Obesity Research Paper

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          Obesity in America has gotten out of control over the last few decades with more than 30.5 percent of adults considered obese by current medical standards. The world we live in today, is a world where obesity is killing more people than smoking.  I believe that Americans are not getting sufficient exercise and are consuming too much unhealthy food.  These foods are causing damage to people’s health.

Obesity is defined by a measurement known as body mass index also referred to as BMI. A person is considered Obese if they have a BMI of 30 or greater.  This number can be calculated from an individual[’s weight and height. BMI does not calculate the percentage of an individual’s body fat but is a helpful estimate of a healthy body weight. There are many different categories for BMI; a normal and ‘healthy’ BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9, overweight BMI is between 25 to 30, and obese is between 30.1 to 34.9. In 1994 it was recorded that 59 percent of men and 49 percent of women have BMI’s over 25 (Critser).

Portion sizes in the U.S. have increased tremendously since the 1970’s. Portion sizes have particularly increased in fast-food restaurants. Soft drinks, Cheeseburgers and salty snacks have all grown in size since 1977. Soft drinks went from being 13 ounces in 1977 to almost 20 ounces in 1998. Cheeseburgers increased from 5.8 ounces in 1977 to 7.3 ounces in 1998. The increase in portion size is definitely linked to why Americans have also increased in size. “Super-size” fries, “Big Gulp” drinks, and “Jumbo” shakes are all examples of exploding portion sizes (Obesity Society ). These names are recognized by almost every American and should be avoided by every American. Increased portion size is causing Americans to eat more calories than they use in a day. Recent studies have shown that people eat more when they are confronted with larger portion sizes.

Americans are consuming too much fast food and other unhealthy foods. Fast food is easily available and Americans cannot resist it.  In America today it is cheaper to eat snacks and fast food than it is to each fruits and vegetables. American spending on fast food has increased eighteen times since 1970. Fast food is available 24 hours a day, easily accessible, cheap, promoted heavily, and designed to taste really good and have people want more. 1/4th of all vegetables eaten in the U.S. are French fries. Another reason why American’s are consuming so much more fast-food is because the traditional “family meal” has been eliminated from many people’s routines. Today’s families have very conflicting schedules and meeting up for meals is difficult. Food prepared at home is healthier and also allows people to control the portion size. Fast-food is very high in fat and contains too many calories. For example a hamburger and French fries from Burger King contains 50 grams of fat and 2000 calories, which is the fat and calorie quota for one day. The average adult shouldn’t consume more than 65 grams of fat or 2000 calories a day (Cardello) .

Fast food companies trick many Americans into thinking they are making a healthy choice. These restraunts are trying to offer salads and lower calorie foods on their menus to attract customers. However, what Americans don’t know is that some of the salads offered actually contain more calories than the burgers. Most of the salads offered come with very high calorie and high fat dressings, which turns a healthy meal into an unhealthy meal. American’s need to be aware that many salad dressings are unhealthy and should be avoided. Instead, people should choice dressings that contain zero calories and that are low in fat.

Obesity is one of the highest causes of death in America. In the past 20 years, the average weight of an American man increased from 168 to 180 pounds, while the average American woman increased from 142 to 152 pounds. The increase in weight suggests that the amount of calories...
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