Greg Last, a local doctor, shared the following story about obesity, “I’ve been a physician for nearly forty years but it wasn’t until Just recent years IVe seen staggering amounts of patients with chronic illnesses related to an inactive and overfed lifestyle,” (Last). Here, in America obesity rates are on what seems to be an unstoppable incline. Recent statistics show that from 1980 to 2000 obesity rates more than doubled. It was then described as reaching epidemic proportions not much later by a prominent U.
S. surgeon. “Americans now consume 2,700 calories a day, bout 500 calories more than 40 years ago. In 2010, we still ranked as the world’s fattest developed nation, with an obesity rate more than double that of many European nations” (Ambinder 4). Karen Ravn said, “Now more than ever, we as parents and a nation must do something about the growth of obesity in our children. We must do more than Just talk, we must be concerned enough to act. ” Many Americans suffer long-term, negative effects because of obesity.
Some may assume that the source of an obese nation is merely a struggle with proper nutrition and dieting. They are sadly misinformed. The causes of this illness that is sweeping the nation have been traced back to a lack of an education in nutrition, the vast number of unhealthy food options introduced to Americans on a daily basis, and an overall air of laziness and distaste for any form of physical activity. Because no one’s lives are stress free, many find it hard to stay ahead of the looming obesity monster Just waiting for its chance to pounce. Though certain factors may not be able to be controlled, that doesn’t mean that one should give up a well-deserved chance to elebrate life in a healthy, positive way… ” (Ravn). As it was stated many do not realize or choose to take advantage of the power that they have over their lives. They believe that change is not possible or even probable. If this very outlook were to change all of America would feel its tremendous influence. As stated above our country is not in hopeless state; if not only the children, as the future of America, were educated as well as the parents, it would further ensure the optimistic outlook for this nation.
Many adults have sheepishly admitted to taking one look at a food label and mmediately becoming discouraged by numbers, percentages, and words they simply don’t understand (Ambinder 6). They end up going for the cheaper not to mention much less nutritious frozen snacks that their children seem to enjoy. Little do they know they are harming their children more than they are helping with these fat and sugar loaded treats. Elena L. Serrano once said, “Parents often buy cheaply manufactured, energy-dense, sugary and salty snacks that crowd grocery store shelves and freezers to simply save time and effort. Although these treats may be asty they slowly destroy one’s health. If adults only understood what they were buying we would see a dramatic decrease in the ever increasing rate of obesity in America. Another cause known to lead to obesity, especially in children, is the abundance of “fast foods” that although may be quick and easy, as stated in the name, quite honestly also quickly and easily fill stomachs with unhealthy oils, fats, sugars, and of course mounds of salt.
It is bad enough that these foods are being shelled out for every meal in the home but when they are introduced as a suitable eal at scnool t , I Is out 0T control. Many students slmply graD a greasy slice 0T pizza and walk straight past the salad bar without a second though. Although there have been recent changes to attempt to better lunches by the first lady, Michelle Obama, that have made an impact, further advances may not only be possible but absolutely necessary. A recent survey by parents of elementary school children shows their wishes to improve school cafeteria lunches to be not only nutritious but also delicious.
David Kessler, the author of The End of Overeating, accuses the food ndustry of, “manipulating the levels of sugar, salt, and fats in food in order to create a neurochemical addiction. ” He continues with, “Food companies like to keep us happy, and theyVe fgured out which molecular combinations make our mouths water. Over time, these “hyper palatable” foods change our brain chemistry in ways that make us overeat… ” (Warner 3). By introducing healthy foods at a young age this “neurochemical addiction” may be prevented and better habits may be produced.
A third possible cause to the obesity epidemic other than bad eating habits, is the lack f activity in a day to day basis. In this day and age of technology, many people are used to easy and immediate outcome through a simple action. Because exercise does not fit into the category above, numerous individuals are deterred when they are faced by the more rigorous actions required in physical activity expecting instantaneous results. By implementing a fun exercise routine in every home many problems could be solved. “The rise in obesity is associated with a rogue’s gallery of individual, social, and technological factors.
The “Big Two,” as scientists call the eading factors, are reduced exercise and increased food consumption: Americans are ingesting more and more calories than theyre burning” (Spradlin). Many view exercise as a big hoopla and use it as an excuse to not participate in it. Being active doesn’t have to be running a marathon it can be something that is an enjoyable hobby that involves some sort of physical movement. Being active doesn’t require any extra money, unlike paying to take nutrition classes or going on crash diets. Anyone can choose to exercise, everyone is capable.
All that is necessary for one to become hysically active is a small lifestyle change that would make all the difference. “As with nutrition, parents can be instrumental in discouraging sedentary activities, mainly by reinforcing the positive benefits of physical activity. For example, parents can praise children for playing outside after school. Participating in a sport with a child and organizing family activities, such as a bike hike or even a walk after dinner, can provide children with powerful inducements to modify their behavior” (Haney).
The biggest known cause of obesity could be eliminated simply by encouraging egular exercise in the home and at school. There are also some very serious effects of obesity. Everyday additional obese patients are admitted into medical care. Health care prices have risen through the roof. People who are suffering from obesity pay more than 42% more on health insurances because of the risk of diabetes and chronic diseases, among other health risks. Out of every 5 patients to enter a health care building, whether it is a hospital or doctor’s office, 3 are said to be unhealthily overweight (Spradlin 2).
Marc Ambinder said, “In short, even as the ation is convulsed by a political struggle to “reform” health care, no effort to contain its costs is likely to succeed if we can’t beat obesity. ” Health care reform has been a hot topic lately within the U. S. As time’s gone on, it has become blatantly obvious tnat nealtn care Isn’t necessarlly tne only tnlng tnat needs to De reTormea, D American people as well, to ensure overall wellbeing of Americans. Health care problems cannot be absolved until obesity is conquered. It has been proven that those suffering from obesity are more subject to, among other things, depression.
Because of this they are likely to miss more work, school, and additional commitments or activities. Suicidal tendencies have also been linked to the feelings of depression and low self-esteem that accompany obese people (McVeigh). Serrano said, “Improper weight and diet strongly correlate with chronic diseases, and an often over looked, but very serious problem, that is an issue of life and death. That issue is one of people feeling trapped and depressed who then look to suicide as their only What can be done to stop the raging forward motion of obesity? How scape… could America change without Americans learning how to change themselves and their lifestyles? Should the obesity rise continue, our nation will only get worse. Obesity proposes very serious health issues, including mental, emotional and even social problems. As Karen Ravn said, “Now more than ever, we as parents and a nation must do something about the growth of obesity in our children. We must do more than Just talk, we must be concerned enough to act. ” Only we can change our lives by taking charge and acting. Therefore, obesity is a growing problem hroughout the nation that causes many harmful effects.
Obesity can be not only be slowed but also eventually prevented by parents becoming better educated to make wiser decisions nutritionally for both themselves and their children. Not only should Americans be educated but they should use that education to make smart decisions when dining out as well as in the home. The final factor to kill off obesity is the integration of some sort of physical activity on a regular basis. By eliminating the causes of obesity, Americans will no longer have to fear the chronic illnesses or epression that follow in their wake.
Works Cited Ambinder, Marc. “Beating Obesity. ” Atlantic Monthly Vol. 305, No. 4. May 2010: SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Nov 2013. McVeigh, Tracy. “Obesity Epidemic: Who’s to Blame?. ” The Observer (London, England). 25 Oct 2009: 16. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Nov 2013. Ravn, Karen. “‘We’re Fat Because… ‘. ” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA). 14 Jul 2008: SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Nov 2013. Spradlin, Terry. “Childhood Obesity and Nutrition Issues… ” Center for Evaluation and Education policy, 2012. web. 18 NOV. 2013