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America's Battle with Obesity

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Amy Crumbaugh

English 101

The Claims Paper

The American people are fickle at best. What's popular today may not be popular tomorrow; trends are easily forgotten and replaced with new fads. Yet can human beings themselves be considered trends? If the growing number of overweight Americans - and the accommodations that have been made for them - mean anything, than yes. For now, more than ever in America's history, it is acceptable, even desirable for some, to be overweight. Why? Why has our nation become a fat nation? And why are we trying to embrace it, rather than fix it? Because like those designer jeans and adorable new boy bands, being overweight has become a trend among Americans.

Ten years ago, fat was anything but appropriate. Rail-thin models like Kate Moss were having their heyday with the popular "heroine chic" look. And new diets and promises of quick and painless weight loss were popping up left and right. In less than a decade, though, obesity has become one of the largest problems in the history of American health. As the importance of daily exercise dwindled - and the prominence of fast food prevailed - the size of the average American grew. With this increase in size came health problems galore, from high cholesterol to diabetes. Yet has the threat of poor health ever stopped Americans from enjoying themselves before (think cigarettes and cancer)? No, and although some were concerned with this growing epidemic, the majority of U.S. citizens continued to enjoy their hours of couch time and dozens of McDonald's meals.

What makes American obesity a trend, though? Well for starters, more and more aspects of our society and culture have been changed to cater to the larger of us. Plus-sized fashions are one of the most prominent examples of these changes. High fashion runways, once littered with size 0 models, are now home to many famous fuller figures. After all, some one has to model the plethora of new clothing that has been designed with the bigger woman in mind. Not that plus-sizes are restricted to the runway: nearly every store now, from The Gap to Hot Topic, offers a wider range of sizes, if not an entirely separate store for "women". Having clothing that actually fits, especially mainstream clothing, makes people feel better about themselves. They believe that if they can still shop at places like The Gap, that it is obviously alright to be overweight. "They have my size, so why slim



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