America's Poor Health

April 29, 2017
By KimberlyNgo BRONZE, Houston, Texas
KimberlyNgo BRONZE, Houston, Texas
1 article 0 photos 14 comments

In the year 2030, over half of Americans will be obese, more than six million cases of diabetes, beyond five million cases of heart disease and stroke, and along with 400,000 cases of cancer will have been diagnosed. That could be the fate of this country. Not only do diseases spread across the land, but death follows as well. Furthermore, the lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating patterns, consisting of mainly high calorie non-nutritious meals, have been embedded into our culture, lacking change. America’s diet during the 21st century which contributes to more than 68.8% of adults overweight, should be reshaped, resulting in a better, stronger nation through the refinement of nutritional value intake, corporate changes for healthier employees, medical support, policy/program polishing, and modifying the human lifestyle.

As of present day, plates served around the nation contain extremely scarce nutritional value. In fact, ¾ of the current eating pattern is low in veggies, fruits, dairy, and oils. The reality of the healthy foods that America consumes, compared to the health recommendations by Health Dietary Guidelines, is worrysome. Actually, most people do not consume the minimum amount from the five nutritional food groups on a daily basis. One way to change this habit is by empowering people to make beneficial shifts of essential everyday foods. From refined grains to whole grains, and from basic fruit products with added sugars to simply fruit; these are some effortless swaps. In addition to that, some strategies for action in a home setting would be to encourage meal planning, and incorporating healthy meals/snacks to keep junk food cravings at a minimum. Moreover, since restaurant entreés typically contain 60% more calories than food prepped in the kitchen, eating home cooked meals will be quite effective.

Other than fine dining, fast food plays another extensive role for little nutritional value by making up 11% of the average American diet. Beyond that, statistics by Public Health say, 18% of adults making less than $36k (low income) are categorized as obese class 1 (BMI of 30-34.9), compared to the 15.2% of high income adults making over 90k annually. This is because fast food is cheaper and more convenient, but harmful to our bodies. Lastly, the population will never go hungry since these pop up joints are located at almost every corner with over 14,000 McDonald’s, 25,549 Subways, and 18,000 Starbucks in 2012. The convenience and already cooked meals is what drives consumers away from grocery stores. One customer states, “McDonald’s is right around the corner, open from 6 a.m to midnight. I love the fries—my favorite snack since I was a kid.” (the Bronx Neighborhood) With almost everyone agreeing, the fast food industry is sure to bring down America.
Moving forward, school lunches are another factor to blame for obesity. According to the USDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the lunch system is a win-win situation where schools recieve free ingredients while farmers are guaranteed a steady income. Jennifer Raymond explains, “It's a price support for agricultural producers, and the schools are simply a way to get rid of the items that have been purchased.” Another standpoint by David Ludwig is, “School districts are under intense budgetary pressure, and often times nutrition is at the bottom of the priority list.” Since low income kids eat ? of their daily meals at school, they get ? of their calories as well, leading to more diet related diseases. In other words, schools serve pop tarts for breakfast; pizza, burgers, and fries for lunch, all containing minimal nourishment.

Additionally, a second crucial factor that could contribute to a fitter America would be a healthier work environment. One modification for extra physical activity includes flexible schedules for gym time. Then, active breaks and gatherings should be called for in companies, including walking meetings. After that, healthy meal options like vending machines stocked with nutritious items containing low fat, less added sugar and sodium, would provide more energy, most likely without the crash. Lastly, health/wellness programs could be a way to promote how to live a healthier life while potentially lowering health insurance costs. This is because the employees who attend these programs learn key information that boost finer living. That in return, benefits the company since they do not have to pay as much for part of their staff’s insurance.

Besides more nutritional value intake and the workplace redesigned, medical support could play a major role as well. For starters, improving America’s Insurance Care and health system ought to be at top of the to-do list. An insight of a 2014 data report by the Commonwealth Fund Report states that the U.S. takes the 11th rank, and last place, compared to the reigning champion, Britain, for top health care. Shockingly, this country is known for having the highest cost for care, but displaying the lowest performance. Also, the fact that 37% of adults decline health treatment/checkups because of high costs is upsetting since obtaining the help needed is essential. Furthermore, another small adjustment would be for the U.S. government to label obesity as a disease, rather than just an epidemic. This would spread weight gain research and enable the opportunity to receive insurance support for obesity-related problems, according to Steven Findlay. Then, an effect of lowered insurance costs would be more frequent doctor checkups. While examination, if a patient needs help, their physician can suggest adding in healthy supplements and vitamins, along with eliminating certain foods for maximum results. Altogether, these proposals will increase success for the obese to obtain the medical attention they deserve.
Equally important, policy/program refinement should be called for to improve results. One instance would be to tax sugary drinks, to hopefully decrease folk's sugar intake. Moreover, challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture system, (USDA) just like how Congress took up the National School Lunch Program in 2003 could be an advancing step. Notably, an abundance of healthful school meals served can restrain the growth of child obesity.

Another contributor would be to analyze the Affordable Care Act and its effectiveness. Karen Davis shares,“With enactment of the Affordable Care Act, however, we have entered into a new era in American Health Care, U.S. performance on insurance coverage and access to care should begin to improve, particularly for low-income Americans.” Signed in 2010, by former president Obama who pledged to protect Americans from high health insurance, it did lower the cost and attract new customers, but some previous members reported increase in payments. Other than the population, healthcare industries and hospitals have benefitted too. Reed Abelson writes, “Department of Health and Human Services estimates that hospitals will save $5.7 billion in so-called uncompensated care costs. ¾ that $5.7 billion, $4.2 billion goes to expand investment Medicaid in states.” Budgeting out the saved money for expansion, increases the overall availability for healthcare support. In the end, even though the Affordable Care Act is showcasing mixed results, America should permit time to take its course and continue enforcing the law for maximum effect.

Finally, the last prime component would be, the vital and classic, human lifestyle. Bill, a weight-loss center employee points out, ”They come in because they want to be thin. I start by asking them what exercise they get each day. Most of them shake their heads. They act like I'm speaking another language. If people would do a couple of errands each week on foot, they'd lose weight. But walking isn't apart of the American lifestyle.” The lack of physical activity is evidentially clear in this country; in fact, nearly 80% of Americans do not get enough exercise by nightfall. Amongst children, school related reasons would be that P.E. is being cut due to tight budgets and recess shortened for more academic study. Instead, encouraging more vigorous activities, less driving, and modifying school operations like sectioned out active time, would show progress.

Correspondingly, the modern century is now advancing further into technology leading lots of children to an indoor childhood. Most teens favor video games over physical activity, with an average of over 7.5 hours of screening time daily. Likewise, parents must still incorporate exercise into the household, even if it is not outdoors.

Moving on from kids, the “supersizing” trend is on the rise through bigger portions. Nowadays, restaurants plate up extra eats to satisfy customers with the concept of “getting more for their money”. Also, meal deals are cheaper but packaged bigger, leading to customers perceiving their order as good value.

Additionally, emotional causes like stress and compulsive overeating plays a part as well. Not only that, but our society adds in the ideal for the “perfect body” which can steer others to diet, triggering binge eating. A way to reverse the temptations to overeat or pressure to the media’s standards, would be fixing a person’s mindset. He or she must must overcome negative thinking such as, “I can't do anything right”, and build body confidence. Zoning into a person’s mental health is critical; connecting their thoughts to the game of life.

All in all, action must be called for to redesign America’s diet, a major obese country, through better nutritious meals, healthier work environments, more medical awareness, government regulations, and a sharper mentality. People ought to plate on additional nutrients and vitamins for their meals, and limit the consumption of fast food. Next, work offices should promote a healthier setting with more times for physical activity instead of sedentary sitting. Then, our medical fields should hop on board with this issue, through better health care and affordability. Equally important, laws and policies should be enforced stricter like the Affordable Care Act. With America on the rise to a fatter nation, it is evident that changes need to be carried out to transform America’s poor diet, before it is too late.

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