Obesity in the U.S.

I chose to research more about the increasing epidemic of obesity that is hitting the United States today. Obesity affects people all over the world, but it is particularly associated with Western culture and especially the U.S. If we continue on the track that we are on today, in 20 years, nearly 86% of Americans will be struggling with obesity, a much higher rate than anywhere else in the world.

The article I read discussing the causes, prevalence and treatment of obesity questions how much of this is within our control and how much is not. Scientists take into account genetics, environment, culture, race and specifically addresses modern society’s eating habits. Obesity also seems to strike certain groups more than others. The largest increase in obesity has been in women and younger children, rising to the extent that a relatively large proportion would qualify for weight loss surgery. The proposed solution is to induce an economic shift so that our lower socioeconomic classes can afford to buy healthier foods than potato chips.

We cannot pinpoint the cause of obesity, there could be a multitude of factors in play. Our society in the U.S. enjoys first-world-country privileges – computer, television, a surplus of food at our fingertips – that ultimately make us lazy and unhealthy. As a whole, we eat more and exercise less – a very particular affliction to the United States. The article addresses this problem as well and proposes that we instate more outdoor activities in schools for our children and adolescents that would “extend throughout the typical childhood day.” As described in the article, the problem of obesity is multidimensional, so any possible solution should encompass both the environment and genetics. Of course, much of one’s health is also left up to the individual. If a person is not motivated to implement a healthier lifestyle for themselves, it is unlikely to happen despite any exhaustive measures health officials take to encourage such change.

 

Apovian, Caroline M. “The causes, prevalence, and treatment of obesity revisited in 2009: what have we learned so far?1-3” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91 (2010): 277-9. Accessed July 18, 2014. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/1/277S.full.pdf+html?sid=99baca1d-9572-4716-8880-b5bab3b4657c

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