By Gaulsstin/via Wikimedia Commons

By Gaulsstin/via Wikimedia Commons

One of our two December feature CE articles, “The Obesity Epidemic, Part 1: Understanding the Origins,” is about a pervasive and complex issue that nurses see the health consequences of in every practice setting:

. . . more than 35% of adults and 16% of children ages two to 18 are obese. Obesity disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities as well as people at lower income and educational levels, though it is prevalent among men and women in every segment of society. Obese children and adults are at risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal dysfunction, and certain types of cancer. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates the annual national health care expenditure on obesity to be about $147 billion, with per capita spending on obese people averaging $1,429 more than spending on individuals of normal weight.

Knowledge about this epidemic continues to evolve. This article is part 1 of a two-part series and provides readers a concise overview of current theories about the pathophysiologic, psychological, and social factors that influence weight control. As the overview points out, “[t]o contribute to obesity’s treatment and prevention, nurses must be conversant in a wide range of theoretical and clinical perspectives on the problem.”

This continuing education article is free. Part 2, which will appear in the January issue, presents a theoretical framework that can inform nursing assessment of both patient and family and guide intervention.—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor