Obesity in America

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In the United States today, obesity has become an enormous problem. In the last 3 decades, the number of people overweight has increased dramatically. A study done by the Centers of Disease Control showed that since 1980, one third of our adult population has become overweight. America is the richest but also the fattest nation in the world and our obese backsides are the butt of jokes in every other country (Klein 28). The 1980s were a time when Americans suddenly started going crazy over dieting, jumping onto the treadmills, and buying prepackaged non-fat foods. However, while all of that was going on, the number of obese Americans began to increase. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 58 million people in our country weigh over 20 percent of their body’s ideal weight. The article “Fat Times” states, “If this were about tuberculosis, it would be called an epidemic” (Elmer-Dewit 58). The eating habits of society have steadily become more harmful and have started to produce gluttonous children, over-indulgent adults, and a food industry set too much on satisfying our appetites. Obesity can begin at a very young age. Many children in our society are overweight, setting themselves up for serious health problems later in life. Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart problems are just some of the risks. Children who are overweight also tend to feel less secure, less happy, and be stressed more than normal weight children do. They get teased, criticized, and judged. In many cases, the problem is not the child’s fault. Being overweight may run in that child’s family, or their parents do not encourage them to be active and get enough exercise. Many children spend too much time indoors wasting away in front of the TV, playing video games, or spending time on the computer, and consuming high fat snacks, soft drinks and candy at the same time (Weight Management). The CDC performed a study in 1994 that was described in the book Fat Land; it showed that children who watched over four hours of television a day had higher body mass index numbers than those who watched less than one hour a day. In 1994, The Centers for Disease Control studied the TV viewing time, exercise patterns, and weight gain of 4063 children aged eight to fifteen. The results found that the less a child exercised and the more they watched TV, the more likely they were to be obese or overweight. When they surveyed the parents, they discovered that the concern about crime was a reason that the parents didn’t want their children outside being active. That is why they were not concerned about the harmful effect of sitting in front of the TV all day; they were just glad that their children were safe. Schools aren’t helping the children either; how can the school nutritionists compete against Pizza Hut pizzas and Super-Size fries? The $50,000 the U.S. government gives each state annually to teach kids to eat right is lost next to the billions spent designing food and packaging that will interest students. The percentage of teens that are overweight, which held steady at about 15% through the 1970s, rose to 21% by 1991. ‘The kids eat nothing but junk food’ says Liam Hennessey, a special-ed teacher from San Francisco who watches students on school trips open the lunches their parents pack for them, gobble up the Oreos and Pop-Tarts and toss out the sandwiches” (Elmer-Dewitt). A Harvard Health Report, “Weigh Less, Live Longer,” discusses how many people do not realize that their appetite and diet can be closely related to many psychological factors. Any person who has ever binged on chips or cookies when they feel upset can understand this. Several studies have shown that people tend to eat more when they feel anxious, depressed, or have symptoms of other emotional disorders. Certain foods have been known to have a calming effect, although unfortunately it is usually the fattening foods that do. When a...
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