America - Land of the Free, home of the obese? As our country wages war against terrorism overseas, another domestic battle is taking place: the battle against fat. At the turn of the millennium, an estimated 64 percent of American adults were either overweight or obese (CDC). This unsettling statistic reveals the fact that the United States' proud citizens have trouble digesting, that we are the fattest country on the planet. In today's society, technological advances allow us to go about daily life with the least possible amount of physical exertion. Combine that with an infinite supply of cheap, delicious, and high-calorie food and it adds up to a problem of "supersized" proportion. It became official in 2000 when U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher declared obesity a national epidemic. Although the government failed to anticipate this problem before it exploded to such an epic proportion, the obesity epidemic in America could have been foreseen before it escalated to this level. America's sedentary lifestyle, overconsumption, growing portions, high fat foods, and a barrage of advertisements from food companies equated to the growing number of obese. It is no secret that physical activity is essential to maintaining one's health and well-being. However, many Americans do not get adequate exercise. In fact, twenty-seven percent of American Adults engage in no physical activity at all (Brownell 71). In the past, one could manage to maintain weight by simply going about their daily routine, whether it was school, work, or engaging in recreational activities. However, in today's world, elevators, escalators, cars, dishwashers, riding lawnmowers, and other machines make it possible to get by with the least amount of physical activity. Computers and the Internet make a trip to the library a thing of Harnois 2 the past. Now there is even a device that will walk for you! Many people have simply become lazy, and if there are machines to do everything for us, then why not? Most do not realize the detrimental health effects of sedentariness. However, those who want to take the extra time to get cardiovascular exercise would have trouble doing so, as most streets and highways are not suitable for bicyclers or pedestrians. City smog makes air inadequate for breathing during strenuous activity, and many roads do not even have sidewalks. Gym memberships fees exceed many Americans' budgets. Our society does not make the opportunity to exercise easy accessible by any means. It is clear that technology has made life nearly physically effortless, and trends show no signs of stopping.
Adults are not the only people at risk for inactivity. Almost half of all children do not participate in any regular physical activity (Brownell 72), and the number of children participating in sports is steadily decreasing. Many schools have cut Physical Education requirements to make room for more academics, so exercise in school is not happening. The effects of increasing sedentariness among youth are becoming more and more prevalent. Indicators of heart disease can now be found in children, and inactive children have higher blood pressure and lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. While kids are out of school, however, free time is spent watching television or using a computer, rather than playing sports or walking to a friend's house. Overweight children are likely to become overweight adults if no intervention in activity is administered.
People typically eat whatever they want, whenever they want, then wonder why they are 50 pounds overweight. When becoming obese is imminent, they will try one or more of several "fad diets" to try to lose the weight. Most of these diets promise fast results after eating what the program calls for, such as restricted or discontinued consumption of carbohydrates or fat, and
some will tell you exactly what to eat for each meal. Most do not stay on such diets because it is almost impossible to...