Phl 458 Current Societal Problem

2867 words - 12 pages

Obesity is a growing concern among researchers and doctors, as it is working its way toward the top of the list of leading cancer causers (Schmid, 2008). Obesity, not to be confused with overweight, occurs when a person is well beyond what is considered a normal weight. The National Institute of Health considers a person obese if their body mass index is above 30. Body mass index (BMI) is "the standard measurement of choice for many health professionals" and is based on a weight-to-height ratio (obesity.org, 2008). For adults, a BMI of 25 or greater is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. The mathematical equation for the body mass index is a person's ...view middle of the document...

com, 2008).As of 2007, statistics showed that one-third of all American adults are obese, 33% of those are women and 27% are men (obesityfocused.com, 20078. That number seems to be on the rise, as 64% of all Americans have a BMI of 25 or more, which means 64% are overweight and headed toward obesity. The obesity statistics are lower in children and teenagers, but still alarming at 15.3% for children ages six - 11 and 15.5% for children ages 12 - 19 (obesityfocused.com, 2007). With the American public's rising percentages of obesity and overweight adults and children, there is obviously cause for concern and need for a solution. The last remaining question is who is to blame?Approximately one-quarter of American adults eat at fast food restaurants on a daily basis because it is inexpensive, tasty and convenient. However, the food is loaded with saturated fat and calories and is low in fiber and nutrients. Thanks in large part to fast food, half of America's adults and one-quarter of its children are obese, double the rate of a generation ago. Even some popular chicken nuggets, which many consumers consider a healthier alternative, are flavored with beef extract and contain twice as much fat, ounce for ounce, as a hamburger (fa-ir.org, 2008). The average American now consumes approximately three hamburgers and four orders of French fries every week (Schlosser E., 2001). Because fast food chains market heavily to children the unhealthy eating and damage begins before they enter school. About 96% of American school-aged children recognize Ronald McDonald, second only to Santa Claus. Almost every American child eats at a McDonald's® at least once a month (Schlosser E., 2001).Researchers warn that french fries and chicken nuggets from two major global fast-food chains contain very high levels of artery-clogging "trans" fats. Daily consumption of 5 grams or more of trans fats raises the risk of heart attack by 25%. Half of the 43 "large"-sized fast food meals, 24 from McDonald's and 19 from KFC, examined in the study exceeded the 5 gram level and in some cases this level was 2 to 5 times the 5 gram danger level (newscientist.com, 2006).Foods that may look familiar have in, been completely reformulated. What Americans eat has changed more in the last 40 years than in the previous 40,000. Much of the taste and aroma of American fast food, for example, is now manufactured at a series of large chemical plants off the New Jersey Turnpike (Schlosser E., 2001). Obviously from reading the chemical composition of today's fast food that American's are not eating healthy. According to Russell Blaylock, M.D., most of these fast foods contain excitotoxins such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), nutrisweet, aspartame, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant, L-cysteine, yeast extract, plant protein extract, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, textured protein, autolyzed yeast and hydrolyzed oat flour.These excitotoxins and neurotoxins affect the brain and...

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