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Obesity Epidemic Essay

1992 words - 8 pages

The United States of America is the fattest country in the world. Obesity in America has reach epidemic proportions. Obesity and weight gain has become major concern of public health in the United States. In every state, at least twenty percent of adults are obese, and in twelve of these states the obesity rate is above thirty percent. Mississippi currently holds the highest rate of obesity with 34.9 percent of its residents being obese. On the contrary, Colorado has the lowest rate of obesity with 20.7 percent. CNN estimated that annual medical care costs due to obesity reached $147 billion, but the Institute of Medicine estimates it is closer to $190 billion.
Since the 1980’s obesity rates ...view middle of the document...

The body mass index does not take in account factors such as exercise, muscle mass, and waist size into account. So the prevalent question is, if the body mass index is inaccurate, why does so many organizations still use it? The answer to that question is that it is the easiest way for doctors to examine a patient’s health.
The two primary behaviors causing the obesity epidemic is physical inactivity and unhealthy diet. Both of these causes are well known and preventable, but studies show that most people do not engage in healthy behaviors to prevent obesity. Many Americans are not physically active. In today’s society, people spend hours in front of televisions and computers. Doctors have correlated that 2 hours a day of regular TV viewing time has been linked to overweight and obesity. In addition, society relies more on technology than in the past. With the evolution of newer technology, there are less few physical demands.
Advocates for and against obesity argue that obesity is due to nature versus nurture. From the nurture point of view of this argument, our environment encourages obesity. The environment itself, makes it hard for society to be physically active. Variables include not having recreational places, busy work schedules consisting of long hours, and exposure to unhealthy eating situations. Many Americans believe that “bigger is better,” and because of this belief they are exposed to huge food portions wherever they go. Some of these portions are so huge, they can feed more than one person. Most importantly, society is targeted by food companies to buy their food. Advertising for high-calories, fats, and carbohydrates snacks and drinks often target children and market unhealthy junk foods.
For other people, genetics and their family history may impact their health and weight. Genes regulate how our bodies capture, store, and release energy from food. In addition, genes affect the amount of fat your body stores and where these fat deposits are located within the body. In the past, genes were conditioned to be "energy-thrifty." These genes were multiplied in the past when food sources were unpredictable. Now these same genes are challenged by today's society where food is plentiful. The trend of obesity runs within families. A person’s chances of being overweight are greater if one of their parents are overweight or obese. Children are also very impressionable. A child who has overweight parents that are inactive will likely follow suit. This results in a trend of obesity within a family.
With obesity now recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association, many search for treatments. There are many ways to treat obesity. Many people begin with easy and basic diet, nutrition, and exercise. Some may have to resort to supplements and surgery if they are morbidly obese. The prevention and cure of obesity boils down to education about the type of food they consume and how being physically inactive will cause many health...

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