AP English 11
29 October 2013
Obesity in America
It’s no surprise. Obesity has become one of the biggest and most dangerous issues Americans struggle with today and the reason’s are pretty evident. The simplicity of purchasing fast food over organic food, the increase in technology (promoting laziness) and overeating are all primary factors of obesity. A recent study in January 2010 shows that obesity rates have reached a constant level and stayed there for the past five years.
Have you ever found yourself in that sticky situation? You know, the one where you spend five minutes debating whether or not you should just go for that last piece of cake? Sure you have. We’ve all been there. You may feel a little guilty after indulging, but you’ll burn it off later. Right? Wrong. In the moment what seems innocent, just might trigger horrific long term effects. Studies show that the average person overeats by ten calories a day. That may seem like nothing, but if you’re not careful, those ten calories add up to about seventy pounds in ten years! Unfortunately, many American citizens have already slipped into the epidemic. Almost thirty-four percent of American adults are obese. This number is more than double the amount of thirty years ago. Also, the percentage of obese children has nearly tripled in that time, to seventeen percent.
There are multifarious ways to making sure you don’t become a part of the statistic. Diet and exercise are both key factors in maintaining a healthy body. Unless you’re extremely active, it may not be the best idea to eat more than two thousand calories a day. That brings me to my next topic. Technology has contributed an incredulous amount to the sky rocket of obesity rates. Many people prefer ordering pizza via the internet or cellphone, rather than walking or driving to the restaurant and picking it up themselves. Pizza alone is very unhealthy, and sitting on a couch for half an hour, waiting for your doorbell to ring is not going to make you any healthier. Not only that, but technology disconnects us with nature and the outside world. Children and teens are more likely to stay inside and surf the internet than go outside and surf waves.
Lack of exercise is also a key factor to obesity. Overtime, it slows down our metabolisms, the organism that helps regulate our digestive systems. When our metabolisms are unhealthy or slow, it makes it harder for us to burn off the fats and calories we consume on a daily. Just think about it. If there was no such thing as social networks, or iPhones or any other type of advanced technological gadget, kids would feel more obligated to run around outside. The same goes for adults. If you’re a transcendentalist, you’re not going to spend your weekend acting like a misanthrope, surfing the internet or online shopping for countless hours. More than likely you’ll find it much more amusing to hike a 2 mile trail or simply sit outside and enjoy the weather. Believe it or not, even sunlight promotes weight loss. Vitamin D comes from the sun. By fueling your body with the D-rich nutrients it needs to get out of a fat-storage state and into a fat-burning one, you could potentially speed weight loss up by at least seventy percent. So there you have it. Technology promotes laziness. Laziness transitions into obesity.
Not to mention, with fast food chains on every street corner, it makes it harder for families to eat right. It’s much easier and cheaper to purchase a double cheeseburger for a buck, rather than a salad for $4. Money also plays a very important role in what we consume. A more well off family is much more likely to be healthier and in better shape, just for the simple fact that they have the money to pay for gym memberships and organic food. As apposed to a lower-middle class family, who will usually tend to buy unhealthier foods that are cheaper, taste “better” and fill them up faster. Also, wealthy people tend to be better educated and more aware of the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the negative effects of sugary, salty, high-fat foods. Another reason why low income people suffer from obesity more so than high-income American’s do is because of their stress levels. Sure, rich people may have exhausting jobs and suffer the anxiety of trying to keep up with the Joneses, but they also tend to have more control over their lives. Stress is one of the leading causes of extreme weight gain.
To many countries, we’re known as the corpulent nation, although this may be true, we’re not much different from other nations at all. For example, if you were to compare the way the USA eats to the way Europe does, you wont notice much of a difference. The myth is that Europeans eat healthier than Americans and that explains why their such a thin culture. Not true, it’s not about what they eat, it’s about how much they eat. The average American eats about 3 times more than a European does in one sitting. In one year that averages out to about 328,500 calories compared to 109,500, and that’s only at dinner time!
In conclusion, based on my research, I’ve come to discover that there are many reasons as to why America has become the most obese country in the world. Whether it being stress related, genetic, technology based, overeating, or lack of exercise, they all contribute to the growing of our country’s belt. How we can interrupt the epidemic once and for all is almost impossible. But, what’s not impossible is helping ourselves. We have the power to change ourselves. But in order to do so, we have to start mentally. If you skip that morning run to sleep in an extra half hour, make it up at the end of the day. Our society nowadays is 10 times more lazier than it was a hundred years ago, but it’s not too late to turn it around. Who knows, by doing so we just might ensure a healthier generation for the future.