Current Events: Obesity

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Obesity: An American Epidemic
Americans are well aware of the fact that the United States has one of the world’s highest rates of obesity and that the country has gained the worldwide stereotype of being overweight. This all pertains to the term that has been a coined phrase within American society for the past few years—the American obesity epidemic. Despite the widespread knowledge that being obese or overweight can negatively affect one’s health, America’s rates of obesity continue to climb. In addition, there are many Americans who claim that obesity is simply a controllable factor and that there is reason to refer to the obese population as an epidemic. They claim, in fact, that there is no such thing as an obesity epidemic; and that America’s large percentage of people who are overweight is nothing to panic over or to consider as a dangerous plague. The fact is, however, obesity is quite a serious issue. Most recently in current events, it was stated that obesity has now surpassed smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States of America. The smoking epidemic gained a great deal of publicity, leading to protest groups and awareness groups that all aimed to educate Americans about the health hazards associated with smoking; but now that obesity kills more people annually than smoking, it is clear that there is absolutely an obesity epidemic taking place within the United States and that is must be addressed, taken seriously, and combated through further education about health, fitness, and nutrition.

It is quite absurd that so many American citizens still claim that the country does not have a problem with obesity, or that obesity is not a serious disease. Simply by looking back through America’s history and how people have changed over the decades, it is obvious that standards have changed, along with what is deemed as normal or average. Many people today are still unaware of how much the average American has grown and what the reasons are. Some like to argue that Marilyn Monroe—Hollywood’s most famous sex symbol—was a size 14, so there is no reason why being considered a plus size in today’s world should be a problem. What they fail to realize, however, is that clothing sizes have changed since the mid-20th century (Finkelstein and Zuckerman 2). A size 14 during Marilyn’s day is actually more like a size eight according to today’s size charts; and a size eight is a perfectly healthy, normal size. It seems as if Americans are trying to justify their growing waistlines so that they do not have to take responsibility for their own health and admit that the country has a problem with obesity. To admit that there is a problem, after all, suggests that there is a need for action so that a change may take place. Since obesity has everything to do with a person’s lifestyle and their perspectives of health, combating the obesity epidemic will undoubtedly require a great deal of effort from all members of society.

One of the main reasons why America has become increasingly overweight is because of a change in everything from lifestyle to poor habits. Ever since the introduction of the frozen TV dinner, America has come to value convenience over health. Considering that Americans tend to work more hours on average than those in most other countries, it only makes sense that quick meals or fast food would become popular choices in terms of their everyday diet. Unfortunately, the majority of convenient fast or frozen foods have little to no nutritional value, nor are they beneficial to anyone’s health; yet they now make up a huge portion of American food culture. This is precisely why the obesity runs so deep within the United States and has become such a widespread epidemic—the American way of life and everyday habits of the American people fuel the rise of obesity all around the country. Many parents, for example, will attempt to promote an active lifestyle to their children by signing them up for...
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