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Why Weight? Essay

2043 words - 9 pages

There are many issues facing Americans today, but I believe that the most pressing issue is obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of overweight American children and teens has more than doubled in the past decade (Ward-Smith). Two-thirds of the adults are either overweight or obese, and at least 300,000 Americans die each year from obesity related diseases (“America’s Obesity Crisis”). Type II diabetes is already reaching epidemic proportions among our youth, and we will soon have the first generation of Americans who are less healthy than their parents (Davis 2). Obesity has been officially recognized as a disease by the American Medical ...view middle of the document...

The latest figures from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that obesity in the United States is a significant public health problem (Ward-Smith). The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has grown considerably in recent years. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese (“Childhood Obesity”). Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year (Bettelheim). The problem is that not many people know exactly what obesity is. A few extra pounds does not mean that you are obese. However, someone who is a few pounds overweight may indicate a tendency to gain weight easily and a need for changes in diet and/or exercise.
Generally, a child is not considered obese until the weight is at least 10 percent higher than what is recommended for the height and body type (Hearnshaw and Matyka). Obesity most commonly begins in childhood between the ages of 5 and 6 and during adolescence (“Obesity and Overweight”). A study done by the World Health Organization provides strong evidence that higher levels of body mass index during childhood can predict being overweight later in life. Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult (Greenblatt). Obesity, defined as body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, is calculated using height and weight information. BMI is equal to weight in pounds divided by height in inches multiplied by height in meters, multiplied by 73 (Ward-Smith).
When I hear about how overweight America is, I often agree with the news stories. When I go shopping, go to the beach, go to a movie, I often see overweight people. When I compare the children from the past to the children today, a big change can be seen. Instead of going to the park after school, kids go home and watch TV. They not only watch TV, but they eat as well. When I ask my brother to go play outside, he says no because he wants to play his video game. When I walk the streets, I can’t help but notice that the population is a lot heavier than it has been in the past. Everywhere you look you can find reasons for the increase in weight. We are constantly eating fatty fast foods and sitting on the couch. It’s important for parents to be made aware of the issue of childhood obesity so they can take the steps necessary to prevent it. Some parents have a busy schedule so the easiest thing to do is to buy fast food. This is ok every once in a while but they should also be sure to provide fruits and vegetables for their children. Parents should also encourage outside play instead of allowing children to sit inside all day.
We have become extremely lazy and rarely exercise anymore. Instead of riding a bike to school, we drive. Instead of exercising, we eat. There are many causes of obesity, but the most...

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