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Our Obesity Epidemic

Our Obesity Epidemic


Wilson Badillo III
Montgomery College

ThispaperwaspreparedforENGL10232867taughtbyProfessorStorm.

Our Obesity Epidemic

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Our Obesity Epidemic

Overweight and Obesity Statistics (n.d.) say In America, about two out of every three
adults are either overweight or obese (NIH). When someone has a BMI over thirty they are
diagnosed with obesity. Obesity is becoming a huge health concern. With some encouraging
healthy programs, dieting, exercise and better access to better food choices obesity can be
stopped in its tracks. Obesity is a serious and dangerous problem and there needs to be action to
stop America from becoming the fattest nation in the world.
To be clinically diagnosed with obesity someone must have a BMI of over thirty percent.
BMI stands for body mass index and it is a measurement of body fat in relation to height. In
Overweight and Obesity Statistics (n.d.) they say The BMI is the tool most commonly used to
estimate overweight and obesity in children and adults. More than two thirds of the country fits
the overweight or obese category. With nothing being done obesity rates will continue to rise.
When living in America there is not a day that goes by without being exposed to some kind of
advertisement related to unhealthy food. The majority of these advertisements are food based and
the majority of these food based advertisements are unhealthy, high calorie products all
contributing to the problem. Advertising doesnt have enough regulations when it comes to food.
There is a lot of false advertising related to food where companies have zero consideration for
their customers. A lot of people are having trouble with obesity and becoming obese because of
the extreme advertising. There are plenty of advertisements of big juicy burgers on T.V. screens,
cell phones and even radios. Advertisements are everywhere and there is no escaping the
schemes created by these food companies without corrective action and regulation. Theres a big
difference when you compare fast food advertisements to ones of fruits and vegetables. Theres
so many fast food advertisements that its almost as if the fruit and vegetable ones are non-

Our Obesity Epidemic

existent. The companies that create these advertisements schemes are working because there is a
lot of victims that can be seen getting effected. There are many cases of people over indulging on
their foods and doing extreme things like binging after they eat. The fear of being obese or the
want of becoming a normal weight again is present but just very hard to do with so many
obstacles diverting people in the wrong way. America is obese and some people want to do
something about obesity but action must be taken before there are any sort of results. Without an
actual way to deal with the disease there will only be a rise in desperate, harmful acts, like
binging and different eating disorders if a plan isnt developed.
The obesity rates in America are not surprising considering the most targeted portion of our
population when talking about fast food and unhealthy foods are Americas youth. In her article
Faguy (2016) explains Since the 1980s, the number of obese children and adolescents in the
United States has tripled, Americas obesity rate is high and that includes a majority of its
children. (para. 1). The path to obesity can start at a very young age especially with all the
hyped up junk foods that appeals to children so well. Children are going for unhealthy, calorie
packed food options like chips, sugary cereals and much more because of the way the food is
portrayed to them. Behind the advertisements of junk food are strategically placed slogans and
animated characters that are designed to grab the attention of Americas children and make them
eager to consume their product. Vegetables and fruits are not portrayed in the same way which is
making our nutrition at our early stages of life terrible and leaning towards living an unhealthy
lifestyle which eventually would translate into obesity during adulthood. If a child in America
was asked who Ronald McDonald was they would probably know exactly who he is and get
excited. Now if the child was asked who is the Green Giant the child will probably be clueless.
Food advertisements are not the only factor that is contributing to Americas overweight children.

Our Obesity Epidemic

Parenting plays a big role when dictating what their childs diet will consist of. One of the many
responsibilities of a parent is to make sure their children are eating a balanced diet while also
getting enough physical activity throughout the day. The problem is parents are usually very busy
and may not be able to find time the time to fulfill those needs. With time being a huge factor,
parents find getting fast food much easier than cooking a nutritious meal at home. When it comes
to fast food there arent many healthy alternatives. Even with the healthy fast food out there the
healthy fast food is so much more expensive than their unhealthy competitors that parents just do
not see the healthy fast food as an option. Parents with all the work they do sometimes do not
have time to take their children to the park or something else productive and active. Overweight
and obese children not only have a higher chance of maintaining that unhealthy weight as they
get older but as young children being overweight it can really have a negative impact on their
development and growth as an individual. Green, Riley, & Hargrove (2012) explain saying
Obese children are often subjected to ridicule and torment by other children. (p. 916).
Overweight children have lower self-esteem than normal children and are prone to being less
happy and less confident in themselves. Children are innocent and most of the time do not have
the ability to control their weight but that would not stop them from being teased and criticized.
Children know no better when thinking about their diets and parents being unable to help them is
a problem. The path to obesity starts at an early age and that is where a solution can be
implemented.
Once diagnosed with obesity victims are also much more prone to other serious diseases
like cardio vascular disease, certain cancers and diabetes. Being obese brings many unnecessary
health complications that can easily be avoided. When obese, a lot of more pressure is being put
on the entire body. The bodys ability to use insulin to efficiently control the bodys blood sugar

Our Obesity Epidemic

levels are decreased making obese people exceptionally vulnerable to developing diabetes. With
Americas absurd rates of obesity, an increase in diabetes should be expected as well. Diabetes is
only one of the many diseases that can be developed through being obese, another one is
hypertension. When obese experiencing higher arterial pressure levels is common and leads to
cases of hypertension. All these diseases are indeed obtainable without being obese but being
obese does in fact increase the chances of being diagnosed with some of these diseases, so
obesity prevention is important to prevent these other diseases. These non-transmissible diseases
like diabetes, hypertension and cardio vascular disease are in fact preventable by treating obesity.
As the obesity rates soar other disease rates are increasing as well. With stopping one disease one
can reduce countless others all with honing into the one problem, obesity.
Obesity will not be easy to eliminate from America at all. The environment Americans live
in is a breeding ground for obesity. Fast food is cheap, convenient and everywhere. McDonalds
alone has over fourteen thousands establishments in just America. McDonalds is just one of the
many food chains in America that provide all kinds of cheap, quick and unhealthy food options
likes fries, burgers and shakes. There is no kind of competition when it comes to considering
foods like fruits or vegetables. There is no reason to go into the store and look for some fruit
when one can just roll up to a drive-through window and get their food at that very instant. The
foods they give are also usually huge and very calorie dense. Ordering fast food can lead to
someone ordering thousands of calories without them even knowing. The foods they show on the
menus at the drive-through sure do look appetizing but there are no nutritional facts. Ordering a
burger and fries can end up being well over one thousand calories and people may not even know
it. Eating such calorie dense food can leave people clueless and not completely satiated. Even
though so many calories were eaten, the feeling of satiety may still not be there because of the

Our Obesity Epidemic

foods quality. Because these foods lack quality protein and fiber they leave people still feeling
hungry inclining people to eat even more than they should. Things like apples and baked
potatoes leave people feeling full without the full on rush of all the calories. Burgers and other
fast food items are in no way toxic or immediately harmful to the body but over time they can
provide their consumers with some unforeseen problems.
With so much food being consumed there is no place to exert all of these extra calories in
other than ones fat stores. When people eat more than their bodies can handle, naturally the
extra food is stored for later even when it may not even be needed. The best way to manage all of
those left over calories is by regularly exercising. Regular exercise not only burns calories at that
very instant but over time as well. Exercise not only can help people control or maintain weight,
but it can also improve their psychological health. When people exercise they are not only doing
it for the weights sake but their overall health. According to Ward-Smith (2010) Increasing the
time or level of activity each week has been correlated to additional health benefits (p.244). For
example exercise can help people cope with stress, have better self-esteem and overall wellbeing. Running specifically is a great way to get active and start burning some extra calories.
When dieting is combined with running, running makes losing some weight much easier and
quicker. With running people will be able to burn off those extra calories while simultaneously
strengthening their heart and greatly reducing chances of a heart attack by keeping arteries in a
healthy state. Running also naturally promotes a better mental state with the release of specific
hormones that helps peoples overall mood and can even combat depression. Weightlifting, just
like running, can help control someones weight and also just like running, weightlifting comes
with many more benefits than just weight loss. When people lift, calories are burned at a slower
pace than someone would do running. But with weightlifting there are tearing muscle fibers

Our Obesity Epidemic

down that will take days to repair. Those days of repairing burn calories! Weightlifting is a great
way to burn calories and control someones weight but it also comes with the benefits of an
increase in strength and muscle mass. An increase in strength and muscle mass leads to an
increase in confidence. Ross, Hudson, Stotz & Miu (2015) explain the importance of activity in
his research journal saying Physical inactivity is a significant determinant of obesity, and most
adults in the United States are inactive (p.325) Running and weightlifting are two great
solutions when trying to control someones weight. When choosing either of them they not only
assist one in their body weight goals, but they assist people in multiple other ways making them
so beneficial to someones life not just their weight.
When people find themselves overweight or obese a solution that is sure to solve their
obesity is dieting. Nutrition is one of the main causes for the dramatic weight gain America has
been experiencing as a country. Eating more than what you need leads to fat. The NIH explains
this more in their study of exactly how nutrition plays its role in obesity, Energy IN is the
amount of energy or calories you get from food and drinks. Energy OUT is the amount of energy
your body uses for things like breathing, digesting, and being physically active (What Causes
Overweight and Obesity, 2012, para. 2). This quote explains the concept of energy intake versus
energy output. When people have too much energy being put into their body they naturally store
it and that storage is unlimited. With proper dieting people will be able to manage their energy
intake based on their goals. If someone is planning on losing weight they will eat below their
calorie maintenance so their body will use the fat they have stored as a way to get the rest of the
energy it needs. To maintain a healthy weight, simply eat as much as the body needs daily. With
cutting back on fast food people can lower their daily calories quickly. Opting out of a cheese
burger for lunch and going for a salad instead can save people many calories which will begin to

Our Obesity Epidemic

add up quickly if they are consistent. Small changes like that are all someone needs to begin
losing weight but sometimes diet changes can be a real challenge to stay consistent with. Most
people when they decide they want to lose weight take their dieting way too far and end up with
no results because they are not able to keep up with it. Gradually changing ones diet at a
comfortable pace is the best way to ensure success and lose those extra pounds.
Obesity is most of the time not the victims fault. More regulations need to be implemented
in the food industry to ensure customer awareness with foods they are consuming. Bittman
(2007) said in his video Were not born craving Whoppers and Skittles (4:20) A lot of the time
when think about what they are eating they have no idea what they are actually eating nutrition
wise and Whoppers and Skittles are not nutritious. Regulations can better help consumers by
clearly stating what people actually putting into their bodies. Something that will be able to
greatly impact that level of awareness would be adding nutrition labels to the receipts people
receive from wherever people decide to purchase food. Whenever someone pulls up to a drivethrough and orders some food we receive a receipt stating what was just purchased and how
much it all was. Along with that receipt we should receive a separate paper containing all of the
nutritional information for all the food purchased. With implementing and developing that
system over the next couple of years eventually there will be no reason for ignorance when
people consume their foods. People will be conscious about all of their dieting decisions putting
people in full control. With dieting and making healthier choices like eating an apple instead of a
bag of chips people will be able to meet their nutrient needs. Not only will people become
healthier but they can also feel more satiated then they would choosing the healthier alternative.
Foods high in fiber and protein give people a much fuller feeling helping them easily stick to
their diet.

Our Obesity Epidemic

With obesity spreading so quickly amongst America some people still believe obesity is a
problem that does not need to be addressed. There are other diseases that take many more lives
than obesity does. Cardio vascular disease is the number one killer of Americans. Due to the
disease being the most deadly in America people believe that all of the attention should be
diverted from obesity to more fatal diseases like cardio vascular disease. What people do not
know is that obesity is actually a breeding ground for other diseases, and cardio vascular disease,
the number one killer of Americans happens to be one of them. Aballay said Obesity is a major
public health concern worldwide, contributing to increased morbidity and mortality. It has
emerged as a significant cause of diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and renal
insufficiency (Aballay, et al, 2013). With focusing on obesity more than one problem can be
solved. Something else people think is that obesity is preventable unlike other diseases such as
cancer. Yes obesity is indeed preventable but it is very difficult to control with all of the factors
in Americas society that promote it. With focusing on preventing obesity certain cancers linked
to it can also be reduced in the process. Sarah Palin a well-known American politician said this
against Michelle Obamas anti-obesity campaign What [Michelle Obama] is telling us is she
cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families [about] in
what we should eat. ... instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make
decisions for us according to some politician or politicians wife priorities, just leave us alone,
get off our back and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our
own decisions (Fisher, 2010, para. 2). Now of course it is ones God-given right to make their
own decisions but what is being presented is only an opportunity. Anti-obesity campaigns are
made to help obesity victims live a better, healthier life but no one is forcing them to get

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involved. If they are happy being obese and know all of the complications obesity may bring
them, the choice is completely up to them when deciding how they want to handle obesity.
This is only the beginning. Obesity is still spreading amongst America and affecting
millions of Americans lives every year. This disease is not going to stop spreading on its own,
like any other disease this needs treatment and solutions need to be implemented. Obesity is
creating countless health risks and overall negatively impacting peoples lives. With a
combination of dieting and exercise, obesity can be stopped in its tracks along with the help of
certain regulations to help on the way. Gostin (2014) confirmed obesity is indeed a danger It
undeniably poses a health threat for the foreseeable future (pg. 37). With obesity being stopped
and treated to the best of Americas ability people will be able to live longer, happier lives and
not have to be worrying about their weight or any other complications that are associated with
obesity. Obesity has swept that nation and unnecessarily complicated many of American lives.
America should take full advantage of the fact that this risk to its health is completely
preventable and begin to take action against it.

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References
Aballay, L. R., Eynard, A. R., Daz, M. P., Navarro, A., & Muoz, S. E. (2013). Overweight and
obesity: a review of their relationship to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and
cancer in South America. Nutrition Reviews, 71(3), 168-179 12p. doi:10.1111/j.17534887.2012.00533.x
Bittman, M. (2007, December). What's wrong with what we eat? Retrieved May 5, 2016, from
https://www.ted.com/talks/mark_bittman_on_what_s_wrong_with_what_we_eat#t255394
Faguy, K. (2016). Obesity in Children and Adolescents: Health Effects and Imaging
Implications. Radiologic Technology, 87(3), 279-302 24p.
Fisher, M. (2010, December 28). Conservatives Split Over Opposition to Michelle Obama's
Obesity Drive. The Wire. Retrieved April 21, 2016 from
http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2010/12/conservatives-split-over-opposition-tomichelle-obama-s-obesity-drive/21726/
Gostin, L. O. (2014). Public Health Emergencies: What Counts? Hastings Center Report, 44(6),
36-37 2p. doi:10.1002/hast.385
Green, G., Riley, C., & Hargrove, B. (2012). Physical activity and childhood obesity: strategies
and solutions for schools and parents. Education, (4), 915.
Overweight and Obesity Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesitystatistics.aspx

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Ross, R., Hudson, R., Stotz, Paula & Miu, L. (2015). Effects of Exercise Amount and Intensity
on Abdominal Obesity and Glucose Tolerance in Obese Adults. Annals of Internal
Medicine, 162(5), 325-334. doi:10.7326/M14-1189

Ward-Smith, P. (2010). Obesity -- America's Health Crisis. Urologic Nursing, 30(4), 242245.
What Causes Overweight and Obesity? (2014, July 13). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/causes