Overview And Nature Of The Obesity Epidemic

2673 words - 11 pages

It is common to crave the many delicious foods that are found in today’s markets and restaurants. Some may enjoy them more than others and create an unhealthy eating behavior. For this reason it is not surprising that many Americans face an obesity epidemic. The great debate is whether obesity should be labeled as a disease or simply an individual choice due to a person’s lifestyle. The obesity epidemic, recently labeled a disease, continues to rise in America. However, alternative solutions and preventative measures show that obesity is not a disease. On the contrary, it is a lifestyle choice that must be faced.
Cutler, Glaeser, Shapiro wrote a journal in 2003 that described how America had increased its obesity though out the years. He described that in early years 1960’s; families would prepare, cook, and eat at home; spending hours cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. Decades later those same meals could be prepared in half the time. This became possible due to mass preparation by food manufactures. With new innovations, processed foods were packaged, frozen, and artificially flavored with improved preservatives. This obviously made it easy for anyone who was hungry to find something quick to eat. This led to an individual’s increase in quantity and variety of foods that can be consumed. By the 1970’s obesity elevated to 14%, and the classification of obesity was on its way (Cutler, Glaeser, Shapiro). In this same theory is how many Americans become obese; they consume more frequent calories than needed. Today more than one third of Americans adults and about 17% of youth are obese (“Adult Obesity”). The sales of fast food has also more than double today than in the 1970’s (Greenblatt). “Obesity is one of the fastest growing causes for illness and death in the United States,” says U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona (Greenblatt)
When the word obese is mentioned most people may think of a 400lb person. The truth is many are on walking around at a weight of 280lbs (“Is Obesity a Disease?”). According to the Center Diseases Control and Prevention, a person is considered obese when their body max index, commonly referred to BMI, is over 30. The BMI formula is calculated taking a person’s weight in kilograms and dividing it by their height in meters squared (“Adult Obesity”). This is just one way to way a person can be classified as obese. But before a person even reaches this level they can be screened annually at a clinic by a health provider. “Defining obesity as a disease makes little medical sense, since, rather than judging a person’s health based solely on his/her BMI, a physician needs to examine each patient as an individual, take a detailed history, and assess clinical parameters, such as blood insulin, cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.,” says Geoffrey Kabat, an epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine(Kabat). They can ask for recommendation from doctors to further educate themselves with the health risks associated...

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