A Growing Nation

February 21, 2013
By EmilyAshner BRONZE, Oswego, Illinois
EmilyAshner BRONZE, Oswego, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

42%: that’s how many Americans are predicted to be obese in only 17 years. Obesity is a huge problem in America affecting 75 million adults and 12.5 million children. If parents and children don’t take obesity into their own hands, children have a 77% chance of becoming obese adults. While many people blame fast food, advertisements, and extra preservatives, they don’t realize they are in control. In 2007, the average American consumed 100 pounds of sugar and 18 pounds of candy. In 2012, the average American ingested almost a ton of food, about the size of a small car. About one third of these pounds came from dairy products, filled with a lot of fat. Individuals control their weight; choose what they want to eat and how much, how much exercise they perform, and finding other comforts rather than turning to food.

First of all, being obese comes with a lot of health risks. Type 2 diabetes is probably the most common disease connected with obesity. Type 2 diabetes is where the insulin does not function properly. Most people with this certain type of diabetes are overweight. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition with many affects. This can lead to an imbalance in the blood and can lead to damaged organs, eyes, and blood vessels. Also, diabetes can cause kidney failure. The disease is not incurable though, working out, staying healthy, and losing the fat can prevent or cure this diabetes. Heart problems are as well associated with obesity. The chance of heart attacks, strokes, and artery problems increase with obesity. Heart problems cause a poor blood flow to the brain and causes mental functions to suffer too. Like diabetes these heart problems can be reduced by simply working out. Additionally, breathing problems worsen or are created with an increasing weight. “The fat tissue can press on air passages and this can cause shortage of breath which can then cause dizziness.” Asthma will worsen with the weight and sleep apnea, during sleep you have trouble breathing or stop, can also form. Furthermore, other risks that can be formed from being overweight is an increased risk in cancer, osteoarthritis (a joint disorder), liver damage, increased hormones, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Overall, the individual is responsible for the health risks that are created by obesity.

In spite of the health risks, many people are obese and blame the government for their problems. To begin with, advertising draws many people in. 25 billion dollars are spent on food and drink advertisements, that are obviously made to look good, drawing people in. For instance, on a commercial a toy or other incentive may be presented and this may influence the decision to go to the restaurant because the person wants the incentive. In another case, Hardee’s® presented a new item: the thick burger. This was a huge burger containing 1400 calories, and this restaurant provided a challenge trying to get people to eat the whole burger. People were intrigued and went to go try the burger. Summing up, advertisements can pull people in and influence individuals to eat at the restaurant. Furthermore, in many fast foods and processed foods there are extra preservatives that are bad for the body. For example, trans fat is found in fried and packaged foods and can lead to heart disease. Also, cholesterol is found in fast foods, can block the arteries, and make the blood flow incorrectly. Yet, other preservatives, like high fructose corn syrup and sugar, aren’t as bad, but these two preservatives have a higher amount in foods than they should. Too much high fructose corn syrup forces the liver to kick out more fat and is addictive because of the high amount put in foods. However, extra preservatives are bad for the body, not needed, and are eaten in very high amounts. Lastly, fast food is a huge problem linked to obesity. Fast food is cheap, fast, and accessible. A burger from a restaurant has nearly doubled in calories from twenty years ago. A lot of unhealthy food is too expensive and low economic places can’t afford the fresh healthy food. Also, fast food can be very convenient, like different bags come with compartments for drink and food encouraging eating more. In different cases this could be good if someone put an apple and a water bottle in the compartments, but many people just throw something quick, and more filling in the compartments. Overall, people blame the government for providing bad preservatives, advertisements, and cheap food that is bad when really the government doesn’t control where people go. The individual decides where they want to go and what they want to put in their system, not the government.

Although the government offers unhealthy and convenient foods, the individual really controls his weight. As previously stated, one has a choice. A person chooses to eat unhealthy or not. Many think when they have to diet they have to only eat healthy foods, but the individual has to eat a well-portioned amount of foods as well. Thus, a person has to decide what to eat and how much to eat. Another choice people make is to be active or not. Being inactive is a large component in becoming or staying obese. Inactivity, in this situation, is taking in more food than the energy burned off so the fat stays on. Many people take a bus or drive places instead of riding a bike or walking to the destination. Other things are very automatic and don't take effort. For example, cooking has become a lot easier. Instead of having to make things homemade, which is also healthier, there are things that can just go in the microwave or in the oven. Cooking things homemade requires more effort and actually will help burn more calories because you are being active. Additionally, watching television, without a doubt, is the worst activity to do. When watching television a person’s heart rate goes below resting point, so no calories are being burned at all. On top of that, while watching television many snack and don't realize how much they're eating. This will make the fat stay on even more because no energy is burned while food is taken in. What's worse is that the average person spends up to 5 1/2 hours a day motionless in front of a screen. Therefore, putting in more effort, doing things the long way, and not watching so much television is a choice people can make that will help stay fit. Finally, eating is a psychological thing with people. Many eat because they think they will feel better because they're depressed or unhappy, food will fill the loneliness, and food will help with stress. Yet, in the end food will make things worse. People will keep on eating and eating think this helps, but all their doing us putting on weight. Also, in many cases, people eat because they're bored. Instead of going and doing something productive to fill the time they eat and will just gain weight doing this too. As a result, using food as a pathway through psychological problems or boredom will lead to weight gain and people can force themselves to do other activities instead of eating. In conclusion, everything people do is a choice; the activities performed and the food eaten. The decision made can either help or hurt a person, but the choice is all the individuals no one else's.

In brief, people blame the government for their problems because it is easier than blaming themselves. They don't want to be responsible for the actions they've made. While the government does present and influence unhealthy and inactive food choices and life styles, the decision is all the individuals. Will people change their choices and living routines, or will they be facing many health risks as part of the 42 % of obese citizens in 2030?

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