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Senior paper

  1. 1. Koch 1Laura KochMrs. TilleryAP Literature11 November 2011 American Obesity According to research findings from all major news websites, statistics show thatabout one-third of United States’ adults are obese (33.8%) and approximately 17% (or12.5 million) of children and adolescents ranging from the ages two to nineteen years arealso obese ("Overweight and Obesity"). That means the United States has more peoplethat are unhealthy than healthy. Americans are proven to have the worst health out of anyother country in the world and over the last two decades, the number rates are growingrapidly. By the time of 2010, there was not one state in the nation that had an obesity ratethat was less than 20 %. In addition, the state of Georgia has an alarming rate of 29.6 %rate of people who are facing this illness ("Overweight and Obesity"). There are severalcomponents that people all over the world are unaware about that contribute to the severeproblem of obesity; one being the poor nourishment in many of the foods that individualsconsume every day. Another is the lack of exercise, physical activity, and the burning offat. Many of these situations are concentrated in certain regions, the highest being in theSouth and Appalachia, and the least being in the Northeast and West. With the absence ofeducation and direction needed to improve health and physical fitness in Americans,people are unaware of this very issue. Obesity is in fact a disease that is causingthousands to hundreds to not live a life to its full potential. The illness of obesity andbeing overweight are both titles for when a person’s weight exceeds its requirement in
  2. 2. Koch 2terms of height. Then they are considered out of shape and unhealthy. The terms alsoidentify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certaindiseases and other health problems. What causes a person to be obese and overweight? There is one simple equationthat helps doctors, scientists, and people to understand the level that a person isconsidered to fall under, and that is by the Caloric Balance Equation. When determininghealth, there are three factors to observe. Energy balance and making sure that peopleburn more calories than they eat. Body weight is also considered to be the result of genes,metabolism, behavior, environment, culture, and socioeconomic status. Whether peoplelike to stay balanced or not, calories do in fact count. A calorie is used to measure theamount of energy provided in food. Calories can be found in every type of food, fromfats, proteins, carbohydrates, and sugar. The only difficulty that one faces is just makingsure that a reasonable amount of food enters the body ("Causes and Consequences"). Twokey factors that also help to determine obesity are environment and behavior.Considering all the aspects that can cause health problems, they can either help to preventobesity or drive a person toward the illness. Throughout a long history of raising children and making families, people haveacquired bad eating and exercise habits. The arrogance among Americans needs to bedealt with because there are an abundance of solutions that are right in arms reach.The environment where one spends the majority of their time is one leading cause ofobesity. Where did this person grow up? What type of food do they have around thehouse? Do they spend a lot time sitting down and not being active? These are majorquestions that need to be asked in every situation. Communities, households, workplaces,
  3. 3. Koch 3and schools are areas that affect the everyday person. If someone lives in an area wherethere are no sidewalks and only major roads, then it is hard to get anywhere on bikes orby foot. Another major contribution to obesity is the household, which is where a largeportion of time is spent ("Causes and Consequences"). Likewise, children tend to followin the footsteps of their parents because that is who they are being taught and raised by.Many young children that grow up already participating in these bad habits are moresusceptible to food temptation and bad habits ("Children’s Food Environment").Therefore, learning the right way to eat and exercise at a young age is crucial to everysingle person’s future. Furthermore, one of the core focuses of health is undeniably in the hands of thefood and drinks that Americans consume frequently. Food is vital to the human body andis what makes people operate and function. Similar to how cars depend on gas to run,people depend on food and water to survive. Food is what makes a huge contribution tohow people feel, act, and what their mood exhibits. This is why healthy foods and drinksare crucial in making the body feel strong and durable. Nutrition and diet are two of themost important supplements to staying away from obesity in order to stay thriving full ofenergy. Some people use the word diet as a threatening word that takes control andconsumes people with an idea of what they might look like after eating only a little andgetting huge results, this is in fact false. A diet is the food and drink considered in termsof its qualities, composition, and its effects on the human health ("Foods and Food"). Adiet is something that should not be a selection or limitation on the amount a person eatsto lose weight, but make them healthier by eating the right foods. People have themisconception that certain foods and drinks are healthy, when actually they are hurting
  4. 4. Koch 4the body greatly. An individual’s diet should consist of mostly vegetables, fruits, naturalproteins, and a plentiful amount of water ("State Indicator Report"). With this said, thereare a tremendous amount of foods and beverages in the world that should be avoided.Sugar drinks are the largest source of added sugar and an important contributor ofcalories in the diets of children in the United States ("Children’s Food Environment").Ensuring that people are drinking large amounts of water every day and limiting access tosugar drinks are ways to improve cravings and reduce lack of energy. Because humanappetite and adequateness depend more on the volume of food consumed than on caloriccontent of the food, reducing the consumption of energy dense, low nutrient foods hasbeen distinguished as a strategy to prevent weight gain ("Children’s Food Environment").Perseverance and acting immediately to stop the food misconception will lower obesityrates tremendously. Additionally, one of the leading reasons that Americans submit to non-nutritiousfood is because of the amount of advertisement and broadcasting that restaurants and fastfood places display in all major areas. At every street corner and block, there is aMcDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, Cheesecake Factory, or chain polluting Americanhealth. These are just a few of the big corporation food businesses that are serving highcalorie meals to every person that walks in the door ("State Indicator Report"). This isextremely unbeneficial to solving the obesity problem because most of the foods servedin the restaurants are not fresh and are processed with chemicals to make the food havethat extra savor. Making the food taste good involves adding extra sugar, salt, and otherharmful ingredients. The average American eats out of the house about 30% of the time.
  5. 5. Koch 5Also, there are laws which states that a certain amount of the food has to be producedwith certain chemicals that make the foods and drinks have a stronger taste. These foodsare only getting worse and nutritional foods are being produced with more and moreharmful chemicals that are hurting the body in many different ways. Big corporations setthese standards in order to make more money, and sell the American people unhealthysubstances that end up only pushing obesity rates further. This is a shocking setback toimproving obesity. Americans and corporations both need to take action and realize thateating healthy will make us live longer, not money. Equally important, exercise is a solution that can solve obesity and also help limitthe amount of people facing it in America. Many people make the excuse that theysimply do not have time to be active and sweat, but if that is the case, they need to maketime in order to protect themselves. There are hundreds of different techniques that arecreated to help any and every person. Many people feel that if they are not motivated towork out and do not have a support system, it is impossible to complete a full exercise. Ifthis is so, group classes at gyms and recreation centers are provided. Classes help tomotivate and join people together to strengthen their body and lead them towards ahealthier life. There is an assortment of classes that are available to the public, all ofwhich have proven to help the body stay strong and energized. At various gyms, classessuch as TRX, Ripped, Body Sculpt, boot camps, and many more, pinpoint areas a personneeds to improve and strengthen. These classes can be diverse, some specializing indance, and others satisfying more of the strength training. The different exercisetechniques that trainers put into strengthening the body are created to personal heightenthe health of an individual. A lot of time and effort goes into the creation of specific
  6. 6. Koch 6moves, each one serving a different function. To help move America in the rightdirection, many states are enacting acts to help get Americans active outdoors. This canbe through natural play; outdoor recreation centers such as camping, hiking, hunting andfishing; public health initiatives; outdoor learning environments; service learning andother initiatives ("Healthy Kids Outdoor"). Children and adults spend more of their timeinside than they do outside, watching television or playing and working on the computer.Leisure time is at its highest rate in the current generation. Americans are paying a heftyprice for their high amount of leisure time with not only their own quality of life, but alsoin the fact that they are creating an economic strain in healthcare costs. With the steadyincline of obesity rates, a study from the National Center for Disease Control determinedthat the percentage of adults ages 20 years and over who are overweight or obese were at67 percent. This epidemic also showed that the lack of physical fitness leading to obesitywas affecting not only the adults, but their children as well. Adolescents from the ages12-19 were 18 percent, children ages 6-11 were 15 percent and children ages 2-5 had anoverweight or obese percentage of 11 percent. ("Physical Fitness In America"). With allthe new studies and curiosity in physical fitness and education, people have found thatexercise has proven to increase emotional and physical stability. Physical activity releasesstress form the body and allows the brain to think more clearly and focus on learning,which helps them to understand more about why they should eat healthier foods, exercisemore, and influence others. Consequently, in order to live a healthy lifestyle, one must keep a balanced andorderly diet, exercise often, and educate oneself about what is in the foods that people eat,and what the ingredients are. Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in
  7. 7. Koch 7the United States - triple the rate from just one get generation ago. Obesity andoverweight is a problem that is affecting the world, but is having a harsher impact onAmerica. From the problems that obesity causes, there are countless ways to solve it,such as the right foods, exercise, and giving people the knowledge of obesity and whatpeople can do to rid of it. Nutritional changes may be hard to grasp at first but willdefinitely make an impact on healthy decisions. Adding nutritional foods such as fruitsand vegetables to the American diet, and exercising constantly will help give people therequired nutrients, and activity their body needs to function properly.
  8. 8. Koch 8 Works Cited“About Healthy People .” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 17 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. < 2020/default.aspx>.“Causes and Consequences.” Overweight and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 May 2011. Web. 5 Nov. 2011. < obesity/causes/index.html>.“Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report, 2011.” Childhood Overweight and Obesity. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. < ChildrensFoodEnvironment.pdf>.“Foods and Food Components to Reduce.” Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Center for Nutrion Policy and Promotion, 21 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. < PolicyDoc/Chapter3.pdf>.“Health Introduction .” Nutrition Resources for Health Professionals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 Oct. 2011. Web. 5 Nov. 2011. <>.“Healthy Kids Outdoor Act Introduced in Congress.” Current News on Physical Activity. National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, 4 Nov. 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2011. <>.
  9. 9. Koch 9“Overweight and Obesity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 21 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. <>.“Physical Fitness In America.” Physical Fitness In America. Physical, 2010. Web. 12 Nov. 2011. <>.“State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2009 .” Fruit and Vegetable Benefits. Department of Health and Human Services, 28 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. < statereport.html#Policy>.“Strategies and Solutions .” Overweight and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 21 Apr. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2011. < childhood/solutions.html>.