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Obesity Epidemic

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Hannah Mumma Research Paper 3/4/09 Americans Are Getting Fat Americans are getting fatter. With fast food, television, and cars, people are eating more and exercising less. There is no doubt that obesity in the United States has become a problem, more and more people are becoming overweight and it is starting to become an epidemic. Not only is this a physical risk for many, but it is also a health risk and a psychological risk. With Americans on the rise (getting fatter), will this generation of people really live longer than other generations? Or will we become so obese and unhealthy that no one will live past the age of 50? The medical definition for being overweight is the excess amount of body weight that includes muscle, bone, fat, and water. Obesity is the excess accumulation of body fat. For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the "body mass index" (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat. A healthy BMI is anywhere from 18.5 percent to 24.9 percent body fat. An overweight adult would have a BMI of 25 percent to 29.9 percent body fat, and an obese adult would have a BMI of 30 percent or higher. In that 30 percent and higher group, the problem of morbid obesity comes in to play. Morbidly obese adults have a BMI of 40 or greater (Dietz 1). ...read more.


If there is not enough glucose to create energy, cells will be starved for energy and high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart. The third type of diabetes is called gestational diabetes. This is the type of diabetes most commonly found in pregnant women. The ADA states, "Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women - about 135,000 cases of Gestational Diabetes in the United States each year" (2). Women who are pregnant who have a poor diet and high blood sugar (glucose) are at higher risk of getting gestational Diabetes. The fourth type of Diabetes is Pre-Diabetes. Pre-diabetes happens before a person gets Type 2 Diabetes. It is when the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered Diabetes. According to the ADA, "There are 57 million people in the United States who have pre-diabetes" (3). Diabetes is a serious issue and has become an epidemic in the United States at the same time that obesity has become an epidemic, coincidence? Another health issue related to obesity is Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is when a person stops breathing for at least ten seconds during sleep. Men, obese people, and people over the age of 40 are most likely to be diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. There are two types of Sleep Apnea; Obstructive sleep apnea and Central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is "The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep" (Smith 1). ...read more.


Hollywood makes clear the emphasis on looks. Since looks are "very important," obese people may become the butt of many jokes. Obese children are often ridiculed in school and many times suffer psychological damages. Obese teenagers may be hesitant to socialize with their peers since most people this age are self conscious and will likely make fun of the overweight teenager to make them feel better. People also have the tendency to view fat people as lazy and gluttonous, which might not always be true. Another psychological effect of obesity that many people tend to overlook is the fact that many obese individuals have an eating disorder. People with bulimia binge eat and then purge by vomiting, using laxatives, or other means. Binge eating that is not followed by purging may also be considered an eating disorder and can lead to weight gain. This type of eating behavior usually contributes to feelings of shame, loneliness, poor self-esteem, and depression. A person may binge or overeat for emotional reasons, including stress, depression, and anxiety. Diabetes is a rising problem in the United States. People are becoming heavier and heavier with all the advances in technology and the addition of fast food places. Not only are adults getting fatter, but children are as well. This is and will continue to be a major problem unless Americans can change their lifestyles in a positive way. This means eating right and exercising more in order to stay healthy. The obesity epidemic has to end soon in order for America to have a brighter tomorrow. ...read more.

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