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What’s Obesity: Brief Overview Essay

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Updated: Nov 15th, 2021

Introduction

Oxford dictionary defines Obesity as the state of being fat in a way that is not healthy. In other words extremely unhealthy and overweight. The media constantly covers issues related to obesity. Obesity has not been with us from civilization but started back in the mid-1900s. This is mostly due to the introduction and rise of fast food industries and therefore people moved away from homemade meals to packed meals. With the introduction of technology, less manual work is involved in the day-to-day activities and therefore a significant reduction in exercise. This can be seen in the introduction of lifts, buses and electric trains that take us to even the shortest distances.

Is there really an epidemic

On January 14th the Sydney Morning Herald revealed the alarming statistics of most teenagers eating ‘junk’ for breakfast? The study revealed that about one in ten 12-to-17-year-olds frequently ate chocolate, ice cream, hot chips, burgers, instant noodles, or potato chips for the first meal of the day, and almost a third start the morning with soft drinks or energy drinks. With these shocking revelations, it is not likely to be anything else other than an epidemic. The problem is the belief that processed food was more convenient, more hygienic, and better therefore, families started to eat processed food more often. Also, the rise of the mothers working outside the home became a contributing issue as convenience food was now more prevalent. The more we let companies produce our food, the more control we let go of and the worse our diets get (Parnell1).

Causes of obesity

Obesity is usually caused by genetics, poor lifestyle choices, or a combination of the two. Genetic factors that play a part in obesity are; slow metabolism rate, predisposition to gaining fat, and health issues that make it difficult to perform physical activities (Schurman 1). “Poor diets are one of the major contributing factors towards obesity. A healthy diet is one that is low in fat, high in fiber, filled with fresh produce, and consisting of whole foods. A poor diet, on the other hand, is high in fat, low in fiber and filled with processed foods” (Schurman 2). Lack of physical activities plays part in people becoming obese because individuals do not burn the excess fat in the body. This causes a low metabolism rate which then causes weight gain. The environment can play a large part in some people becoming obese, especially children. “If you grow up in a family that tends to overeat and remain inactive, you are more likely to develop poor lifestyle habits that can lead to obesity” (Schurman 3). With age, metabolism tends to slow down and burn fewer calories. Similarly, the muscles tend to decrease with age, making it harder for an individual to convert fat into energy (Schurman 4). There are other factors that contribute to obesity for example gender, social-economic factor, medication, and illness or injury though at a small percentage (Schurman 5).

Federal guidelines on obesity are fair and accurate

One guideline is that more than half of all Americans are too fat. According to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, more than half of all Americans are obese. This translates to about 55%of the total population. This can be attributed to ignorance whereby people take foods labeled as low fat and healthy without necessarily knowing the number of calories contained.

Another contributing factor is people taking large portions of food that are not necessary. According to the guidelines, assessment of overweight involves evaluation of three key measures; body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and a patient’s risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity. Overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25 to 29.9 and obesity as a BMI of 30 and above which is consistent with the definitions used in many other countries (Science News1). According to the guidelines, the most successful strategies for weight loss include calorie reduction, increased physical activity, and behavior therapy designed to improve eating and physical activity habits (Science News 1). With this, I think the guidelines are fair and accurate.

Steps that an individual should take to combat obesity

There are three main areas that an individual can look at when attempting to prevent the onset of obesity or to reduce the signs of obesity and its effects on the body (Rooyen 3). “The first and most obvious one is altering the food and drink you consume. The second is doing exercise; whether by increasing the exercise sessions or by starting them if you don’t work out “(Rooyen 3). “The last aspect is drugs that can be taken which works in many different ways to reduce your weight” (Rooyen 3). “The first two points highlighted above test your strength of will since they require a lot of discipline to maintain them effectively” (Rooyen 4). This is the reason why a lot of people make use of diet drugs to lose weight and to keep weight off (Rooyen 4).

Steps that the State or federal government should take to combat obesity: Controlling private behavior: this can be done through social disapproval. In these cases as well as those of illegal drug and tobacco use, the first step of action involves social groups attacking widely accepted practices (Morone and Kersh 2) like unhealthy eating, people eating in fast foods.

References

Juliette. . Health and Fitness. Ezine articles.

Kersh, Rogan and Morone, James. “The Politics of Obesity: Seven Steps to Government Action.” Politics & Public Health. Health affairs. (2002)

Parnell, Liz. “Childhood Obesity Crisis – How Did It Come To This” Food and Lifestyle. Liz Parnell fun family faith frugality food 2008.

Parents Foster Significant Misperceptions of Children’s Weight, Science News, Science daily. 2008. Web.

Schurman, Aysha. “What Are the Causes of Obesity?” Health and wellness. Life 123 answers at the speed of life. Weight Loss, Obesity. 2008. Web.

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