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Obesity a Growing Epidemic

Essay by   •  February 10, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,002 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,398 Views

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The United States is recognized for many accomplishments in becoming such a wealthy and prosperous nation, but unfortunately the US has also gained the unenviable position of having the greatest percentage of obese adults. Has all the wealth and prosperity our nation has gained throughout the years now showing by the lack of people caring about themselves? Obesity has become such an alarming problem as quoted from the Washington Post stated by Ali Mokdad, chief of the CDC's behavioral surveillance branch, "That's why we call it epidemic." It is said, by the American Obesity Association that 15.5% of adolescents and 15.3% of children are obese, which between the last two decades is a dramatic increase. It is questioned, is obesity a disease or is the lack moral standards an individual has? As recognized by the AOA, obesity will soon surpass smoking as the number one preventable cause of death. If it is preventable people should prevent themselves to getting to the point of being considered obese.

Obesity is associated with consumption of more food than the body can use, excess alcohol intake, and sedentary lifestyle. The urbanization and modernization of the US did not put its best approach towards this growing epidemic. Effects of modernization brought the popularity of cars; therefore, individuals no longer rely on walking as a means of transportation; which in result affects the weight an individual gains quicker. Modernization has caused:

Approximately 1.7 billion people worldwide now to belong to the "consumer class"- the group of people characterized by diets of highly processed food, desire for bigger houses, more and bigger cars, higher levels of debt, and lifestyles devoted to the accumulation of non-essential goods, as noted by Hillary Mayell.

Urbanization has brought the extreme development of fast food restaurants, with convenient "drive thru" windows which attract the unhealthy dieters. As quoted by National Geographic, "The plates are bigger, the servings are bigger, and so are the people", since eating away from home is considered an addition to the obesity epidemic fast food restaurants are a huge contribution to the number of obese Americans. What fuels the obesity rate nationwide is too much junk food, too much leisure time, and not enough exercise; therefore obese or overweight individuals have no one to blame but themselves for their lack of moral standards.

Doctors have debated on the issue, if obesity is a disease, and have come to a conclusion that in unique circumstances genetics can be associated to obesity. Although, Adam Drewnowski believes " that obesity has doubled over the past two decades, while the genetic pool remained stable, the answer must lie in reduced physical activity and altered eating habits." Since, parents are a child's most important role model they should be able to get help and prevent this while their child is at a young age; there are several ways of preventing childhood obesity as recognized by the AOA. In most cases the obesity of a child is blamed on parents; since the child shares the same eating habits and lifestyle as their parents as explained by the article Understanding Adult Obesity. It is emotionally stressful to be obese as an adult and even harder as a child since they suffer psychological abuse. As quoted by Sylvia Rimm and Dr. Rimm:

Overweight children are too often the outcasts, ... They may be shunned by their peers stereotyped as dumb and lazy, rejected for friendship and scholarship, and left to wither on the vine and nurse their sorrows with sweets... the world does not seem to understand them... or even wish to reach out and help them.

It is stated by Understanding Adult Obesity that "psychological factors responses to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger add to the problem." These negative emotions make an obese individual less confident in themselves; which then makes them turn towards eating for comfort.

Dr. Mercola states," Since the 1960's, Americans have grown roughly an inch taller and twenty-five pounds heavier," this alarming epidemic is progressing due to our luxuries. Americans take advantage of countless channels on television, computers, video games, e-mail and technological advances; and find all they need conveniently located. Americans make past luxuries their up-most important necessities, such as cell phones or air conditioning. It is safe to say Americans have grown wider but not smarter from over enjoyment.

The stressfulness of obesity causes adults to try to loose the weight, but losing

the weight is not as easy as putting it on. Since in most cases it is believed for obese individuals losing

the weight and keeping it off is a problem. It is suggested from the article Understanding Adult Obesity, if you have an eating disorder to seek professional help from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker. Sarah F. Leibowitz believes, "Increased understanding of the systems of the body and brain related to energy and nutrient balance may help us treat and prevent these common problems." This growing epidemic is mentally related and clearly has a direct relationship with how an individual values his/her health and moral standards.

But unfortunately there are individuals who feel there is nothing wrong with being overweight or obese. This issue is unfortunate, since 280,000 adult deaths in the US each year are related to obesity, as recognized by Understanding Adult Obesity. Author Marilyn Wann strongly argues that there is nothing wrong with being "fat". She believes being thin is not normal just common. An important quote recognized in her book, written by George Carlin, summarizes her thoughts on how individuals judge overweight people incorrectly:

They're not fat. They're not large; ... And they are not big-boned. Dinosaurs are big-boned. These people are not necessarily obese, either... (Obese: a meaningless medical term.)...Overweight implies there is some correct weight... Heavy is also a misleading term. An aircraft carrier is heavy; it's not fat, and that's what people are... It's not intended as criticism or an insult... I prefer seeing things the way they are, not the way some people wish they were.

Unfortunately, individuals with such negative points of view on bettering their health so they could live healthier lives take the risk of suffering from several serve diseases associated with obesity. One day, those individuals may even be included in the 280,000 adults who

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