Another American Dream This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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When I was six years old, I opened up a dusty, file cabinet drawer labeled “patient charts”. In it, I found one of my father’s (a Podiatric surgeon) manila envelopes containing several photographs. One revealed a foot with a puncture wound; another, a foot with a fungal infection; the last, perhaps the most lurid of them all, showed a bloody, gangrenous foot. The images, tantalizing yet repulsive, evoked my inquisitive nature, but something, maybe a noise, caused me to place the parcel back into its drawer. Although I no longer physically possessed them, the snapshots remain, illuminated in my mind. The photographs have compelled me to look further; further into a world that is controlled by men and women in white coats. The complexities and rewards offered by anatomical and chromosomal structures and the resources of our environment drive me to the possibilities that are attainable. I would like to engage in the discovery, and creation of new remedies to combat disease. I too, would like to wear a white coat someday.

A 2010 study done by Revolution Health reported that America’s obesity national average was 11.6% in 1990; ten years later, the number nearly doubled. ANother study done the same year by WebMD disclosed that 26.5% of Americans were obese. They also found that only 59.2% of those Americans exercised at least one day per week, and only 67.2% ate recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the survey found that obese Americans make up 46.2% of the total population with high blood pressure, 36.8% with high cholesterol, 21.1% with diabetes, 6.3% of the heart attacks, and 23.3% of those with depression. These diseases and complications affect millions of American families, including my own.

Every summer, I spend a few days at my grandparents’ charming home in southern New Jersey. Since I was seven, my grandfather has allowed me to drive his golf cart to the Community Garden -while he sits in the passenger seat- where he grows tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplants, strawberries, and cantaloupe. He is eager to take long walks, and plants Azaleas in his flower bed as often as possible. He, still sprightly at eighty-one, has struggled with obesity for nearly three decades. He declines salad and devours more Italian bread, fettucini, and chocolate-nut cookies in one sitting, than one should in a month. His indiscretions encumber him with Atherosclerosis, and he has undergone two bypass surgeries: the first twenty years prior to the second. We thank modern medicine for his cardioverter-defibrillator, which helped disprove the doctors’ prognosis that he would die when I was ten years old. But, as American behavior illustrates, old habits die hard. My grandfather is just one example of someone whose experiences are not sufficient to abandon destructive proclivities.

Education is not enough. Although Americans are aware of obesity’s deleterious effects, the percentage of people who are obese continues to rise. People should understand that overcoming this condition is difficult but not impossible, and they should not grimace at the thought of seeking medical attention. The biochemical and psychological changes resulting from weight loss enable people to feel a sense of fulfillment. I want to devote my life to DNA and genetic research that will help people lose weight with less difficulty. I feel that every American, including my grandfather, deserves a healthy life. All of us need to know that life can be better, and old age can truly be golden.





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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

The Write Stuff said...
Jan. 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm
In addition to practicing medicine I can see  some medical writing as well in your future. Love your passion and compassion!
 
Sara I. replied...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm
Thank you for your kindness (:
 
emilysbreakfast said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 9:14 am
this was the perfect cross between a personal account and an educational essay.  i think you proved your point by giving us the emotional side of things, the way obesity is present in our everyday lives, rather than simply a page full of statistics and warnings. Not to mention it was all very well written (:
 
Sara I. replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm
Thank you so much!
 
Eli E. replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm
Great essay Sara. 
 
Sara I. replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 5:04 pm
Thank you!
 
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