Obesity in America

Essay add: 29-09-2015, 20:17   /   Views: 273
Obesity in America

Obesity is an epidemic that is sweeping over the United States today affecting adults and children alike. In fact, the World Health organization now considers obesity to be a global epidemic and public health problem as more and more nations become “Westernized”(WebMD.com). With studies indicating that nearly 55% of American adults are either overweight or obese, it is clear that obesity is now justifiably emerging as a disease attracting much interest in the clinical research field in order to both identify and resolve the causes/symptoms of this disease.

Obesity is defined as “when a person’s caloric intake exceeds his or her energy expenditure. At this point, the body stores the extra calories in the fat cells present in adipose tissue. These adipose cells function as energy reservoirs, and they enlarge or contract depending upon how people use this energy”(WebMD.com). When a person does not have a healthy balance between their energy input and output by means or a healthy diet and regular exercise, they will experience excess fat storage and thus possibly become overweight. Obesity can be clinically diagnosed by many factors including the following:

1.) BMI- Body Mass Index, or BMI, is the best method of determining a persons body fat. By calculations involving a persons height and weight, the BMI is determined. A BMI of 30 or above is defined by federal guidelines to be obesity.

2.) Waist Circumference- The most unhealthy form of fat is fat that is deposited in the abdominal region. Obesity can be implied is a person has a high wasit measurement in proportion to the rest of their body.

3.) Anthropometry- Anthropometry is the measurement of skin fold thickness in various regions of the body. This technique is useful in determining if weight is the product of muscle mass or of fat mass.(WebMd.com)

Any person who indulges in an unhealthy diet including an excessive intake of fat and/or calories and does not have any form of excise regimen implemented into their daily lives is at risk for obesity. Of course there are several other factors that could contribute to a persons chance of becoming afflicted with obesity such as binge-digesting, depression, physical ailments which prevent exercise, etc. However, the main factors leading to obesity in the United States, however, are social and cultural issues.

With the increase in fast food availability and the decrease of the time most Americans have to prepare balanced meals in the home, it is no wonder that more and more people are falling prey to the world of “eat on the go.” The fat content and the lack of substances vital to fat breakdown in most of the products purchased at fast food venues and restaurants is obscene when compared to the amount of fat that should be present in a healthy daily diet. In addition to consumption of these high-fat foods, most people work in an environment that requires them to do little to no physical activity. Also, the advent of such devices as televisions and video games only further adds to the sedentary life-style that an alarming number of Americans follow. The effects of “Westernization can be proven by the fact that “adolescent obesity increases dramatically amongst second and third-generation immigrants to the US as they adopt the American diet and lifestyle”(WebMD.com).

Another cause of obesity could be the possibility of genetic predisposition. Some scientists believe that a family’s health history could contribute to the risk of obesity in that family. There is evidence suggesting that “in people who are considerably overweight, the “satiation signal” in the brain may not work well”(Xenical.com). This is to say that when a person in eating, he or she may never get the sensation that they are full and thus overeat, possibly leading to obesity. Another theory suggests that “type II diabetes and the obesity that usually accompanies this disorder are derived from genetic actions that were once important for survival.

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