Obesity Epidemic In America Essays


defines obesity as “

an excessively high amount of body fat (adipose tissue) in relation

to lean body mass.” To contradict

slightly, however, we identify this health problem by

the use of a “Body mass index” (BMI) which does not calculate “an excessively high

amount of body fa

t in relation to lean body mass”, but measures weight adjusted for

height and is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared(kg/m²). For children and teens, BMI is age and sex-specific and is often referred to asBMI-for-age. The BMI number is plotted on the CDC BMI-for-age growth charts (foreither girls or boys) to attain a percentile ranking. Below are the BMI-for-age weightstatus categories and the matching percentiles:

Weight Status Category Percentile Range

Underweight Less than the 5th percentileHealthy weight 5th percentile to less than the 85thpercentileOverweight 85th to less than the 95th percentileObese Equal to or greater than the 95thpercentile

There are limitations to the “BMI” which will be

discussed more soundly in the latterparts of the essay. However to date, this is likely to be the best measure of childhoodobesity when considering both accuracy and practicality.

Why does childhood obesity exist?

There are many factors that contribute to childhood obesity coming from a variety of sources. Primarily,


itself plays a large part in fueling this problem; an article on

“Med India” writes that “eating fast food is no longer a fashion. It is now a necessity. It

is the most attractive solution in the fast-paced life as it is inexpensive, tastes good and

is made and served fast.” Society’s emphasis on instant gratification and our consumer

driven lifestyles means we often look for easy, convenient options when it comes toconsuming food.Generally, children do not have the authority to make their own decisions when itcomes to food preferences and quantities, but unfortunately, what parents andcaregivers are feeding their children is often what is easiest and what does notdemand much effort or time. Food that fits this description is often highly processed,low nutrition and high in energy. According to the 2006 /07 New Zealand Health

Survey, “Seven out of ten (70.9%) children had eaten fast food in the past seven days.

One in seven (13.6%) had eaten fast food twice in the past seven days and one in 14

(7.2%) had eaten fast food three or more times in the past seven days.” Limitedly, thissurvey merely looks at “Fast food”; it is probable that these children are consuming

other processed foods that are high in fat and low in nutrition, obtained by the means

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Millions of Americans and people worldwide are overweight or obese. Obesity develops when “calories consumed exceeds calories expended” (“Obesity and Genetics”). “Obesity rates have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970’s,” and in the present day it is estimated that “two – thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese” (Ogden). Being overweight or obese highly increases the risk of deadly health problems, therefore this statistic states that the majority of the United States population is at risk of obtaining life–threatening diseases. Around forty years ago obesity would not effect this abundant number of people; however today’s society consumes more fast food in addition to spending most of their hours doing…show more content…

In past generations people burned more calories throughout the day than we do now. Decades ago the average adult male would walk to work, do vigorous manual labor, walk back home, and eat a healthy home cooked meal, as well as, do the necessary house duties. Now the average male adult drives to work, sits at a desk, goes out to eat, drives back home, and watches television before going to bed. This has led to the formation of bad habits such as, eating out, being inactive, and ingesting more calories than needed. Unfortunately, in this case, “children adopt habits from their parents” (“Explore Overweight”). If a child’s parents are obese, eats high-calorie foods, and are inactive then most likely the child will become obese also (“Explore Overweight”). This has caused obesity to become a reoccurring event because obese parents lead their kids into obesity, and when their children grow up they do the same thing. This along with many other causes has made the obesity epidemic difficult to minimize.
The causes of obesity are complex and can include genetics and medical history (“United States Obesity”). “Although changes in the genetic makeup of populations occur too slowly to be responsible for this rapid rise in obesity”, genes definitely contribute to the process of obesity (“Obesity and Genetics”). Genes in our body control how we store and apply energy from the food we eat, therefore it

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