How is it that a nation so obsessed with counting calories, cutting back carbs, and going on diets is so incredibly overweight? The United States is by far the heaviest country in the world. Almost two thirds of Americans are overweight and one third are obese (“Statistics…”). That’s a lot of fatties in a land of 281,421,906 people (“Question…”). On the surface, it’s simply bewildering as to why America is in such a state because this country is made of people from the rest of the world. However, eastern and western Europeans, Asians, Africans, South Americans, and Australians aren’t faced with even half the number of weight-related health issues that Americans encounter every day.
Other countries aren’t nearly as overweight as America: 5% of people in France are considered overweight or obese (“ObEpi 2003:…”), in Germany less than half of the population is overweight and only 11% obese (“Quickfacts…”), in Japan about 20% are considered overweight (“Criteria…”) and in England, 20 percent are overweight (“Tackling…”). So why are Americans so large?
I can think of a number of reasons as to why this is the case. First and foremost, Americans care too much about too many unimportant things. They care so much about swim suits, fitted clothes, and losing weight to look good, that they lose sight of the real problem, their health. Fad diet followers are faced with a tough realization that they are no better off than before they started Atkins, South Beach, what-have-you, and oftentimes their packing more pounds than in the beginning.
Sprouting from American obsessive-compulsive eating habits is a number of disorders and conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, immobility, etc. Being overweight and obese increases the risks of these very real diseases. Another thing that increases the risks of health problems is the rapid loss and gain of weight that so many people go through on their different diets.
The Atkins and South Beach diets are two popular ones at the present. Both involve limiting a person’s carbohydrate intake. The Atkins diet centers on controlling and limiting the number of “processed” carbohydrates and sugars that a person consumes. The South Beach diet does the same thing, but by cutting out all carbs and sugar, then slowly adding whole grain carbs and unprocessed sugars back into the diet.
The so-called carb craze, encompassing the latest fad diets, has permeated every aspect of American society. Restaurants are printing new menus to cater toward these people, such as Ruby Tuesday’s “Low Carb” dishes and sides, Red Lobster’s “Light House Selections,” and Perkins “Eat Smart” section; fast-food chains are also expanding their “healthy” meal choices such as Burger King’s chicken and shrimp salads and McDonald’s “Meal on the Go,” (the adult “happy meal” which includes a salad, a bottle of water, and a...