A Real Epidemic

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What can cause type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, liver disease, gall bladder disease; and not to mention the psychological and emotional toll it can take on your body? What is associated with osteoarthritis of the hands, hips, back, and knees, as well as an increased risk of breast cancer in not only woman, but in men as well? Obesity can contribute to these many traumatic health problems. Don’t believe me; just ask the nearly 72 million Americans who suffer from obesity. Many Americans would love to lazily point the finger at the fast food industry, or the fact that living in a certain region of the country and belonging to a certain ethnic group can contribute to obesity. But the fact is, there are, without question, numerous solutions to the obesity epidemic that is growing each and everyday. In my mind, the most plausible solution to this problem is public knowledge of the facts and possible solutions to obesity being taught at a young age, and the right information being taught to students in health and gym class all around the country. With a country wide effort, obesity can be diminished.

Sadly, many people fail to realize that the obesity epidemic that controls the lives of over 72 million Americans is in fact a serious issue that needs to be resolved quickly. Although obesity is more common in certain states such as Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama, and in certain ethnicities such as African Americans, obesity is still all too common in states out of the “deep South” and among those of ethnicities other than African Americans. Obesity and being over weight can cause many deadly and life changing disease such as type II diabetes, stroke, and high cholesterol. It can also stunt the social and mental aspect of a person’s life as well because it can create a negative self image and lack of self confidence. As if all these harmful, bodily effects were not enough, your medical bill will be anything but slim if you are over weight or obese. People who are obese generally have higher medical bills because of the numerous health issues obesity causes, resulting in the frequent hospital and doctors visits that could seriously affect one’s financial stability. In a recent study, over 17% of all United States medical bills could be blamed on obesity, resulting in an estimated 168 billion dollar medical bill cost. One of the major areas of obesity is childhood obesity, which includes roughly 20% of kids in America. This is a staggering figure because it has tripled since the early 1980’s, going from 6.5% in the early 1980’s to 20% in 2008.

Thankfully though, there are countless solutions to which the obesity epidemic can be diminished. For starters, people could start to take the blame for their obesity, instead of blaming it on their lack of time to exercise because of their work schedule, the fast food restaurant they can’t avoid on their way home from work, or the vending machine inside the school cafeteria. We could also start to teach more about the effects, causes, and solutions to obesity in school, and in classes held for the public. This would better educate the people that are unable to obtain resources about this topic on their own. Schools could also make gym or physical education an every day course instead of a half year or quarterly class, because many kids only receive their weekly amount of exercises from the time they spend in gym class at school. And if gym is only a half year class, then for half the school year many students could go without regular physical activity. Surprisingly only 10% of schools offer daily physical education classes and the majority of them don’t even meet the recommended requirements for weekly exercise. And as of 2006, less than one third of fifteen year olds got the minimum amount of exercise required during the week, and on weekends this dropped down to only 17%. By making schools offer more physical activity courses and classes, kids can more efficiently learn about their body, how to deal with obesity, and get regular exercise.

Obesity is a serious problem which can not be over looked in today’s world. Obesity can be prevented and abated, but only with the hard work and dedication from the community, government, and school. Stopping and preventing obesity in our country will be a community effort, but the results of a healthier nation will be extremely rewarding. Picture a world were kids get there daily exercises and don’t have to worry about the numerous health effects that lurk behind obesity, picture a world were medical bills are lower because of the drop in obesity, picture a world were nearly all Americans have the knowledge about how to keep their bodies healthy. Although this world is hard to imagine right now, with hard work and perseverance, this dream can easily become a reality.





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Jayf said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 7:06 am
Great article. Very insightful and informative.  What a difference it would make if eveyone exercised for just 20 minutes a day.
 
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