Contributing Factors to Obesity
Obesity is a chronic and serious problem within American society. It is estimated that close to 70% of the American adult population is overweight, or obese. This is a growing concern for the future of America. People become obese when more calories are consumed, than the body can burn. Many factors contribute to this growing epidemic including, lifestyle, psychological problems, and even parents. The biggest contributor to being overweight is many peoples lifestyle.
America has become a very fast paced society. In a world where time is money, many people simply do not have the time to eat healthy. Fast food restaurants have popped up on every street corner allowing for people to grab a quick meal, rather than eating a healthier alternative. The food served at fast food restaurants are known to have an increase in fat content, calories, and sometimes have little to no nutritional value. These foods are made to taste good, rather than being a good source of nutrition. The U.S. government suggests that males 19-30 years old consume 2,400 calories, 65g of fat, and 300g of carbohydrates per day. A Big Mac combo meal (with fries and a drink) from McDonalds has, 1,200 calories, 108g of fat, and 136g of carbohydrates. One meal from McDonalds almost fulfills a person’s suggested calorie, carbohydrate intake, and almost doubles the suggested fat intake. The fast food industry is a major contributor to America’s obesity problem because of their accessibility, price, and nutritional content. A person who eats fast food on a regular basis will have problems with their weight, blood pressure, heart, and physical wellbeing. Fast food is not the only contributing factor to obesity; psychological factors also play an important role in the matter.
According to David Mela, “Craving is an interesting phenomenon because it appears to arise in response to both internal and external cues.” (Page 129-130) Cravings for certain foods are a nature way for our bodies to tell us that our body needs a certain nutrient. But many people who suffer from depression or anxiety tend to have more cravings for comfort foods. Many people use sweets and fatty foods as a coping mechanism for their problems. Food releases dopamine into our brains, allowing humans to cope with problems that may arise. The more people eat, the more dopamine is released. This allows for overeating and over indulging in foods that might not be good for the body. Patients who are morbidly obese tend to gain more weight, because of the physiological effect that food provides. The more people overeat, the more weight they will gain. Overeating contributes heavily to America’s obesity problem, but in many cases the problem stems from the people around us, most importantly our parents.
Parents are the most influential person in children’s lives. A way a person in brought up can affect them their entire lives. Pearl states, “What parents teach from a young age… what parents bring into the home to eat… what parents do themselves… what parents eat themselves: this is how children learn.” (Page 116) Many parents do not realize that their actions are reflected too their children. By raising a child to eat unhealthy, parents are setting up their children for failure. A lack of nutritional education is a major factor that plays into obesity. Many adults do not realize that they are incorrectly and overfeeding their children. Without proper guidance, and knowledge children will carry these habits into adulthood. By teaching children the importance of nutrition at an early age, the percentage of obese children and adults would fall dramatically.
Obesity is a growing disease within the American population. The effects of obesity include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even death. With making correct food choices, be psychological strong and educating our children, the...
Cited: Mela, David. “Food, Diet and Obesity” 1st Edition. Woodhead Publishing, 2004. 129-130. eBook.
Nissenberg, Sandra. “Eating Right from 8 to 18: Nutrition Solutions for Parents.” 1st Edition. New York: Wiley, 2002. 116. eBook.
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