Obesity and the dangers to the American population
Obesity is a disease that affects at least 39 million Americans. More than one quarter of all adults and about one in five children today are overweight. Some people are more vulnerable to obesity than others. Each year obesity causes at least 300,000 excess deaths in the U.S. and costs the country more than 100 billion dollars. Obesity is a chronic, metabolic disease caused by multiple inherited traits and factors including excessive calorie and food intake, decreased physical activity, and genetic influences. Long term treatment and exercise are required to achieve and maintain weight loss. Today more than 70 million Americans are overweight. In the last ten years, the population that is obese has increased from 25 percent to 32 percent which now a days is considered an epidemic. Overweight and obesity in the U.S. occur at higher rates in racial / ethnic minority populations such as African American and Hispanic Americans, compared with White Americans. Asian Americans have a relatively low prevalence for obesity. Women and people of low socioeconomic status within minority populations appear to be affected by obesity.
An excess of body fat results from an imbalance between energy intake and energy output. The reasons for this imbalance are unclear, and the relationship between energy intake and energy output is different from person to person. Some factors that promote obesity include family history of obesity, age behavioral factors, and ingestion. A number of conditions worsen as obesity increases and often improve as obesity increases. Some of these conditions are cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
Food is everywhere we look, there is no possible way to escape the never ending advertisements from fast food restaurants. This is usually where obesity begins, consuming more food portions than your body needs. Americans are also overweight due to the lack of exercise. There is more time spent on the couch sitting in front of the television, than there is in the gym and even I can vouch to that. More and more television shows are being advertised and with balancing a job, school, and time for friends and family, I find my day too short never mind fitting time to go to a gym. According to health and fitness magazines, just an hour each day could better your health. Obesity is currently listed as the second leading cause of preventable deaths in America, followed by smoking. People need to set limits and health plans early in their life to overcome this new threat.
As we all know America is one of the most industrialized nations, but is definitely not one of the healthiest. Even though we are living in a country with great economic power and amazing technology, we are also living in a country with the smallest knowledge of nutrition. America is home to the most obese people in the world. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity in adults has increased 60% within the past twenty years and obesity in children has tripled in the past thirty years. Lawmakers have even tried to make a new tax rule called a “Twinkie tax”, which would tax unhealthy foods to try to persuade people out of buying them. I don’t think this would even work in today’s society because people are going to buy unhealthy foods whether there are taxes or not.
Fast-food restaurants have become typical in the past 30 years and practically all of America takes part of the cheap prices mainly because its fast. Americans are always rushing and can not take the time to eat a decent meal. The fast food meals contain practically no nutrients and are made up of mostly saturated fats and carbohydrates and are full of sodium and sugar. The average adult shouldn’t have more than 70 grams of fat or 2500 calories a day. On average a super sized hamburger and French fries has 50 grams of fat and 2000 calories. Scientists report that study participants who visited fast food restaurants twice a week or more gained 10 pounds! After these fast food restaurants have been sued by several individuals they added healthier foods to the menu.
Another huge factor in obesity is that it is affecting children at a very young age. The problem of childhood obesity in the United States is that it has grown so much, between 20 and 30 percent of children are now over weight. Obesity is one of the easiest medical conditions to recognize but the hardest to correct. Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults. Busy parents use the drive through as a quick meal, and every little kid loves happy meals who doesn‘t? Public schools are also receiving the blame for having fast food chains inside of their cafeterias such as soda machines and vending machines. Physical Education programs have also decreased in being part of the school requirements which means children are not receiving the same exercise as they were fifteen years ago.
Many children are obese due to a wide range of entertainment available in this century such as television. Today most kids do not go out and play with there friends, instead they hang out at the movies or are playing video games. Children whose parents put them into sports or other activities are usually not over weight and tend to have a healthier choice of food available to them. Families are to busy to make a proper and healthy dinner and usually end up going for the quick way to do things which is fast food. Studies have shown only 19% of high school students are physically active. In this society children come to school without eating breakfast which is considered the most important meal of the day. It is important for children to have a proper breakfast because it starts there metabolism in the morning.
Less and less kids are also walking to school and because parents fear the worst and would rather drop off there kids. The adults in society today try and blame the fast food chains for being the cause of there obesity. The real truth is that people are eating high calorie food and not doing enough to burn it off. One thing that can sort of be blamed for the causes of obesity is technology. Now we no longer have to hunt and gather our food and this type of work took a great deal of physical work which kept people in shape in that time.
When obesity has taken its toll on someone the health risks are severe. If obesity becomes so bad that action is needed, there are some options that are available to them. With obese people regular diet and exercise is not much of and option because of the stress they are putting on there heart, which can lead to a heart attack. Many people choose a surgery called gastric bypass. Gastric bypass surgery makes the stomach smaller and allows food to bypass part of the small intestine. You feel full more quickly than when your stomach was its original size, which reduces the amount of food you eat and the calories consumed are lower. Bypassing part of the intestine also results in fewer calories being absorbed, which leads to major weight loss. This procedure usually costs around 35,000 dollars and your back to normal activity within three weeks.
Over a half a million of these surgeries are done per year. Many see a drastic change in there diet within a couple of weeks and love the results. Of course with surgeries there are always risks to take. Some of the risks include: hernia, vitamin deficiency, torn staples, bloating and vomiting after a meal and ulcers. I actually have a family member that has had this procedure done. After one year my aunt lost 75 pounds and now she is doing more physical activities than before.
There are a number of activities that you can do to prevent being obese. Whether your at home or out and about there are always ways to include physical activity. Regular aerobic physical activity increases your fitness level and capacity for exercise. It also plays a role in prevention of cardiovascular disease. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is linked to cardiovascular death. All you need is three days of exercise at 30 minutes each to stay fit. There are 1440 minutes in a day, I think we can all find a way to fit in 30 minutes.
My final thought on obesity is that the disease is going to continue to grow at a rapid pace throughout the years. Obesity can be a potentially fatal disease which can be curable if we were to exercise. The more high fat, high calorie foods we eat the more the chance we have to develop high cholesterol and obesity. Adults are the key role in this disease and they should educate their children about it.