Obesity is increasing in the United States; it is more than a size and more than being overweight. Obesity is defined by Mayo Clinic in their Diseases and Conditions definitions as, “a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It increases risks of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.” Moreover, it has been categorized as a growing epidemic, but how should we combat it if we don’t know who the enemy is? Many criticize and blame fast food restaurants for selling unhealthy foods and their negative influence on flawed eating habits. Fast food restaurants, on the other hand, argue that they offer a variety of choices and are not misleading anyone. Americans are taking it too far by blaming fast food restaurants for obesity; rather than blaming restaurants, individuals should take responsibility for their eating habits. Society must recognize that overweight is a problem. In the United States, it is estimated that one-third of its population is obese.
“Obesity is a rising epidemic in our country,” informs Vikki Sloviter in the article Child Obesity: Who’s to Blame? from the magazine Pediatrics for Parents (2). In like manner, the article mentions that The National Obesity Foundation, states that Obesity is a medical condition that was recently recognized as a disease by The American Medical Association. TNOF also affirms that the condition is caused by a range of factors such as genetic, poor diet, and lack of physical activity. With this in mind, is easy to perceive that research shows obesity as a product of different factors, but society wants to grasp to fast food restaurants for blame. It is true, fast food restaurants are found almost at every corner of our cities, their food is affordable and convenient. With individual’s busy schedule, it is easy and opportune to stop by a fast food restaurants on the way to school, work, practice, road trip, etc… Yet, fast food restaurants are being criticized and blamed for having their business so accessible for everyone.
However, restaurant chains such as McDonald’s respond that they are only meeting the demands of customers. Even with nutritional values displayed, more customers choose a Big Mac with a large side of French fries and a soda over a chicken salad and water. They respond to customer’s demands. Moreover, it is not a taboo that fast food lacks nutritional value. Fast foods are prejudicial because of their poor nutritional value. These foods are high in calories, high in sodium, highly processed. What to say about its multiple additives to keep it last longer? What is in the meat? We are not openly informed about that. What we are informed is about its high calorie count and its poor nutritional value, yet many still avoid reading the menus or ignore the consequences.
Let’s not just blame it on what we eat; studies show that one of the primary factors of this weight dilemma is the lack of exercise. Vikki Sloviter mentions a study that appeared in the April 2007 issue of The American Journal of Public Health where a researcher found that the lack of physical activity, just like unhealthy meals, play a part of overweight (2). Many Americans eat high-fat, high calorie, sugary foods, but spends hours in front of a TV. Several, on the other hand, have busy schedules to plan an exercise routine. Similarly, the article A weighty issue in Practice Nurse journal by the nurse Jane Tyke expresses that many patients when they feel the need to shed a couple pounds from their body they try to accomplish it through “no effort,” often times resorting to a “fat burning pill” (46). In like manner, she adds that others would binge one day and will starve the next to compensate the high fats and calorie intakes, but it doesn’t work that way. Other will just find excuses to support their theory that they can’t do it to avoid exercise and better eating.
Despite the efforts from agencies and government’s policies to suit and tax food producers to control obesity, satisfactory results have not been seen. Class action and lawsuit to restrict soda and snack machines, mentions Faye I. Wong in the article The nation’s obesity epidemic: Who’s to blame? What’s to fix? from the journal Nation’s Health, have not worked (3). As a matter of fact, past research has shown that many of the food policies designed to improve food choices, such as requiring calorie information on restaurant menus and taxing sugar-sweetened beverages, do not always produce the intended results. Vikki Sloviter equally informs that Government organizations such as U.S Department of Agriculture have punished schools in support of enhanced children’s diets. Nevertheless, research has demonstrated that in spite of offers to reduce obesity individuals are still willing to pay taxes and ignore calorie information. Something has to be done instead of placing blame.
There are so many downsides of obesity, it affects individual’s health and self esteem, not to account the rise on annual death accredited to obesity. Health insurance are screaming for measure to reduce the high demands for interventions attributed to obesity, but is part of humankind to place blame on someone else. Jane Tyke in A weighty issue claims, “The government could tax junk food and reward healthy eating. Food advertising could be censored… Losing weight takes effort and commitment and nobody else can do it for you” (46). Individuals may be jeopardizing their health, their self steam and ever motor mobility. Let’s train children as well before they acquire poor eating habits, recent studies have shown that child obesity is increase too. Working in a school environment for many years I’ve witnessed many children’s poor decision making at lunchtime. Many organizations want to suit school districts for their unhealthy lunches. For this reason, school districts, like Hayward Unified, have modified and changed their menus.
Hayward Unified has eliminated juices and chocolate milk from their menu. Children are offered a main entry, a portion of fruit, vegetables and milk. However, many students do not drink their milk because it lacks the syrup and flavor found in the milk consumed at home. Numerous of oranges, apples and vegetables are tossed into the trash by students . This may mean that poor dietary habits originate in children’s homes. Children should be trained. A great strategy for avoiding falling in the hands of fast food restaurants is planning meals ahead, or exercising to make up for what was consumed. Moreover, individuals can try to find time in the week to cook food for the rest of the week. “Any food can be eaten in moderation within a balanced diet,” says Faye I. Wong, D.R, “It is the pervasive presence of high fat and high calorie foods and ‘super sizing,’” (3).
Society must understand too that fast food restaurants don’t have to be completely avoided, but instead an individual should be aware of the portion sizes and that some food chains offer healthy choices. With this in mind, if an unhealthy meal can’t be completely avoided a good way to eliminate the excess of calories is exercise. Obesity and overweight rates are much higher now than previous years. Obesity is no only about looking better, individuals should be aware and should try to change aspects of their life style. This epidemic affects your health, self steam, possibly discrimination, the government and health insurances. Let’s avoid a diabetes type 1 or type 2. Policy makers and public health organization can’t combat it without individual’s awareness and will. Obesity is a personal problem. Let’s eat better and change sedentary life styles, exercise!
Sloviter, Vikki. “Childhood Obesity: Who’s To Blame?.” Pediatrics For Parents 24.5 (2008): 2- 3. Consumer Health Complete – EBSCOhost. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. Tyke, Jane. “A Weighty Issue.” Practice Nurse 27.2 (2004): 46. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
W. COOKE, CHARLES C. “Suing The Hand That Feeds You.” National Review 66.4 (2014): 21-22. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
Wong, Faye L. “The Nation’s Obesity Epidemic: Who’s To Blame? What’s To Fix?.” Nation’s
Health 32.6 (2002): 3. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.