With fast food chains creating more and more ways to entice the American public to eat their food, it is becoming harder and harder to stay in shape these days. The fast life of America is quickly taking its toll on the public with the little enemy called obesity creeping up at an alarming rate. In fact, it is coming so fast, the Surgeon General has called it an "epidemic". So what is Obesity? Obesity is a condition characterized by excess bodily fat. Currently, over 119 million or 64.5% of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese (No author, bbc.co.uk). This is an outrageous statistic, and it almost seems fudged and laughable. Almost two thirds of the American population is fat. Why is this happening? We will take a look at some of the key factors and possible solutions in this report.
We can begin in the life of a child. I can remember when I was a teenager in junior high and high school. Lunch time was a feast with plenty of pizza, burgers, fries, soda, and sweets. The only limit to what you could eat was the amount of lunch money you had. There weren't any nutrition classes for me to take, and it was not cool to sit and eat a ham sandwich when your friend had a pizza. Even if you did want something "good" for you, it would be hidden and probably more expensive. So, I remember eating two boxes of French fries everyday for lunch because they cost fifty cents a box. Luckily I changed my eating habits as I grew older, or I would have gained some serious weight.
I believe this is where the problem of obesity starts. School's need to educate kids more on what they are putting in their body. They make it too accessible for a young adolescent to pollute themselves with bad nutrition. It is predicted that by the year 2010, nearly fifty percent of children in North and South America will be considered medically overweight (No Author, Editorial). Think about our future policemen, firemen, and soldiers. Where are they going to come from? They are our children now, but the current rate of obesity is going to have them all susceptible to heart disease and cancers. This is a serious problem that is going to take our country down if we continue on this pace. Schools are now trying to fight back against obesity by changing items in snack machines from unhealthy fattening candy bars and other items to what is known as green shelf items (Aldridge, pg.1). One of the biggest suggestions that is being made at this time is to add warning labels on sodas. With all of the low-fat, low calorie, low-carbohydrate, and Atkins diets roaming around, people have forgotten a key culprit to adding weight; soda. One of every five calories in the American diet is from a liquid, and the single biggest "food" is soda (Marchione, pg.1). Soda does not fill you up like food does. People are left with an empty feeling after drinking them. Sodas are packed with a huge amount of sugar and calories that people don't recognize as a fat producer. So, two groups of researchers are trying to add evidence that soda just doesn't go hand in hand with obesity, but actually causes it (Marchione, pg.1). The research groups want to put warning labels on soda cans. Barry Popkin from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill says, "We've done it with cigarettes." Richard Adamson, a senior science consultant to the American Beverage Association says, "I think that's laughable."
Obviously there are two different opinions. I have found that most of the people that think it is a bad idea to put labels on cans usually have an invested interest in the soda companies. Some have stock in beverages and some are workers of the companies. In my opinion, it is a good idea. Obesity is an epidemic, and if we are going to change it we need to first recognize it, and do something radical. Putting labels on soda cans is a radical solution. Americans will think twice when they see a big fat red...