English Irma Odoms
OBESITY IN THE UNITED STATES 1
Global Health College
Obesity in the United States
Figures for people who are considered as obeseseem to be increasing and technology advances in the United States.Laker (2013) noted that at least 78 millions adults who represent35.7 percent of the population are obese. In addition, about 12.5million children who represent approximately 16.9 percent are obese.The increasing figures has poses a lot of concern to the publicbecause of the associated problems. Obesity refers to a medicalcondition that is contributed by excess accumulation of fats in thebody. The condition encourages reduced life expectancy and theaffected people become prone to the development of variousundesirable conditions (Dietz, 1994). Pooreating habits accompanied by few physical activities encouragesdevelopment of obesity has contributed to increasing cases of variousailments.
According to the recent study conducted by theWorld Health Organization, one to every nine people is obese in theUnited States. Unlike in most developing world where obesity ismarked with poverty, in U.S obesity is usually associated withpoverty. Most poor people depend on the cheap junks food on thestreet. Rich people have adequate resources to manage their healththough ensuring good diets and adequate physical activity. Inaddition, wealthy people have money to seek for advice from healthprofessionals on the best eating habits and activities.
Lack of adequate extra curriculum activities hascontributed to memory loss to many students resulting to poor gradesin schools. Dormant lifestyle has affected young children’scognitive ability. During a child’s development stage, cognitivethinking is very important as it makes a child relate issues andfoster self-actualization and understanding. Today, children arespending most of their time indoors, making it hard for them to thinkcognitively. This trend affects them even when they grow up asresponsible adults (Must, Dallal & Dietz, 1991).
Causes of Obesity
Obesity arises when an individual consumes morecalories than what the body can burn. The condition can be encouragedby poor eating habits accompanied with insufficient exercises. Thecondition is contributed by a combination of genetic susceptibility,food energy intake and inadequate physical activity (Van, 1985).Other contributing factors include medication, genes, psychiatricillness, and endocrine. Obesity arises when body mass index exceeds30 kg/m2. The condition can be contributed by a combination ofvarious factors such as unhealthy diet and poor eating habits,inactivity, pregnancy, lack of adequate sleep, medical problems, andcertain medication. Reduced physical involvement makes it difficultfor people to burn the excess fats in their bodies. Changinglifestyle in the United States has been blamed for the increasingcases of obesity particularly among children (Dietz, 1994).
Some of the bad eating habits that contribute toobesity include skipping breakfast, eating foods with high calories,eating a lot of calories at night, eating oversize portions, eatingfast foods, and drinking high-calorie beverages (Koplan, Liverman &Kraak, 2005). During pregnancy, the body’s hormonal compositionchanges to support accumulation of additional fat in the body. Afterpregnancy, many people face a lot of challenges regaining theirprevious weights. Excessive weight gains may result to thedevelopment of obesity. Insufficient sleep alters the normal hormonalcomposition and thus interferes with the body’s ability to controlutilization of the consumed energy. Any sleep, which is less thanseven hours, can encourage hormonal changes that raise undesirableappetite. When there is excess consumption of food particularlycarbohydrates, the results is an increase in the body weight andeventually development of obesity (Dietz, 1994).
Certain medications and minimal compensation withsufficient physical activity and diet can encourage the developmentof obesity. Some of the medications with undesirable outcomes includeanti-seizure, diabetes medications, anti-seizure medications,beta-blockers, steroids, antipsychotic medications, and steroids.Some medical problems encourage obesity development such aspolycystic ovary syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome and Cushing`ssyndrome. Other diseases such as arthritis encourage reduced physicalactivity and thus promote obesity development (Koplan, Liverman &Kraak, 2005).
Everyone including the eater, government, fastfood companies, and parents are to blame for the ever-increasingcases of childhood obesity in the society. Everyone has to play arole and stop looking for other people to solve their problems. Lackof adequate information on eating habits has encouraged children tocontinue taking diets that affect healthy body. Parents have a roleto play in ensuring that their children take the right diet (Dietz,1994). They must provide and advise their school-going children toconsider only taking healthy foods, which does not encourageaccumulation of excess fats. Parents and teachers have failed intheir role of guiding and educating children on healthy eating andplaying.
Although some children might be demanding thetasty and appealing fast foods, parents must take control and ensurethey provide an excellent alternative to their children. Parents andteachers must provide sufficient information to the children toencourage them to gain good eating habits. They provide examples tothe children concerning the long-term effects of fast food. Helpingthe children understand the dangers of such food would help themavoid consuming them (Must, Dallal & Dietz, 1991).
On the other hand, schools must allocate time forthe children to involve in physical activities. Extra curriculumactivities not only create an opportunity for the children tointeract and relax, but also offer an opportunity for them to burnexcess fats in their body. Physical activities encourage release ofthe essential hormone that controls deposition of fats. In addition,parents must provide for the children to play and involve in somephysical activities. Fast food industries must carry the blame forthe obesity problem realized among the children (Koplan, Liverman &Kraak, 2005). They have failed to provide the information about thenegative effects of consuming their products.
It is beneficial for the customers to understandthe long-term effects of continuous consumption of their products. Inaddition, some companies such as the McDonald, Pizza Hut, KentuckyFried Chicken, and Taco Bell provide misleading information to theircustomers. They present their product in an extremely appealingmanner, which makes it difficult for anyone to know the problemsassociated with the foods. Then as now, these were the only availableoptions for an American kid to get an affordable meal (Dietz, 1994).
Fast food companies offer cheap and quick meals,which are extremely convenient to many people. They also haveappealing packaging materials that target children. Such benefitsencourage children to prefer the foods to the traditional and in theprocess they develop undesirable habits, which ruins their healthylives (Must, Dallal & Dietz, 1991). When children are notprovided with any other source of food, they are left without anyoption other than consuming what is available to them. With poorunderstandings about the fast foods, it is difficult to win the fightagainst children in the society.
The government has also failed in its role ofprotecting the society against unhealthy foods. They state must takecontrol and discourage the concerned companies from exploiting theinnocent children. It is evident that these companies are takingadvantage that most children have little knowledge of what is goodfor their health. Most of them are only attracted o the fast food bythe appealing taste and peer pressure. The main question is what isthe government doing to arrest the problem? Should it continueenjoying high revenue collection in the expense of the futuregenerations? Alternatively, who is willing to advocate for the rightsof the children?
The society must take a turn and considerfacilitating realization of a better future for the society. Thegovernment should consider the medical challenges contributed byconsumption of unhealthy diet. It is evident that the state is forcedto cover heavy medical losses because of ailments that arecontributed by consumption of unhealthy foods. In fact, the collectedrevenue from the involved industries does not offer fewer resourcesthan what is spent by the government to manage the contributedmedical conditions (Koplan, Liverman & Kraak, 2005).
The government must carry a lot of blame for thealarming challenges affecting children in the society today. It isbeneficial to consider fast foods just like other illegal items inthe country such as drugs trafficking and abuse. Consumption of fastcauses development of undesirable medical conditions just like thedrug abuse. Obesity is a condition that might affect the health of achild for her entire life. Obesity is contributed by giving a childunhealthy foods especially those with many calories. It is evidentthat parents do contribute to children’s unhealthy eating habits.However, other factors contribute to obesity. For instance, povertyis a great contributor to obesity. According to research done inAmerica, people who live in counties that are poverty dense are moreprone to suffer from obesity (Dietz, 1994).
One might wonder how poverty is linked withobesity. However, there have been suggestions that families that livein impoverished countries do not have access to fresh food produce.This means that such households live below the poverty line and arefood insecure. Further study suggests that about 14 percent of thesecounties rely solely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.The supplemental foods given to the children are high incarbohydrates and fats, thus contributing to childhood obesity(Jeffery & French, 1998).
Another reason that obesity is linked with povertyis because poor regions are prone to violence. Therefore, mostpeople, especially children remain indoors, thus they remaininactive. In addition, regions with high poverty rates lackrecreation facilities and children do not get to play as required. Ithas also been found that counties with high poverty are nowexperiencing increased diabetes cases in children. This has beencontributed by unhealthy eating habits due to lack of healthy foods.Most of the health disparities in the United States are contributedby inequalities in income as well as education (Jeffery & French,1998). This suggestion reaches a conclusion that the lack ofeducation contributes greatly to obesity. Food insecurity and povertyare linked to low food expenditures, low vegetable and fruitconsumption as well as poor quality diets. Many Americans who livebelow the poverty line consumes food that is nutritional-depletedwith cheap calories. It is evident that to curb food insecurity, thegovernment is working on transforming fresh agricultural productsfrom quality to quantity. Processed foods are made cheap andaffordable, but they are prone to health risks especially to children(Jeffery & French, 1998).
Effects of Obesity
Overweight and obesity have much health, economyand social implications. An overweight person has increased risk ofdeveloping many challenging ailments such as cancers and heartdiseases. It increases the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes,heart diseases, cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis.Advancement in technology contributed by growth in the application ofinternet has encouraged automation and mechanization of varioussectors. Such improvements have resulted to reduced involvement inphysical activities (Koplan, Liverman & Kraak, 2005).
Obesity increases likelihood of development manydiseases, which are not easy to cure. Hypertension is one of thoseailment whose probability increases with weight. Unfortunately, somefats tend to accumulate along blood carrying vessels resulting tonarrower paths. For the body to maintain body supply in the entire,heart is forced to pump a higher pressure because of the highresistance along the vessels. When this happens, an obese persontends to tire faster and is more prone to the development ofhypertension. Research has revealed that at least 26 percent of thereported cases of hypertension in men are contributed by obesity inthe United States. About 28 percent of women who suffer hypertensionare obese (Delaney, 2013).
Cardiovascular diseases are another set of diseasethat is encouraged by excess body weight. It is evident that build upof undesirable fat accumulation along the blood vessels increasesprobability of the development of atherosceloris, which refers to thereducing, hardening and poor functioning blood vessels (AmericanDiabetes Association, 2012). Atherosclerosis contributes to thecardiovascular diseases particularly in diabetes people and exageratemyocardial infrarction.
It is clear that obese people are likely todevelop stroke because of lack sufficient oxygen contributed bylimited blood supply. Since blood vessels are usually small, it canbecome difficult to supply sufficient oxygen to the brain resultingto the development of stroke. Blood clot and blood vessels in thebrain can arise because of reduced blood speed and little quantity. In the recent past, increasing cases of cancer has been reported inthe United States. The increasing preference can be associated withobesity. Increasing availability of unhealthy diet and junk food hasincreased the esophageal adenocarcinoma and endometrial cancer(National Cancer Institute, 2012).
Obesity tends to comprise the health of theaffectivity people leading to either short or long term effects. In asociety, obesity is linked with reduced educational achievement andsocial care. There is a perception that obese people cannot performwell in college. On the other hand, the fact that obesity encouragesdevelopment of many ailments, it tends to increase pressure on thesocial care services. It is evident that obese people have littleability to involve in various physical activities (Jeffery &French, 1998). The problem compromises their ability to involve invarious economic activities, which results to reduced activities thatare likely to generate funds. In addition, the problem results toincrease health problem because many people cannot afford to caterfor their own medical services. In organizations, workers lose theirproductivity and thus add little value to their employers (Must,Dallal & Dietz, 1991).
In conclusion, Lack of sufficient informationconcerning the negative effects of unhealthy foods and lifestyle hasencouraged the development of obesity. Energy-dense foods with highfats and sugars are less costly as compared with prudent diets suchas those containing fish, meat, fruits and vegetables. Thisinformation provides a clear explanation that the obesity is linkedto social-economic factors such as obesity and lack of education(Koplan, Liverman & Kraak, 2005). Obesity is to blame for theincreasing cases of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke in theUnited States.
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