Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Anatomy Of Obesity: Why Is America Becoming Fat?

Do you remember the movie “Supersize Me”? America is getting fatter everyday with fast foods feeding the voracious appetite with larger servings of saturated fat and more sugary soft drinks.

While many Americans are not completely enamored with the idea of eating at fast foods everyday, these individuals are still getting fatter. Do we have a plague on our hands? Or does it have something to do with the way America has been consuming its calories?

According to the Center for Disease Control or the CDC in the United States, the majority of the adult population in America is now ill with obesity. The figure is alarming, which is why we should do something about it now.

According to the CDC around 60% of adult Americans now fall into the category of mildly obese to morbidly obese. Even with the country-wide recession, this figure is not budging. The problem seems to be much deeper than economics.

The factors

According to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, the problem with overweight individuals in the United States is a mixture of social, cultural, psychological and genetic factors.

Let us try to discuss each of these factors to shed light on this alarming development in the American population.

1.Social - there are two extreme poles with regard to weight in America. One pole states that the ideal body figure should be stick-thin, and thus, food in general should be avoided.

This pole has resulted in the production of anorexics and bulimics. The other pole has a “no-care” attitude, and says that we should eat all we want because we have full rights to our own bodies.

Both extreme poles are problematic, dangerous and unfortunately, wildly popular. This means that teenagers as well as adults are espousing ideas from both these poles, and both are being damaged by this kind of thinking.

2.Cultural - America has a bipolar personality with regards to weight and weight control. The culture of the thin wants women to be as thin as possible, forgetting that nutrition is still a big part of how humans survive on a day-to-day basis.

The fast food culture on the other hand, encourages convenience, glossing over the number of calories and the harmful effects of too much cholesterol and body fat. Again, both these extreme poles are harming the populace.

3.Psychological - some Americans might be finding comfort in overeating. The human psyche was designed in such a way that if it cannot cope with pressure, it finds “comfort activities”. One of these popular “comfort activities” is eating.

Chocolates, sugary foods and crunchy junk foods all fall into the category of comfort food. They fall into the category because they are easily available, tasty and come in large quantities.

4.Genetic - though this is something that medicine cannot completely alter, genetics also plays a part in the rising number of obese adults.

The premise here is simple- if your parents were obese, you would be predisposed to be obese as well. If you become obese, your children and your children’s children will be predisposed to obesity too.

It’s a vicious cycle that we should try to stop by remedying obesity now.

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