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The average weight of an American adult has increased from 160 pounds to about 180 over the last sixty years. The average weight of an adult female has increased significantly as well, over the same time period, from 143 pounds to over 155, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. By the early 1970’s, more than 14 percent of the American population was already diagnosed as obese. According to the today’s statistics, the number of obese American adults is two times higher, according to the Center of Disease Control (David , Cutle, Edward, & Glaeser, 2003).
The issue of the weight increase in America was reported throughout the twentieth century. In the same regard, the rate of increase in weight since 1980 has been different from the previous changes. For the most cases in the twentieth century, average weights were below the recommended levels for the maximum longevity. The increase in weight represented a health improvement over this time period. Today, the average American adult weight has surpassed the recommended healthy weight, and worse still, it is increasing by day. Although other developed nations have recorded an increase in the average adult weight, the rates have not been as high as it has been the case in the United States (Witters, 2011). This document will try to explain this growth in obesity and the reasons it is higher in the United States than other developed nations.
There has been sufficient evidence that relates calories expenditure and consumption. It has been found that the expending rate has not changed in any way since 1980, but the rate of consumption has significantly increased. This has been related to the food preparation revolution. In the 60s, families cooked their own food and ate it at home, unlike today’s mass food production and a restaurant culture. This has been contributed by the revolution in mass consumption goods over the last century, technological innovations in packaging and preservation. The present day has witnessed vacuum packaging, modern improved food preservation methods, deep freezing, microwaves, and artificial flavors, among others. These factors have enabled food manufacturers to prepare food in a centralized industry and ship it to consumers around the country for rapid consumption. This has significantly increased the variety of foods consumed, and also the quantity consumed.
A good illustration is the evolution of potato consumption. In the early 1960s, potatoes were locally consumed in homes. Americans consumed potatoes baked, boiled, or mashed. French fries were very rare. They were either served at home or at the restaurant in most cases. Their preparation was quite taxing, associated with a lot of potato peeling, cutting and cooking. This was locally done without involving any of the expensive machinery. These activities also required a lot of time and attention. A number of innovations have emerged over years. These industries have enabled centralization of French fries production on a large scale (Timi, 2011). Using new technologies, French fries are typically peeled, cut and cooked in a centralized industry. In the present day, French fries are the most common form of potatoes consumed across America.
Modern industrial advancement, catalyzed by the emerging new technology, has led to increased calorie intake as a result of consuming more meals per day, rather than more calories per meal. The reduced cost of food production has lowered the average food cost and encouraged massive consumption of mass produced foods.
Obesity increase is related with access to the emerging new food technologies in food preparation, processing, and preservation. In many countries, food distribution has been regulated. In Europe, the EU has taken a strong stand against genetically modified food. In Germany, there have had beer parity laws. In France, there has been a cultural food regulation, with Jose Bove’s campaign against the McDonald. The countries with is a greater degree in regulation of food processing and supportive measures towards traditional agricultural activities have recorded reduced rates of obesity.
According to the recent surveys, it has been evident that the core reasons as to why American children and adolescents are obese are failure to consume the right kinds of food and also – getting less and less of regular physical exercise. This has been greatly contributed by the change in the lifestyle among Americans. There has been a reported increase in the time spent by TV among children and elderly people. In present days, there has also been a decline in meal cleanup activities.
Children and the elderly are almost inactive physically in present days. As compared to 1980s, children and the elderly almost do not work today. The increased obesity legacy in children and adolescents has also been associated with a changed lifestyle. As a result of the changed habits, the elderly have become less active than they were fifty years ago. Considering the higher energy intake of the elderly people and the fact that they no longer work, it has significantly reduced caloric expenditure among them.
The increased calorie intake among Americans has been evident. On the other hand, the calorie expenditure has significantly reduced among the same consumers. This has been one of the major contributing factors of obesity among Americans. There has also been a reduction in the time cost of food. This has allowed for a more frequent food consumption of greater variety, leading to an increase in weight. The unit cost of food has also reduced greatly. A snack ice-cream-filled cake is now available for as little as one dollar.
According to a number of surveys comparing height and weight, the estimated number of obese and overweight teenagers has considerably increased as well. In a sampled group of ten teenagers, researchers found that two to three of them could be considered obese or overweight. Interestingly, the teenagers had little or no chances of shedding their extra weight in the near future. Unless adequate measures are taken, the rising trend in their obesity levels will continue crawling up, causing subsequent health problems reported in their adulthood.
There are several dangers associated with obesity. Medically, these problems are physical and psychological so an obese person has to deal with the both. It is rather difficult to deal with excess weight in children and adults. This has barred them from participating freely and easily in their day-to-day activities. Dealing with this health problem affects these people emotionally in that the physical fitness affects the emotional make-up as well.
Obesity is also associated with medical problems. There are two types of diabetes associated with obesity. Overweight people are at a greater risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, with the risk of cardiovascular diseases being higher in older persons than younger ones. An obese teen is more likely to have a cardiovascular disorder than it is the case with an obese pre- teen (Help Cure Obesity, 2011). Another diagnosis associated with obesity is sleep apnea, whereby the overweight person has disorders in breathing, especially while sleeping. This happens when there is a blockage in the airway passage. This, consequently, results in a poor sleeping quality, daytime fatigue and, in some cases, hyperactivity.
Obesity cases in America are clearly evident. This has been reported by all studies carried out in this subject matter. Obesity cases have been reported by people of all ages in the United States –children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. If the trend continues, more health issues will be reported. To reduce these cases, it is advisable for Americans to reduce the calorie intake and get more daily exercises.
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