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Obesity in America

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"Obesity in America"

"Welcome to McDonald's, may I take your order?"

"I would like a double cheeseburger with everything, a large fry, and a Coca-Cola."

"Would you like to super-size your meal for an additional thirty-nine cents?" "Yes, please."

This dialogue is an example of how many Americans prefer to eat at highly caloric fast food restaurants because they are too tired to cook fresh food. This is one of the many factors that can lead to the growing problem of being overweight. Lack of routine exercise is also a big reason why Americans are suffering from the problem of obesity. This problem can also be caused by how a person is genetically composed. "In 2004, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranked obesity as the number one health threat facing America. Obesity currently results in an estimated 400,000 deaths annually and costs nearly $122.9 billion" (Epidemic 1). This shows just how deadly this "disease" can be to America. There are many causes that will be discussed in this paper.

Obesity is a serious public health problem in the United States. The prevalence of obesity has increased sharply among children and adults over the past three decades. According to the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, thirty-two percent of adults in the United States are overweight, and an additional twenty-two point five are obese (Wadden 3). Being overweight or obese will cut many years from a person's life. Something needs to be done now about this problem or else it will continue to get worse.

Thomas A. Wadden defines obesity as an excess amount of body fat. One of the main influences in the growing problem of obesity in America is due to the environment that the people of this country have grown up in.

Environments also strongly influence obesity. This includes lifestyle behaviors such as what a person eats and his or her level of physical activity. Americans tend to eat high-fat foods, and put taste and convenience ahead of nutrition. Also, most Americans do not get enough physical activity


Americans equate beauty to slimness. When a person is not feeling beautiful, they may develop depression which can lead to eating disorders. Many people are too lazy to do anything about their problems. However, everyone has the option of whether they want to change their eating habits or increase their level of activity. Americans grow up in a society where they are always on the run and everywhere a person goes they can find a fast-food place on the way. Americans need to choose meals that are more nutritious and low in fat. One example of how this can be done is "Learning to recognize environmental cues (such as enticing smells) that may make them want to eat when they are not hungry" (Wadden 5). This reflects on how our environment somewhat, forces these habits on people. Every day on TV there are commercials encouraging the people to go out and eat this unhealthy food. This issue can be helped if a person makes a simple choice like picking a healthy Subway sandwich instead of getting a fatty burger and greasy fries.

Many people will eat because they are sad, bored, or even angry. According to Thomas A. Wadden, thirty percent of people who have problems with being overweight are also experiencing troubles with binge eating(35). People with binge eating disorders sometimes struggle to keep excess weight off of themselves. Counseling can be a good way to control the challenges of dealing with a binge eating disorder. Wadden also states that "Nearly ten percent of obese people who try to lose weight through different programs or by themselves have a binge eating disorder" (105). One syndrome that has increased over the years is the night-eating syndrome. This is when the depression occurs later at night and a person will wake up more frequently than the average person will, and eat during these awakenings as a result of depression. In a study that was reported by Wadden, it says, "This study confirmed the elements of the night eating syndrome previously reported, including night eating, evening hyperphagia, and insomnia" (Wadden 115). The night eating syndrome is a combination of eating disorder, sleep disorder, and mood disorder. The best way to help cure a binge eating disorder is to get help from a doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

According to the book Obesity in America, Bray explains, "There are also many diseases that can lead to obesity such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, depression, and certain neurological problems" (107). Hypothyroidism is a glandular disorder that results from insufficient production of the thyroid hormones. Cushing's syndrome occurs when a person's tissues are exposed to an excess amount of the hormone cortisol.

Obesity is a disorder in which the ingestion of calories in excess of those used by the organism results in excessive expansion of the adipose tissue mass. It is a common condition affecting individuals of all ages in mild to severe degrees. Increasing obesity is associated with increasing health problems. The obese individual is at increased risk for a variety of illnesses; for example, abnormalities in systemic carbohydrate and lipid metabolism are more frequent, including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and other severe illnesses that significantly affect the quality and length of life. (Bray 69)

Many Americans compare attractiveness to slimness. This can cause emotional problems and these people become consequently depressed, which eventually leads to overeating.

Obesity can also be linked to socioeconomic status. "Socioeconomic status was rated by a simple score based on occupation, education, weekly income, and monthly rent" (Bray 207). This is saying that obesity has occurred more in areas where the people have lower status. The upper classes suffered less from this problem. The results from a study by George M. Bray show that the rates of obesity in the lower socioeconomic class are higher in women than men. "In addition to socioeconomic status and socioeconomic status of origin, these variables included social mobility, the number of generations of family members born in the United States, and ethnic and religious afflictions" (Bray 207). This is showing that obesity can be more prevalent in different social groups. "The greatest prevalence of obesity was found among Jews, followed by Roman Catholics, and then Protestants" (Bray 209).




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