Essay Preview: Obesity
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Lets take a few minutes and focus on a problem in the world today that keeps on getting bigger, pun intended. I am referring to obesity and how it has become an increasingly common and serious issue over the past decade. The focus on maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle has shifted and too many people are turning a blind eye to how massive of a health risk obesity is. Obesity is affecting the health and lives of children and adults worldwide and instead of working to encourage overweight people to live healthier lives, this near-epidemic has gone unaddressed for fear of making anyone feel badly about themselves and the way that they are living. The time has come to speak out about the risks involved with living an unhealthy lifestyle; lets start by discussing some of the causes of obesity, along with how it affects lives and how it can be managed and prevented.

Obesity is causes by a multitude of things, but the first one that always comes to mind is the over-consumption of food. As Carson-DeWitt, MD, and Frey, PhD, stated, “The mechanism for excessive weight gain is clear Ð- more calories are consumed than the body burns, and the excess calories are stored as fat (adipose) tissue” (Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 2006, p6). Views on food have changed from the mindset that human beings need food to survive, or “eat-to-live”, to the idea that we survive only to enjoy eating food, or “live-to-eat”, and this has brought many people into the dangerous territory of unhealthy eating habits. In addition, some people associate food with comfort and turn to their favorite sweet or salty treats when feeling sad, lonely, or stressed out after a hard day. Food may bring temporary relief from a bad mood, but the outcome is disastrous when “comfort foods” become a frequent habit. The availability of the so-called “convenience foods” are hampering healthy eating just as much, with the plethora of prepackaged goodies and fast-food restaurants taking advantage of peoples desires for instant gratification. Society is changing and is busier than in the past, which means more people want everything fast and now. The lack of quick, healthy choices frequently leads to the consumption of too much fat, salt, and sugar, and too many calories. Making the problem worse is the practice of super-sizing portions of food, so now the average person can no longer identify a proper serving of food and easily eats more than they need to survive. The idea of needing to clean the plate at every meal, as has been instructed for generations now, is harmful as well and is causing people habitually to overeat and accustom their stomachs over time to think they require more food to be sated when in reality their bodies need much less.

Our sedentary lifestyles today are also to blame for rampant obesity. People are spending more time working and less time working out and this is something that needs to change. Sitting behind a desk for 10 hours a day, five days a week, along with the mindless snacking that often accompanies boring work days can be detrimental to a healthy diet. Physical activity needs to be a priority for inactive people; their health and lives depend on it. Exercise seems scary to some people but being a star at the local gym is not the only option, there are simple ways to incorporate exercise into a busy day. Television viewing habits and video game playing are both getting out of hand too, with more people spending four or more hours a day sitting in front of their multimedia vice of choice. This focus on activities that facilitate sitting unmoving for hours straight is unhealthy and dangerously addictive.

Not all obesity is caused by poor diet and exercise habits however; there are also medical reasons for obesity. Cushings syndrome is an illness where the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol, which is a stress hormone that can cause the body to inadvertently retain fat. Hypothyroidism can also lead to excess weight retention and is caused when the bodys thyroid gland under-produces, but can thankfully be controlled by medications. A damaged hypothalamus, the part of the brain associated with telling the body when it is hungry or full, will also lead to overeating and obesity, just as needing to take certain types of prescription medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, or steroids (Carson-DeWitt, MD, and Frey, PhD, 2006, p8).

Health Risks
There are also many health risks associated with obesity that cannot be ignored. A body carrying too much weight can give rise to secondary health conditions that complicate matters even more. Obesity is a common contributor to body and joint pain, known in more sever forms as arthritis. The human body was not intended to carry extreme amounts of weight, and when forced to do so, it can respond in painful ways like hernias and heartburn. Being too much over a healthy weight may also lead to the sudden onset in adulthood of asthma, gum disease, or problems sleeping at night. High blood pressure can also be treated back to obesity, as can problems with a womans menstrual cycle and a decrease in her ability to get pregnant or carry a healthy fetus to term. The list of obesity-related health problems is longer still, including high levels of cholesterol in the blood, gallstones, being painfully unable to catch ones breath, and social and emotional problems (Carson-DeWitt, MD, and Frey, PhD, 2006, p9). When these preliminary health issues are ignored, the problems increase. In fact, “The consequences of obesity present a smorgasbord of debilitating illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and certain cancers, which have a domino effect on the bodys physiology” (Campbell, 2007, p8). Besides just causing diabetes, being an overweight diabetic means having a higher risk of developing problems related to the disease and a higher chance of dying from a heart attack that diabetics at a healthy weight would most likely survive (Campbell, 2007, p9). On top of that, a research study done by the American Cancer Society concluded that each year up to 90,000 people die from cancers either caused by or contributed to being over a healthy weight (Campbell, 2007, p11). With such a multitude of problems stemming off of obesity, more people need to reevaluate the way they are living and make good health a priority.

Childhood Obesity
Obesity is now affecting children at a growing rate, as a lack of exercise and poor eating habits are passed down from the adult influences in their lives. More mothers work outside the home now then before, which

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Consumption Of Food And Much Fat. (May 31, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/consumption-of-food-and-much-fat-essay/