Understanding And Combating Obesity In The United States Of America Argumentative Essay Example
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The Oxford Dictionary of English describes obesity as “The state of being grossly fat or overweight” and in turn, the possessions of excessive body flesh for the obese. However, in medical terms, the definition of obesity revolves around the body mass index (BMI). Based on a report published by the National Center for Health Statistics, a person’s BMI is “their weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared” (233). The report specifies, “Grade 1 obesity has a BMI of 30.0 to less than 35.0; Grade 2 is 35.0 to less than 40.0; and Grade 3 is 40.0 or greater” (436). While most people use sensory perceptions to determine whether a person is obese or not, medical practitioners use the body mass index to determine the presence and degree of excessive body fat. Studies carried out between 2009 and 2012 by the National Center for Health Statistics estimate an increase in Grade 3 obesity cases by 4.4% and 8.2% among men and women respectively (13). However, Grade 3 obesity does not happen overnight, rather, different factors encourage weight increase until one gets to a BMI of higher than 40.0. However, for successful weight loss, the amount of calories a person consumes has to be less the amount their body utilizes. Hence, for successful weight loss and maintenance of an ideal body weight, one can either increase their physical activity or minimize their dietary intake. On that note, achieving the required levels of physical activity for observable changes in terms of weight is in most cases problematic for the intended persons. For this reason, dietary choices are the next option with the emphasis on fruits and all kinds of vegetables. The factors that make the fruits and the plants ideal for restricting obesity are; they are low in calories, have high moisture content, and contain fiber, all the components help lower cholesterol levels and weight.
The low caloric count and high moisture content that greens and fruits contain aid in ensuring that weight gain from their consumption is impossible. In concurrence, Slavin and Lloyd found “fruits and vegetables are low in energy density” making them perfect for managing one’s diet (506). To understand Slavin and Lloyd a person has to consider the fact that in the event off excess calories, the body converts the extra energy into fatty deposits for storage. For this reason, because foods with high caloric content are bound to produce more than the needed energy, their consumption encourages storage of fat beneath the skin and around body organs. Such conditions lead to weight gain and life threatening illnesses including cardiovascular diseases (Slavin and Lloyd 1). On that note, the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity found “eating low-energy-density foods promoted moderate weight loss” (3). As a result, because of their low energy density, a person can consume fruits and vegetables without running the risk of gaining weight (Slavin and Lloyd 506). In addition, water plays a significant role in reducing weight by lowering the amount of food a person has to consume to feel full. Water contains no calories, and as fruits and vegetables have high moisture content, their consumption enable fast satiety without risking weight change (Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity).
The benefits of fiber found in fruits and vegetables are multiple, and they all lead to weight loss and management. While pointing out “fiber intake is linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and obesity”, Slavin and Lloyd’s study (506) coincides with that of the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. Dubbed “Can eating fruits and vegetables help people to manage their weight?” the latter found that there is a connection between dietary fiber and weight loss “regardless of the source” (3). Foremost, fiber has consumption has “higher satiety ratings” thus encouraging one to feel full with a few helping of the food (Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity 3). Next, insoluble fibers lower cholesterol levels by binding and expelling excessive fat; fruits and vegetables are ideal because they "have a high concentration of insoluble fiber” (Slavin and Lloyd 508).
The advantages of fruits and vegetables as a solution for obesity revolve around their accessibility, compatibility with other foods, and the fact that their consumption is possible for all ages. Accessibility means there is a wide variety of the foods from which people can choose. Consequently, if, for example, a targeted obese person finds kale to be too acidic or tasteless, they have the option of other vegetables including spinach or cabbages. In addition, unlike other foods that can prove to be too expensive, fruits and vegetables are affordable, and one can start a kitchen garden for the same. On the compatibility is the consistency one can maintain when pairing fruits and vegetables with other foods. For instance, onion soup can be an appetizer, mashed potatoes with beef and broccoli the main course while the dessert can be a fruit salad. Ultimately, all people can have fruits and vegetables because of their wide variety. In other words, some of the foods are edible raw, crushable without changing the taste or constituents, and if one causes an allergic reaction another can suffice. For this reason, the utilization of fruits and vegetables as a means to lower the rates of obesity in the United States is feasible.
In contrary to the benefits listed above, there is a flaw in the use of greens and fruits to manage obesity, and that lies in the preparation of said foods. Slavin and Lloyd explain the importance of food preparation in the use of fruits and vegetables with potatoes. According to Slavin and Lloyd, “while a boiled potato is a nutrient-dense food”, a fried potato “may contribute a substantial amount of fat and sodium to the diet” (506). Sodium and fat increase weight gain rapidly because sodium encourages water retention in the body, and as stated before, excess fat leads to more storage of the food component. As a result, in most cases, people need to learn how to cook their foods for them to be beneficial to their health. Thus rises what many might consider the problem with this study’s plan. Even with proper planning and implementation, one cannot guarantee that an obese person would adhere to whatever he or she learns about food preparation. One can easily rebuff the claim by pointing out that one can access fruits and vegetables that are fit to eat when raw. For this reason, if cooking is a problem, the obese individual can concentrate on the fruits and vegetables that are edible raw to achieve the same goals.
Conclusively, there are more pros than cons to the use of vegetables and fruits to handle obesity amongst Americans. Evidently, the benefits of fruits and vegetable consumption far surpass their physical attributes because they include nutrients that are also important for optimum health. The physical components include fiber that appears ropelike to the eyes and excellent tastes that make the foods acceptable to all populations including those that consider the produce a bore. The nutrients that fruits and vegetables contain include vitamins and minerals with some producing high levels of phytochemicals that give antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, all of which promote the body’s immunity. For this reason, while the fruits and vegetables have qualities that aid in taming obesity, they also provide means of handling the other disease and infections. For instance, vitamin A boosts the immunity and in turn, prevents disease contraction. Hence, although they work gradually to cause an observable change, fruits and vegetable are an essential component in ensuring diets work against obesity. After all, while exercises can exhaust a person and even cause injuries, eating is more enjoyable and less tiring.
National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2013: With Special Feature on Prescription Drugs. Research. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2014. Print.
Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. Can eating fruits and vegetables help people to manage their weight? Research. Washington D.C: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion , n.d. Print.
Slavin, Joanne L.and Lloyd, Beate. "Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables." Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal (2012): 506-516. Print.
Stevenson, Angus. Oxford Dictionary of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
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