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By jonesemilee Dec 16, 2012 1174 Words
Obesity: A Complex Problem with a Simple Solution

Many people in the United States believe that if it weren’t for fast food restaurants, they would not be obese. McDonald’s has been blamed 100% and sued for individual weight problems of Americans. While fast food may be one of the contributors to the obesity epidemic, it surely doesn’t stand-alone. Obesity is caused by many factors, depression, sedentary lifestyle, overeating disorders and food choices. Many of those factors are learned and due to home environment and your parents lifestyle and habits. Since the 1960s obesity in America has over tripled. Today 30.5 percent, or 69 million, American Adults are considered obese. In addition, 13 percent of children ages 6-11 years old are considered overweight, and well on their way to becoming obese. Obesity causes over 300,000 deaths a year. Obesity results from excessive calorie intake that the body doesn’t need. Genetic, Environmental and behavioral factors have also been linked to the onset of obesity. Obesity is on the rise and is reaching epidemic proportion to all Americans. Obesity in children is a rising issue and the stem for many challenges adolescents encounter. Children are becoming obese because of poor health choices and inattentive parenting. One of the main causes is lack of physical activity. Physical education is being cut from many public schools because of budgets and its assumed that the child will go home and get all the physical activity they need there. Wrong, because of the society we are in today, home awaits the television, the Xbox and the Mac book. The big problem with childhood obesity is that it creates a domino effect that never ends. Children will start to show signs of obesity at a young age. More often than not parents will ignore it and assume their children will slim out around puberty, but puberty actually sends your hormones raging so children tend to get larger. After puberty, often even before, children become increasingly self-conscious of their weight. This can cause many psychological problems down the road such as depression, eating disorders and low self-worth. Also, overweight children are the main targets for bullies. If a child has reached obesity by high school it is rare that they slim down and become healthier, it is a one in three chance. The problem starts young, that’s why it needs to be attacked young. The best way to attack childhood obesity is implement healthy lifestyle choices at a young age. Children act on what they are taught. Many children are given snacks that are high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup and placed in front of the television. Because this is what has always been done for them, it’s what they will do for themselves. If a child is taught to be active and to grab an apple instead of a Twinkie, that one choice will follow them throughout their entire lives. Also, removing physical education courses is the worst thing that could be done for the problem. Many kids are dependant on their technology at home and the 45 minutes of exercise they get at school very well may be the only exercise they get. If children are not taught to be active regularly and good eating habits young, the bad habits will most definitely follow them into adulthood. The Ugliest part of obesity shows in adulthood, in the normal everyday Americans. If you are obese as an adult you face an ever-tougher challenge than bullies, your health. Obesity can cause heart disease, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. All of which can lead to fatal outcomes. Also, all of those diseases and many others linked to obesity are cause for insurance companies to deny you coverage due to “pre-existing conditions.” Being obese can also cause emotional and psychological problems. In a proven study, most overweight people have low self-esteem and depression. These psychological problems can hurt a person's social life. As an adult being alone, without a spouse and no self-esteem is a recipe for disaster and can lead to substance abuse, self-mutilation and ultimately suicide.

The best or most effective way to target obesity in adults in the United States is yet to be determined. To prevent further obesity in adults would be like I mentioned above, attack it when it’s young. However, unfortunately the problem has already reached epidemic proportions so where do we go from here? A common excuse for lack of exercise in adults is the cost of gym memberships. So take that and lets make Gyms more affordable. Not only should Gym memberships be made more affordable but also gyms should be offered with insurance policies, or covered and coded under preventative medicine just like gastric bypass. If insurance companies added gym memberships to their plans, it would be amazing to see the decrease in amounts spent on gastric bypass, surgeries due to diabetes, and other expensive preventative procedures. Another way to tackle obesity within adults is to combat fast food corporations. Fast food executives need to be charged more to advertise on television, eventually resulting in fewer advertisements and less time slots of fast food. Also, the United States needs to put a much higher tax on fast food restaurants. If we are thinking about taxing cigarettes up to 10% why not fast food? They both are major factors in an unhealthy lifestyle that could result in death. The best way to tackle obesity is to teach and educate healthy lifestyle habits to everyone. In our schools, in the workplace, in social areas, everywhere! We are American’s and we rely on instant gratification. When we try to lose weight we turn to supplements, trainers, medication and huge calorie deficit hoping to achieve our dream results. That doesn’t work, and if it does it is unhealthy and you are likely to gain it all back when returned to a normal diet. Eating smaller portions, getting at least 20 minutes of activity a day and drinking plenty of water is the minimum requirement to a healthy lifestyle. Even with doing the minimum a smaller waistline is guaranteed, your mood is guaranteed to improve, your skin, your hair, everything about you will work better and feel better. Why are we the fattest country in the world when it is so simple to avoid obesity, and even to correct it? I challenge everyone to take one cookie instead of 4, fill your cup with water instead of soda, walk to the nearest salad bar with the family instead of driving to McDonalds, all of those small changes puts you on the right path to a healthy lifestyle. Last but not least, please educate your children while their young. Teach them at a young age the importance of fitness to avoid the problems down the road. I’m not asking for a miracle, I am just asking for change. If we all make the small effort we will be steadily on our way to a healthier America.

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