Obesity in America
When people think about health what usually comes up is cancer, or some kind of disease that will hold you back. Not many people really think about one of the biggest issues out there that people don’t really take serious. It’s called Obesity, I know you might think you know what that means but do you really know what it is?. In America there are thousands of hundreds of people that or obese. Over 2/3rds of America is overweight or obese. This problem is associated with many other health problems, including congestive heart failure and diabetes. For many of us adults, overcoming obesity seems impossible. But that is not the case. There are many programs out there that target America’s obese citizens. However, the main focus seems to be towards the younger generation. Childhood obesity seems to be escalating throughout the past few years. This may be due to the convenience of foods high in fat. Teens and adolescents rely on things they can afford. Fast-food restaurants and low-cost candy is affordable and convenient; therefore, children turn to these. Adolescents are also under an extreme amount of stress, often juggling school and work. To balance their lives, some consider caffeinated beverages and energy drinks to help. But that is the exact opposite effect they are having. Studies have shown that Brown 2
one of the largest sources of extra calories in the American diet is sweetened beverages. There are some ideas of putting a 20% tax on these drinks in hopes to cut calorie intake from beverages by 13 percent for adults and 11 percent for children. Another reason obesity has increased recently may be because of how easy it is to be lazy. Technological advances have created laziness in America. When faced with the decision to take the stairs or the elevator, the average person would pick the elevator – another factor of the national weight gain. The cause of this problem has been a mystery but research has been conducted. The states with the highest obesity rates are linked with high levels of poverty and low levels of education. For example, Mississippi (33.8%), Alabama (31.6%), and West Virginia (31.3%) are among the poorest states in the nation. When unemployment increases, people look to cut expenses, often resorting to cheap and high-fat food. On the other hand, states with the lowest obesity rates, such as Colorado (19.1%), Connecticut (21.4%), and D.C. (21.3%) are associated with outdoor recreation. The nation has implemented many programs to help solve the obesity problem. Several companies have created diet versions of their products and advertisements for healthy choices have increased. Restaurants, like Subway, have proven that healthy eating will result in losing vast amounts of weight. Brown 3
But the most effective strategy to solve the problem may be starting by making individual changes. Obesity is considered a disease. In many cases people carry the gene for obesity and are forced to make lifestyle changes to deal with it. For example, parents who pass down the gene to their children can incorporate exercise and healthy eating in their children’s lifestyles at a young age. In other cases, heredity is not the problem but the choices people make are. Parents who develop habits of overeating will pass their unhealthy habits down to their kids. Many parents have also turned to food as a coping mechanism. When children are fussing or crying, some parents offer treats rewarding good behavior. These strategies are not recommended because they only teach children that overeating solves their problems, which is definitely not the case. There are many factors that contribute to the growing obesity throughout the nation. But America is not in the dark when it comes to the disease. We have implemented several programs to prevent the spread of weight gain, but the solution may be in individual choices we make. We have to want to be healthy to stay in shape and this cannot be done by eating poorly and avoiding physical exercise.