, 2015) stated, in England, a quarter of adults are obese, which are 42% of men and 33% of women are obese. However, this policy also provides individual and group lifestyles weight management services, which individuals can self refer to some healthy diet commercial or voluntary programs such as local healthy class or club. (NICE, 2016). This policy set up standards and it’s expected to contribute to improving excess weight in adults, physical activity, dietary habits, individual mental well being as well as the related quality of life. (NICE, 2016) This policy also recognizes the roles of families and carers are important in supporting adult who is obese. The health practitioners should ensure the involvement of family members and carers in the individual decision-making process to help and support adults to maintain a healthy weight and also to participate in lifestyle weight management programs for adults who are obese. (NICE, 2016) This strategy also entails the use of vending machines in the local authority and the NHS venues should be healthy food and drinks. The environment in which one lives should influence the ability to maintain a healthy weight. The NHS authority can set up an example by providing healthy food and drinks in the vending machines rather than sugary drinks on the NHS premises such as hospitals, GP surgeries, and community services (leisure centers) all these places should have a positive impact on people’s diet. Furthermore, the Department of Health is aiming to reduce the level of excess weight averaged across all adults by 2020.

The role of the nurses in society can help reduce and prevent obesity, according to the NMC (2019) Code of Conduct nurses should promote health and prevent illness. The rates of obesity are higher in individuals with severe mental health and this is due to lack of active lifestyles, poor diet, effects of medication as well as alcohol misuse. Mental health nurse has a duty of care to care for patients who are suffering from a mental illness or psychological distress, this may include dysfunction or mental disorder, anxiety, eating disorder, depression, self-harm, schizophrenia, and psychosis. The NMC code of conduct (NMC, 2019) stated that the duty of care is to a minimum standard of practice that a patient can be expecting. Brown and Wimpenny urge that mental health nurses should take on a holistic approach and multidisciplinary team approach towards obesity management of patients. However, mental health nurses should work in hand with other health professionals and the multidisciplinary teams which include dieticians, support workers, social workers, psychiatrists to provide a good quality of medical care to the patients. Nurses should have a care plan for obese patients and they should have a full assessment done at the beginning of their care plan with agreed goals and outcomes. Mental health nurses should also encourage mental health patients to adapt to healthier eating and drinking which (include reducing alcohol intake) habit, take part in physical activities of their choice, to select medication with lower risk of weight gain for patients, to support patients in using BMI chart and to evaluate patient’s awareness of weight problems. However, nurses can act as an advocate for patients and also persuade the Government to make policy changes and provide input to health strategies.

Child nurses who are also known as pediatric nurses play an important role in helping and supporting parents and guardians of the children. Child nurses involve everything from nursing a sick newborn to an adolescent. Child nurses are working to establish opportunities for children to live a positive and healthier life by influencing public policies through health promotion.

Obesity is higher among individuals with learning disabilities because learning disability is a neurological disorder, people with LD may have difficulty in reading, poor mobility, language difficulty as well as motor problem, therefore the role of a learning disability nurse is important, they play a vital role in supporting people with learning disabilities who are obese to lose weight. It is the responsibility of mental health nurses to write out a care plan which can be evaluated and change when necessary to suits patients’ needs. The learning disability nurse should work together with other health professionals such as doctors, dieticians, nutritionists, speech and language therapists, psychologist, GP, Multidisciplinary teams as well as their families. Learning disability nurses should encourage their patients to eat and drink healthier and well increase their physical activities level. An individual with learning disabilities may have difficulty in communicating, therefore learning disability nurses needs to communicate effectively with patients and also using British sign language and picture communication system. The Nursing and Midwifery Council code of conduct stated that nurses should avoid bias and treat everyone with compassion and respect.

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Physiological And Socioeconomic Effects Of Obesity On The Health And Wellbeing. (2021, October 03). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from
“Physiological And Socioeconomic Effects Of Obesity On The Health And Wellbeing.” Edubirdie, 03 Oct. 2021,
Physiological And Socioeconomic Effects Of Obesity On The Health And Wellbeing. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2023].
Physiological And Socioeconomic Effects Of Obesity On The Health And Wellbeing [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Oct 03 [cited 2023 Jan 29]. Available from:
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