Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Obesity, Food, Social Issues, Health, Fast Food, Overweight, Medicine, People

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/21

Obesity, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is defined as the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. A Body Mass Index (BMI) – an index of weight-for-height used to estimate overweight and obesity in children and adults - of 30kg/m2 or more suggests that a person is suffering from obesity (Food Research and Action Center, nd). Statistics show that in 2014, 13% of the world’s adult population, roughly 600 million adults, are obese (World Health Organization, nd). Of these 600 million adults, 13.1% or 78.6 million are from the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nd). Obesity is rampant not only in the country but also worldwide, but what really causes obesity? How does it affect one’s being?
According to the Weight-control Information network, when people take in more calories than the amount of calories they burn, the energy balance leans towards gaining weight. As a result this imbalance leads to the state of being overweight or obese. Many factors trigger energy imbalance, these include genes, eating habits, emotions, income, lifestyle, and environment (National Institutes of Health, nd). This suggests that obesity may result from different factors, however, it must be noted that obesity is not entirely genetic, opposite to the arguments that have been trending over the internet recently.
If left untreated, an obese person may suffer from a long list of health risks and problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some types of cancer or worse, death. Obesity can affect a person regardless of age, race, income or sex; hence, no one is really safe from being obese. With this in mind, how can someone avoid becoming obese and what measures should a person take to overcome being obese? But before answering these questions, it is necessary to take a look at how obesity initiates and takes over a person’s physique.
As stated above, one factor for becoming obese is eating a lot more calories than how much calories a person is burning. An average American has a daily calorie intake of 3,770 (Pepper), far greater than the recommended calorie intake of 1,940 calories for women and 2,550 calories for men (WeightlossResources, nd). Among adults, 11.3% of their total daily calorie intake comes from fast food. This fact alarms most nutritionists due to known fact that fast foods are not considered “healthy” relative to other homemade or authentic foods as supported by the National Institutes of Health by defining fast foods as quick, easily accessible and cheap alternative to home-cooked meals (Hellesvig-Gaskell, nd). However, what is really alarming is that these fast foods has little to no nutritional value but with high calories. It may be a cheap alternative but not at all a healthier option. People prefer fast foods because the fast serving of food help them to eat despite their often hectic and busy day. Many outlets also offer drive-thru service for people that are always on the go. Some examples of fast food outlets are McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and Pizza Hut. It can be hypothesized that frequent fast-food consumption contributes to weight gain and eventually, obesity (Fryar, 1-6). As of 2012, almost 270,000 fast foods are in America with revenue of almost $100 billion. With hundreds of thousands of outlets in the country, how are companies able to supply the meats and ingredients needed in the everyday operation of the outlets? In Robbins’ book, Diet for A New America, he exposed that more chemicals and drugs were used in meat, dairy products, and eggs in the US today than there were in 1970s (Robbins).
According to the trade journal entitled “Hog Farm Management”, the modification of the animal’s environment is purely for profit (Robbins). Hamburgers, sandwiches, fried chicken, fries and pizzas are the most widely ordered food in fast food outlets. The meat, pork and poultry is mixed with various chemicals and “secret ingredients” in order to preserve and extend the shelf-life of their products. By the addition of chemicals and the deplorable condition in which the animals were cultured, the nutritional values of the fast food’s products are not that high. Also, large amounts of oil and butter are used to cook in many fast foods, making the risk for heart-related problem higher. Most weekly fast-food eaters believe that fast food is not good for a person but due to its convenience and relatively cheap cost, many people still eat at fast food joints.
It must be clear that there should be an intervention in regards to the frequent eating of most individuals in fast food chains. Awareness and guidance must be prepared by nutritionists. Fortunately, due to increased awareness of public health and by part from Robbins’ books, people are now becoming conscious on what they eat. Efforts have been made to improve fast food menus by offering healthier alternatives and by making a menu where the nutritional value of each product is shown. This suggests that more fast foods and restaurants are trying to improve the nutritional value of their servings while informing their customers about the nutritional value of their food.
Unfortunately, a flaw in the abovementioned approach is that the most important influence on the food choice a person makes is taste. This means that nutritional concerns are of less relevance to most people, although it is important to note that the relevance of nutrition was better desired by older respondents, women and certain ethnic groups (Glanz, Basil and Maibach). Poor nutritional health and obesity may likely lead to increased susceptibility to infection, impaired physical and cognitive function, chronic illness and increased morbidity and mortality (see figure 1) (successfulaging.ca).
Figure 1. Medical Complications of Obesity. Source: Sci-News.com
Obesity can compromise health, shorten lifespan and can even cause death. As seen in Figure 1, many complications arise when a person is obese and the number 1 illness is Type 2 Diabetes. These illnesses, when left untreated have a higher probability of developing other more chronic diseases that can eventually lead to death. Type 2 diabetes, or the non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that can affect the way a person’s body metabolizes sugar; it either resists the effects of insulin or does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level (Mayo). Obesity makes cells more resistant to the effects of insulin, thus contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes (Medi-Weightloss).
Physical activity is one of the ways to prevent or to reduce the risk of obesity and its related illnesses. A study shows that at least sports are being played by an adolescent annually, the obesity rates would drop to 26% while walking or biking to school for four times weekly would drop the rates by 22% (Drake, Beach and Longacre).

Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Overweight and Obesity." Atlanta, 9 September 2014.
Food Research and Action Center. "Overweight and Obesity Definitions." Washington, 2010.
Fryar, Cheryl D. "Caloric Intake From Fast Food Among Adults: United States 2007-2010." NCHS Data Brief No. 114. Hyattsville: MD: National Center for Statistics, 2013.
Glanz, Karen, et al. "Why Americans eat what they do: Taste, nutrition, cost, convenience and weight control concerns as influences on food consumption." Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 98.10 (1998): 1118-1126.
Hellesvig-Gaskell, Karen. "Definition of Fast Foods." 28 January 2015. 15 March 2015 <http://www.livestrong.com/article/49366-definition-fast-foods/>.
National Institutes of Health. "Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: The evidence report." NIH Publication No. 98-4083. 1998.
Pepper, Margot. "Daily calorie intake of countries across the world revealed and (surprise) the U.S. tops the list at 3,770." 14 August 2014. Mail Online. 15 March 2015 <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2722815/Daily-calorie-intake-countries-world-revealed-surprise-U-S-tops-list-3-770.html>.
Weight-control Information Network. "Overweight and Obesity Statistics." Bethesda, 24 July 2014.
weightlossresources.co.uk. Daily Caloric Intake. 2015. 15 March 2015 <http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/logout/calorie_intake.htm>.
World Health Organization. Obesity and overweight. January 2015.

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Free Obesity Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-obesity-essay-sample/. Published Dec 21, 2020. Accessed March 28, 2023.

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