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Obesity In The United States Essay

1408 words - 6 pages


Obesity in America has been an ever present issue for the past three decades. Unfortunately, it is

being passed from one generation to the next. There are approximately over 60 million Americans who

are obese and now, children are pre-disposed to this epidemic. According to Alfred, a person is

considered obese of their body mass index is over 30 percent. This number continues to rise and the

number of overweight Americans, whose body mass index is 25 to 29.9, this total escalates to over 66

percent of Americans (A18). This begs the question as to why we are becoming more and more obese

as a nation. There are a mixture of factors including; heredity, inactivity and poor eating habits. As

more and more people rank in the overweight to obese category, the more health care providers must

deal with serious health issues such as hypertension, heart disease and adult onset diabetes.

The most frustrating aspect of obesity is genetics, because we have little control over this. If one

or both parents are obese, the likelihood that a child will struggle with weight issues significantly

increases. If only one parent is obese, the child has a 60 percent chance, but if both parents are obese,

the child's probability of obesity skyrockets to 90 percent. One primary theory that supports how fast or

slow a person's body gains or loses weight is the enzyme theory. This states that extra fat storage is due

to high concentrations of lipoprotein lipase or LPL. Another theory is the fat cell number theory that

says an individuals body fat levels are correlated with the size and amount of fat cells present. While

genetics are certainly a factor, they are not the be all end all determining factor in obesity. If one was

not blessed with a naturally slender family, then exercise is crucial.

Inactivity and poor eating habits are two of the paramount factors contributing to American

obesity. This modern world of computers, video games and television, places people, particularly

children, at greater risk for becoming obese. For adults, there is so much technology that makes manual

labor unnecessary. For example, many who work on farms or in factories do not use physical labor, but

instead a tractor or a machine to get accomplish a job. Unlike our predecessors over a century ago,

when physical labor was at 30 percent, now it is less than 1 percent. Many schools are not facilitating
OBESITY IN THE UNITED STATES 3

this issue, either. Physical Education or PE classes used to be mandatory, now so many schools are

making cuts to their budget and these programs are usually the first on the chopping block. Eating

habits are another facet of this prevalent problem. People's lives are so hectic and busy, that few people

cook at home like they used to. It is so easy to swing through the fast food drive thru or pick up a

bucket...

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