Obesity: An Epidemic in the American Society

According to the American Medical Association, one is considered to be obese when 30 percent of your body weight is pure fat. Obesity occurs when one has an immense calorie intake that he/she can burn in a day. Obese people are known to be more prone to diseases than non-obese. The condition is responsible for deadly diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and gallbladder diseases. In severe cases, it can lead to death. Several factors influence the obesity rate as mentioned below (Gostin para.4).

Consumption of junk food is perceived as the normal way of life among many nations around the world. Research indicates that the majority of people spend more money on fast food snacks than they do on anything else. The reason for such tendencies is ‘convenience’. As a result, many people including kids turn out to be overfed but malnourished. The most worrying fact is that this does not seem to change any time soon. In America for instance, the majority of people spend more money on snacks than they do on food and automobiles. Their diet mainly consists of soda, chips snacks, sugary desserts, and alcoholic beverages. Indeed, fast food has provided more than 90 percent of America’s job opportunities. What’s more, corn has become very popular among many people, owing to its affordability. This is so although corn has detrimental effects due to its high level of sugar, especially when taken in excess. Owing to its low quality, it appears to be less expensive and hence becomes the choice for many. America is one of the nations where corn is extensively used. It is indeed the most common foodstuff in America. A standard tin of soda in America is sweetened using corn-based fructose other than sugar or honey. In reality, corn is used in the production of nearly every kind of food in America. For instance, it is used to make apples glossy (Gostin Para. 5).

The portion of food consumed can also influence the obesity rate. When taken in excessive quantities, too much food increases the chances of obesity. However, too many people are unaware of this fact. More often than not, they find themselves consuming too much food due to several factors such as stress. Most Americans fall into this category. Surveys have continually indicated that binge eating has indeed become the country’s biggest killer. Most Studies done on individuals’ body changes for those that have visited the USA revealed most of them had gained about five pounds in their first three months of stay. According to research conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), American croissants contain about 100 more calories as compared to French ones. Furthermore, pasta helpings in the USA are approximately five times the standard in other countries. In most American restaurants, more food is sold for less money. It becomes a deal that is too good to evade. Furthermore, in a world of vast wealth, restaurants serving large portions of food to their respectable customers are part of society. This could be a big contributor to the rise in obesity levels (Epstein Para. 6).

Lack of adequate knowledge is a major hindrance to the prevention of obesity. Most people seem to have very little knowledge of healthy eating. The ideal food is conceived to be fast food not because of its good quality, but because of the increased need for sparing very limited time. In their attempt to meet the increased cost of living, many people find the urge to utilize time maximally in their jobs. As a result, the majority of them opt to go for fast food that requires very little or no time to prepare. According to research, only a very small percentage of Americans have the slightest idea of what healthy foods consist of. As a matter of fact, in most American supermarkets, fast food that is already processed is readily available. Genetically modified food is also easily available and sometimes not marked. This makes it even harder to identify healthy food. In reality, American taste buds are excessively used to highly sugared and salty foods (Collins Para. 7).

Lack of enough and proper physical exercise is another factor that increases one’s chances of becoming obese. Most people do not exercise enough. Instead, they spend most of their time watching television. At school, most children do not have daily physical education lessons as required. Physical activities have largely been replaced by technology. This is more so in the developed world. Ideally, about 60 percent of Americans do not get regular exercise, while 80 percent of them do not exercise appropriately. On the other hand, physical exercises are vital for maintaining healthy body weight.

Genetic factors can at times be the cause of obesity. Science has proved that genes can cause some kinds of disorders that can lead to obesity. However, not all people that are predisposed to obesity develop into obesity.

Alongside the terminal diseases caused by obesity, there are other major consequences associated with this condition. Obesity may lower one’s quality of life and could make people undergo several psychological problems, such as lack of social acceptance. The obese are labeled as lazy, disgusting, insatiable, and even sluggish. Most of them are detested and the majority never regain full social acceptance long after the condition is gone. In addition, the medical expenses related to obesity are too high. In the USA, the medical expenses related to obesity were estimated to be about a 99.4billion dollars in the year1997 (Lawrence Para. 7).

On the other hand, Obesity can indeed be prevented. However, change has to start from home. Families have to move away from buying processed and prepackaged food and instead get back to consuming healthy homemade food. Indeed, Family members should detach themselves from the addiction to fast food. Moreover, vast public awareness should be created on healthy living. People should be educated on the importance of healthy eating habits and also enlightened on the effects of eating junk food. Schools should be in the front line in this battle. They should act as agents of healthy living. Health and nutrition education should be made compulsory for all students. State legislators should also pass laws that completely ban the sale of Junk food in all restaurants and cafeterias. For instance, in California, laws were passed banning the sale of machine-dispensed snacks and drinks in elementary schools. Physical education should be promoted. Fitness programs should be encouraged in all schools to cater to every student, including those who are economically disadvantaged. This notwithstanding, people should admit that change cannot happen overnight and hence the need to be patient enough for the transformation to be viable (Lawrence Para. 8).

In conclusion, Obesity poses a big problem throughout the world. The increased rate of obesity should not be ignored. However, the rate of increase in the USA is particularly disturbing. It is estimated that more than 60 percent of Americans are now considered to be overweight and 25 percent of these are obese. These estimates are rising gradually. Over the last two years, there has been an increase in overweight children whose statistics have tripled. The Obesity condition has affected over a third of America’s population, qualifying it to be a national epidemic. It is estimated to cause up to 400,000 deaths in the USA annually. Consequently, Americans ought to know that they are on the verge of a worsening health crisis. They should realize the need to change their eating habits and exercise more regularly. Parents, as well as children, should create time to exercise regularly and appropriately. Healthy living is very vital. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children lead healthy life. This could be a better way of preventing unnecessary future havocs. After all, prevention is better than cure.

Works Cited

Collins, Karen. “Can surgery reduce obesity’s damage?” American Institute of Cancer Research. 2008. Web.

Epstein, Richard. “What (not) To Do About Obesity: A Moderate Aristotelian Answer”. 2005. Web.

Gostin, Lawrence. “Fast and Super sized: Is the Answer To Diet by Fiat?” Bnet. 2005. Web.

Lawrence, G. “Law as a Tool to Facilitate Healthier Lifestyle and Prevent Obesity.” Journal of American Medical Association. 297(2007):87-90. Web.

Mitchell, M, David, M. and Troyen, A. “Obesity: the new frontier of public health law.” Journal of Medicine. 354(2006): 2601-2610. Web.