ENG 101 SL1
26 June, 2006
Obesity in America
Obesity in America is a continually growing problem and even worse our own children are sharing in this problem. A commentary in the Washington Times reports that sixty million Americans are obese. What really is the meaning of obese? Obese is having a body mass index of thirty percent or more. In recent years, the percentage of obese Americans has risen. In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, the percentage of obese Americans rose from 22.9 in 1984-1994 to 32.2 in 2003 and 2004. The study also says if you throw in the number of "over weight" Americans (body mass index of 25 to 29.9) the total jumps to 66.3 percent of all Americans (Alfred A18). Why are we steadily becoming heavier as a nation, primarily because of our eating habits, genetic and metabolic causes and an excess of inactivity. As more and more people of our nation deal with obesity, they also have to deal with major health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack and Type II diabetes that all stem from being obese. Initially, the eating habits we have started all the way back in our mother's womb says an ABC News broadcast of "A Closer Look." The food the mother eats has some effect on the taste and smells in the amniotic fluids to a seven month old fetus. By age two, they have already developed some of our eating preferences. This means the more fatty foods we feed our children when they are young, the more they will depend on them as an adult. Our eating habits also have come from our fast-paced lifestyles which include the availability of the fast food restaurants. Having twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week access to these ready to eat meals have caused us to leave the kitchen and the more nutritious meals behind. Having the high calorie and large portions of fast food at a low price ready when ever and where we are is of course very tempting. It also starts a chain reaction of events that lead to over weight and obesity if consumed in large amounts. Over consumption of foods like these lead to over eating, less exercise and increased body fat. With that you fall straight into reduced fitness, increased stress, sleep disorders, low energy and back to the desire to eat. Our schools are also causes of bad eating habits. Most schools in the country are starting to deal with the problem of lunches that are too early in the day and have a poor selection of food. Of course, when you say to most school age children you can choose between this pizza and this salad, they choose the pizza. If they are having lunch at ten thirty or eleven in the morning this leads to snaking during the rest of the day. With the eating habits of the individual being a great cause of obesity, their genetics play a part as well. Although obesity is not always in our control, genetics also play a major role in this problem. A child's body fat is closely related to that of their parents. A child with one parent who is over weight or obese is sixty percent more likely to being obese themselves, and a child with both parents who are over weight or obese could have as high as a ninety percent probability of obesity (Sizer and Whitney 324). Genetics play a major part in how fast or slow the body gains or losses weight. There are a number of theories to support this, such as Enzyme theory which says excess fat storage may stem from elevated concentrations of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and the Fat cell number theory which states body fatness is determined by both the number and size of fat cells. There are also the set-point theory and the Thermogenesis I, II and III theories (Sizer and Whitney 325). Although genetics do not mean that obesity is or is not inevitable. They make it likely, and the environment must provide the means to make it happen. With or without genetics in your corner, it also comes down to your activity...
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