Free Research Paper On Obesity In America
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Obesity is a health problem in America that has affected over thirty-five percent of the American population. The situation is not under any control and, in fact; the amount of people incurring obesity is increasing rather than declining with the passage of time. The lack of involvement by the government over the issue has lead to the development of the disease in children at a young age. The fast paced life of the Americans has led to poor eating habits and reliance on fast food a lot.
Despite the fact that people have awareness in ample amounts, the rate of obese people is not lessening. The reasons for that lie in the carelessness on part of the Americans themselves who have led way to this disease by taking on to unhealthy eating habits, a dull lifestyle and most importantly, the wrong direction that they have taken of the American culture. The lack of realization by the people that obesity does not only mean getting fat or overweight rather becoming a host to many invited diseases is a misfortune and the sooner the realize it, the quicker they will work towards eliminating it from their lives as well spread awareness to others.
Being overweight or obese is a bodily condition in which excessive and abnormal fat builds up under the skin that becomes a serious threat to one’s health. A rough population measure of obesity is the BMI or body mass index, measure of a person’s weight in kilograms Kg’s, which is divided by the square of their height in meters. A person who’s BMI is thirty or greater than thirty is considered to be obese. An overweight person is one who’s BMI is twenty-five or greater than it. (World Health Organization, n.pag).
Being overweight or obese was once a condition only imagined in the high-income countries of the world. However today it is present even in developing countries. The health risks involved with it are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breathing problems, inflammation of the bones and damage to the joints as well as social recluse and inferiority complex at being unequal to others who are active, fit and smarter and have better bodies. Obesity affects people of all age groups; children, adolescents, adults and elderly people. The health risks are equal at all levels irrespective of the fact that a person is young or old. Obesity itself causes over thirty thousand deaths a year and over thirty diseases related to it.
The question raised at first is, why obesity exists in America anyway. The simplest answer to this is consumption of fast food. Several years ago, when fast food was not existent or as popular and consumed as much as it is today, the problem did not even exist. People relied on healthy food, their physical activity was greater, and the lifestyle was probably not as relaxed as it is today. Even the children of the previous age consumed their greens well and were told by their parents not to consume excessive sweets. The scenario has been greatly altered because nowadays life is very fast, and the situation at homes is very different from the past times. In the past where the father would work and the mother would be home to cook and clean and feed the children, she would ensure healthy cooking and meals for the family that would not contribute to either them or their children in becoming overweight.
The situation takes a turn where in the modern world, both parents work in order to make a living, and mostly mothers are found working part time or full time, being unavailable at home. Since they cannot cook for their children, they rely on fast food that by its name cooks faster, consumes less time and is the most convenient method for feeding people in a hurry. As the nation keeps opening and promoting the hubs of fast food or like some health-conscious people term it, ‘junk food’ the consumption of foods like hamburgers, hotdogs, French fries and large amounts of soft drinks and sweetened beverages. Even children begin to prefer artificially flavored juices and synthetic products over natural and fresh ones. Moreover, the biggest cause of gaining weight and becoming obese is the rigorous consumption of sweets and chocolates. Children become addicted to candies and sweet foods that they find quite hard to stay from. This becoming more popular in the country during the 90s when the rate of obesity went sharply high.
The reason for that stood that in 1991, leisurely physical activity was down to a dangerously low level where out of these obese individuals, 29.75 were physically inactive, 28.4% were not active regularly, 33.2% were regular but not intensely active and 8.7% were intense and regular. In 1998, the amounts were varied slightly; 28.6% were physically active, 28.2% were irregularly active, 29.65 were not intensely active but regular and 13.6% were regularly intense. (Mokdad et al., n.pag).
What follows these trends are the reasons behind them? American culture promotes this disease. When America was undergoing recession, people took to their homes in dejection, compromising on physical activity and healthy lifestyles. Moreover, a high dependence on electronic media; television, cable and the internet have led to the invention of the term itself – couch potato. Men, women and children of all ages become addicted to the television and cannot stay off it in spite of their everyday work and responsibilities. Teenagers and children both take a liking to playing video games and like in the past there was Nintendo that took their breaths away, nowadays its Xbox, the Play station and online gaming. Children sit in front of their computer screens or laptops for hours and play away virtual games online rather than go outside and play with their friends in the open. The lack of physical activity amongst children coupled with an intake of a diet rich in fats and carbohydrates leads to excessive weight gain that with the passage of time spreads to the extent of obesity. Surfing the internet is not only a children’s activity, it is also a most favorite past time of people belonging to every other age group. People can spend hours sitting in a place browsing the web and idling away.
The other problem is the kind of food available in the markets and supermarkets all around America. The U.S food industry is active in marketing food highly rich in fats and carbohydrates, high in sugar and ample in amount. These products are also advertised in such a manner that they appeal the most to children, and they wish to eat such foods stubbornly. Not only for children, some adults, too, get confined to consuming such foods, and they make them a regular part of their diets. One such example is the consumption of donuts and hotdogs. Moreover, the modern community prefers its people to drive to their destinations rather than walk, thereby exhibiting the rich and powerful as always driving in cars, usually in movies and commercials. This affects the minds of the people who also take to their suits and will avoid all physical activity and stick to a lazy lifestyle.
Also, if the country does choose to turn healthy and encourage the consumption of healthy food, then organic food is the alternative. However, not all people are born equally rich in status and hence not all of them can afford to buy organic food. So their only choice remains easy-to-buy and pocket-friendly fast food or canned food that contains many calories. It is true that what a person chooses to eat and consume is more of a personal or individual choice and this food habit varies among different families and societies, however, the blame does fall partially to the system that makes people consume this food because it promotes it in a luring manner that many people cannot understand the dangers of. It has made it very easy for the people to gain weight. If technological advancement or progress means staying at home and not involving the body in physical activity, then it is surely something harmful to the people that certain governmental organizations need step in and provide the realization of them.
Not only does the government have a role to play in it, there are schools and other centers as well that can provide the desired help. For children, school is the basic most institution. Firstly the schools of America have taken to unhealthy snacks being provided for lunch that accelerate the rate of obesity and tendency to gain weight in children. Instead of moving towards healthier diets, children consume fatty foods at school.
Also, at some schools, physical education is dropped, and children spend most of their time playing video games rather than indulging in sports. It was also reported that McDonalds decided to give away free burgers to every child who scored straight A’s on their report cards which were termed the report card incentive. Not only was this a clever way of advertising but it also turned out to be appalling for some people who thought the idea wasn’t a good one because fast food was never the right reward and example for children. (Elliot, n.pag).
Many Americans would also question; why would one care about obesity and disease? Why should it be our concern since it is an individual problem and people choose their own eating habits and lifestyle? Well, it does become a national problem when fatalities and diseases increase due to obesity and more and more people come into its trap. According to research into the matter, it has been revealed that obesity has more health concerns that one can imagine. In the recent decades, it has accounted for eighteen percent of deaths among black and white Americans who lay in the age groups of forty and eighty-five. (Paul, n.pag).
Obesity accompanies problems such as cardiovascular diseases, early onset diabetes, hypertension, breathing problems and in some cases inflamed tissues and joints due to excess weight.
The associated risks of obesity, disease race and mortality rates are also linked in a way. According to research, the percentage of obese black women is double that of white women. Also, the diseases that black women can incur which may be fatal are 27% while in white women it is 21%. White men on the other hand fare at 15% of dying from obesity while black men have a lower rate, almost 5%. Childhood obesity has similar deleterious effects on the body. Obese children are likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. They also develop glucose intolerance and can develop type 2 diabetes. Breath problems like sleep apnea and asthma can also be incurred. Some even develop joint problems and musculoskeletal problems. Gallstones and fatty liver disease are also common in obese children. Moreover the social and psychological impact of being obese, being called names by other children and not being able to interact a comfortable as the rest is a great issue. (CDC, 2012).
Hence, the root of the solution to diabetes is by taking long-term and strong steps to ensure its prevention. As discussed above, children are the ones who need the care and attention in this matter since they are the ones who will contribute to this problem. Firstly, there must be the implementation of healthy foods in their diet, both at home and at school. In the schools, there must be strict implementation of physical education and all students must participate in it in order to develop activeness and mobility. The U.S government must invest in parks, playgrounds and make more room for places where children can play and be safe outdoors. Schools can also bribe their students into working hard on their physical fitness through scholarships or awards and extra credit. (Zhang, 2007).
Secondly, there needs to be serious work done in restaurants, fast food and its commercializing in the public. In the recent times, there has been a growing dependence on eating outdoors and consuming fast food. It is then the responsibility of the restaurants that they devise a menu that offers low calorie, healthy food to children and cut down on fast food to a vast extent. This step will actually increase customers because parents will want their children to eat healthy food.
Lastly, the U.S government needs to take steps that will be concrete and effective. By implementing measures on improving the crops and making organic foods accessible to the common man can help to curb the issue and decrease dependency on cheaper, fast food. It must also invest in production of healthier and fresh fruits and vegetables that the masses will be eager to buy. The government can also make organizations and people to work for the physical fitness for the obese as well as encourage the general public to participate in physical sports and increase their mobility. This step will be beneficial for both those who are inactive and those who are obese or overweight. (Obesity, n.pag).
Conclusively, obesity in America is an issue that affects the lives of thousands of people all over the country. People suffer from health diseases, social and psychological issues and in several cases obesity becomes fatal for them. The reasons for it are high consumption of fast foods, inactive, sedentary lifestyles and impact of the modern culture. Obesity needs to be tackled at the root; whereby it must encourage healthy measures to be taken at schools, in hotels and restaurants and by the government of the United States itself, so that America can be ridden of this terrible health condition.
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