Free Obesity In USA: Has Obesity In The West Grown Hopelessly Rampant? Argumentative Essay Sample

Type of paper: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Obesity, Social Issues, Food, Health, United States, America, Children, Family

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/10

Obesity has become an important health concern all over the world, including USA. As reported by various sources all over television, newspapers, and the Internet, rates of obesity and overweight continue to grow, making USA fit to be labeled as having an “obesity epidemic” (Stanish; Denghan et al. 1). With the increasing prevalence of obesity and overweight across all the states in the USA, there is no question of why obesity gets a big part of the spotlight nowadays. But knowing that obesity has become prevalent and alarmingly common in USA would not get us anywhere. In order to fully understand the whole concept of the so-called “obesity epidemic,” it is important to take into account what causes obesity and who are responsible for its continuously hiking rates.
Described to occur when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, obesity is usually associated with excessive amount of adipose or fats in the body—fats that are not used and are hence stored in the body for extended periods of time (Lvovich; Denghan et al. 3). Given such universal definition of obesity, obviously exceedingly fat individuals are often automatically labeled as obese. Obesity would not become a health concern for no reason. Obese and overweight people are seen as bearing a great health risk because of the various diseases associated with their weight conditions. As determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity can largely contribute to heart failure conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure or hypertension (CDC). Aside from contributing to the development of cardiovascular abnormalities, obesity can also be a contributing factor to the development of type II diabetes, cancers (i.e., endometrial, breast, and colon), high amounts of cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides, liver and gallbladder diseases, sleep apnea (snoring) and other respiratory problems, reproductive health conditions such as infertility, and mental health illnesses (CDC; Marks 2). Aside from such diseases, obesity is also commonly associated with osteoarthritis or the degeneration of bones, joints, as well as the underlying bones within joints (CDC; Campos et al. 57). Due to the fact that obese and overweight individuals are characterized by immense body mass, osteoarthritis—a typical condition in older adults—can occur even in younger individuals as the bones and cartilages become easily torn by the enormous weight (Campos et al. 57). With such diseases that obesity can help bring about, there is really not much of a wonder to why various healthcare institutions, both private and governmental, become too alarmed with the increasing rate of obesity which largely affects individuals regardless of race, sex, socioeconomic status, and demographic status (Marks 2; CDC; Stanish; Lvovich).
A prevalent problem affecting the developing and especially the developed countries, obesity is considered a dangerous health threat in America, affecting all of its states (The State of Obesity). Of all the US states, two showed the highest prevalence, Mississippi and West Virginia, whose obesity rate is measured to be 35.1%. Next to Mississippi and West Virginia are 18 states whose obesity rates are measured to be below 35% and not lower than 30% and such states include Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, Indiana, South Carolina, Michigan, Iowa, Delaware, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Kansas, and Pennsylvania (The State of Obesity). Next to those 18 states are the other 23 whose obesity rates are estimated to be below 30% up to 25% and these states include South Dakota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Nebraska, Illinois, North Carolina, Maine, Alaska, Maryland, Wyoming, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Arizona, New Hampshire, Oregon, Florida, New Mexico, New Jersey, Nevada, Minnesota, New York, and Connecticut (The State of Obesity). The remaining states have the lower obesity rates that still amount to not lower than 20% (The State of Obesity). Digging deeper in the problem presented by obesity, racial and demographic disparities are also present.
Affecting more than two-thirds of the USA’s entire population, obesity is considered to bear with it racial disparities (FRAC). Adult obesity is estimated to be more prevalent among African-American and Hispanic women than among their Caucasian counterparts (FRAC). In men, it is more prevalent among Hispanics than Caucasians and African-Americans (FRAC). People from the South and Midwestern America is also considered to be heavily affected (FRAC). It is also reported that individuals measured and determined to be the heaviest and most obese tend to be heavier as they age—another proof of the increasing trend of obesity in USA (FRAC). Adult are not the only ones affected by obesity but children as well. Obesity in children actually add more impact to the problem, pressing and prompting those in power to be more diligent in controlling and managing the increasing prevalence of obesity. As estimated, one-thirds of children within the school-age, which include adolescents, in the USA are affected by obesity (FRAC). Children of Hispanic and African-American background are more likely to become obese compared to their Caucasian counterparts (FRAC). Children living in the Southern region of USA are also considered to be more predisposed to obesity (FRAC).
As reported by the Food Research Action Center, obese adults and children have been continually increasing since the 1970s (FRAC). To date, it is estimated that obesity among children has reached an “epidemic level” in the USA (Denghan et al. 1). As estimated that 25% of children are overweight while another 11% are obese (Denghan et al. 1). Furthermore, it is also estimated that 70% of obese adolescents remain obese until they reach adulthood (Denghan et al. 1). Obesity during childhood entails a series of consequences that may be detrimental to children psychologically and physically, especially with the tendency of other illnesses apart from those mentioned earlier to develop (Denghan et al. 2). Obesity in children can give rise to diseases such as hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, abnormal glucose tolerance, and infertility (Denghan et al. 2). Aside from such diseases, psychological conditions may also occur such as depression which occurs increasingly frequently in children considered as obese, most likely because of their increased likelihood to be bullied (Denghan et al. 2).
Seen as a social problem prompting attention, solution and immediate action, obesity has become the central theme of various and numerous studies done nowadays in the field of health science, particularly in USA. And in light of that, extensive research aiming to find what actually causes obesity has been the major concern, aside from determining racial disparities and prevalence of the issue on a national level as well as globally (Lvovich). However, instead of bringing more light to the issue in order to fully understand it, problems actually arise when its causes are being evaluated. Exploring the causes of obesity brings about the debate of whose fault it is: the consumer lacking self-control or the food companies applying too misleading advertisements that entice its viewers, particularly children to opt for their food which lacks nourishment. Regular consumers blaming food companies for the prevalence of obesity is common. Big companies such as McDonald's, Coco-Cola, and Kellogg's have been some of the usual and perpetual targets of the attacks against food companies and their marketing strategies, involving advertisements, to attract consumers (Stanish). In what seems to be a war against obesity, one of the leading food corporations, the Kellogg’s Co., has been controversially hit by attacks regarding the dissemination or spread of false claims through advertisements (Stanish). Such move initiated by the US District Court of Southern California in 2010, prompted the company to reformulate their products, lessening the sugar content and adding more fiber to compensate for the “misleading label” (Stanish). As reported by one source, the highly-enticing ads that target consumers who maintain a busy lifestyle with usually no time to evaluate the food they eat are the main cause for the current and fast blow-up of today's obesity rate (Stanish). Such problem is even more pressing when children are included in the picture. Obesity in children is seen as a more pressing problem as the diseases associated with overweight and obesity are too harsh for them to bear considering their young age. But children, just like adults, are also commonly affected by obesity in USA today (FRAC; Denghan et al. 1; Stanish). And such concern is also blamed unto the seemingly uncontrollable power of food ads that more easily penetrate the minds of and entice children into choosing less-healthy foods over healthy ones, believing that the former provide better taste as they are symbolized in the ads (Stanish). Critics claim that if healthier foods are the ones promoted in the ads instead of the unhealthy junk foods and snacks, children as well as adults may have more interest in eating and acquiring a healthier diet of fruits and vegetables (Stanish). But in our society today, the contrary is the truth: fruits and/or vegetables are something not one group or food company is willing to fund to get into advertisements and promotion. Following the idea that fruits and vegetables are universally known to carry health benefits in their natural state, the need for them to enter market through ad promotion is considered not necessary anymore. In fact, as reported by one of the sources in this paper, an evaluation of 8,854 food advertisements showed that there was not one that actually promoted consumption of fruits and/or vegetables (Stanish). Such data only show that the choice of eating healthier food is something that is entirely given to the consumers themselves. As the food companies claim, we as consumers should be vigilant enough to know what is best for us (Lvovich; Stanish; Marks 2). However, with the busy lifestyle and usually compromised time allotted for knowing which food is healthier, consumers are inclined to opt for what is presented to them at face value—a problem considered to be contributing to the wide prevalence of obesity nowadays (Stanish; Marks 2). Plus, the growing trend of eating not for health but for luxury has also been considered as a significant contributory factor as more and more people eat food not for their nutritional value but rather for their popularity and status symbolism (Marks 2).
Food companies on the other hand, cling on to the claim that they only provide consumers with a wider array of food choices and the choices those consumers make are out of the context or coverage of the liabilities food companies must take responsibility for (Lvovich). Food companies run businesses and advertisements are a marketing normalcy that they cannot take out because they function to make their products known and attract buyers to maintain the business itself (Lvovich). Furthermore, the fact that obesity is a multi-factorial phenomenon is something that most food companies often use to rebut the blame solely placed on them and on their food ads. True enough, as proven by many literatures, obesity occurs not just because of the ongoing trend of “supersizing” in USA but also because of the increasing advances in technology that reduces the need for individuals to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle (Marks 2; Stanish). Such physical inactivity common especially among youths nowadays is seen as a major contributing factor to the prevalence of obesity just like overeating is (Marks 2; Stanish). The limited access to healthier foods among poor and other minority groups—whose number in society is annually increasing—is also seen as a major contributing factor to the social problem caused by obesity (Marks 2).
While both consumers and food companies have significant claims to take into consideration regarding the causes of the seemingly uncontrollable and rapid spread of obesity, determining just the reasons for its occurrence and prevalence would not put the crisis into an end. At this point, causes and prevalence are clichés to the problem of obesity. This is not the time anymore to learn more about such things as we have discovered all that could be said regarding those aspects. Rather, this is the time for solutions, for some solid reforms accompanied by significant and actually useful ways of addressing the problem. The question of whether it is the food companies’ or the consumers’ fault is already out of context considering the seemingly helpless prevalence of obesity. Both sides with the help of the government and other significant bodies of the problem should help one another to achieve the result which will benefit them equally.
Obesity has undoubtedly reached great rates in USA—great enough to be considered as an alarming health threat to both adults and children. Emphasizing its threat, researchers nowadays often label the whole phenomenon of obesity prevalence as “epidemic.” Causes of obesity include unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the ongoing trend of “supersizing” in USA (Stanish; Marks 2). Aside from such, misleading advertisements of most food companies are also seen as a major culprit (Stanish). But aside from the causes of obesity, it is also important to know the probable solutions for it to significantly reach its end.

Works Cited

Campos, Paul, et al. “The epidemiology of overweight and obesity: public health crisis or moral panic?” International Journal of Epidemiology 35 (2006): 55-60. Oxford Journals. Web. 06 Mar. 2015.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Obesity: Halting the Epidemic by Making Health Easier At a Glance 2011.” CDC (26 May 2011). Web. 06 Mar. 2015.
Denghan, Mahshid, et al. “Childhood obesity, prevalence and prevention.” Nutrition Journal 4.24 (2005): 1-8. NCBI NIH. Web. 06 Mar. 2015.
Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). “Overweight and Obesity in the U.S.” FRAC (2010). Web. 06 Mar. 2015.
Lvovich, Stephanie. “Advertising and Obesity: The Research Evidence.” World Advertising Research Center 4.2 (2002). Web. 06 Mar. 2015.
Marks, Jennifer B. “Obesity in America: It’s Getting Worse.” Clinical Diabetes 22.1 (2004): 1-2. Web. 06 Mar. 2015.
Stanish, Janelle R. “The Obesity Epidemic in America and the Responsibility of Big Food Manufacturers.” Student Pulse 2.11 (2010). Web. 06 Mar. 2015.
The State of Obesity. “Adult Obesity in the United States.” The State of Obesity (2015). Web. 06 Mar. 2015.

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Free Obesity In USA: Has Obesity In The West Grown Hopelessly Rampant? Argumentative Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 10, 2020. Accessed June 20, 2024.

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