Why are so many Americans overweight or obese

Contrary to an argument by many that obesity is just being big bodies and is a normal condition, medical practitioners have confirmed the same to be a medical condition which is as a result of accumulation of excess body fats. The accumulation of body fats exceeds the required amount so that it now becomes threat to one’s life and in extreme cases can lead to early deaths. Obesity is not just about being big bodied. One is said to be obese when their Body Mass Index goes beyond 30 kg/m2 which is the normal Body Mass Index. This paper focuses on some of the causes of obesity, consequences of this medical condition and why there are so many obese people in America (Fletcher, 1999).Some of the identifiable causes of obesity include diet. Medical practitioners have always stated that it is extremely important for everybody to watch carefully what they eat. It is actually for this reason that a balanced diet was introduced by nutritionists to ensure that people do not have a great intake of a particular diet while completely ignoring the others. Between the years 1971 and 2000 statistics indicate that there was increase from 14 to 30 % of the obese people in the U.S. This was attributed to the increased I take of calories by feeding on diets that were rich in carbohydrates and especially sweet drinks (Finer, 1997).Today’s society has become heavily reliant on fast food meals which have high content of calories. Research indicates that the  number of people taking first foods has doubled over the last couple of years and that the calories contained in fast foods keep on increasing thus raising the concern as may people keep getting obese. Technology and new agricultural policies that have been introduced have contributed to the drop in food prices. This has therefore made all types of foods easily available and thus there is general overfeeding in America as indicated by research thus contributing to obesity. Although many have argued that obesity is brought about by slow metabolism so that even when people eat little amounts of food they still end up getting big, practitioners have disagreed arguing that there is no concrete evidence to support this claim. This is because more energy is consumed to maintain a large body mass and this increases the rate of metabolism in obese people (Barry, 2001).A person’s lifestyle by and large contributes to this medical condition. A sedentary lifestyle is one where a person does not engage in any form of exercise whatsoever. This kind of lifestyle is common in developed countries like the United States where a person relies on technology for the greater part of their lives. This means that a lot of activities some of which are simple which they re supposed to do manually are done by machines thus their muscles are not exercised. People who lead such kind of lifestyle basically sit, eat, and watch television, read and sleep. As already mentioned they rely on computers and other electronic gadgets to help them in their daily activities. This kind of lifestyle has been said to be one of the major causes of obesity since no fats are lost through exercising thus they become accumulated. Research also indicates that even in the employment there is high demand for jobs that are less involving manually so that pretty much of the work is done by machine mostly computers so that at the end of the day not much energy is consumed (Blackburn, 1994).Just like other medical conditions some cases of obesity are purely due too genetics. There are some genes that have been identified to cause obesity and this has nothing to do with diet or the kind of lifestyle that one leads. It has also been proven that some particular medical conditions and the drugs used to treat such conditions can increase the risk of one getting obese. Most of the conditions are genetic syndrome. Some medicines have also been said to cause wait gain in patients thus increasing the chances of obesity. Medicines like insulin are said to play contributory role in causing this condition.However the big question still remains why are so many Americans overweight or obese today? What is it that they are doing today that they were not doing ten years ago? Although it is an indisputable fact that the intake of calories has gone up in comparison to the past years, this may not be sufficient to explain the great increase of obese people in America today. There are many other factors which when combined increase greatly the chances of getting obese.Social determinants have been said to play a key role causing obesity. A research carried out back in the 80’s proved that women of a high social class from developed countries were less likely to be obese as compared to those of low social class. In the developing countries the situation was vice versa so that those of high social class were more prone to obesity. The explanation that was given was that those from rich countries were vale to afford nutritious foods and thus the chances of suffering from this condition were reduced. Smoking has also been said to be a cause of this condition though its effects are minor (Fletcher, 1999). Other factors that have been cited include the number of children that one has so that the birth of each child increase the risk of suffering obesity by a certain percentage.Having discussed some of the causes of obesity it is important to also highlight some of the consequences of obesity. It is not just about the looks when we talk of consequences of obesity. Obesity can be fatal. At least 300,000 people die every year as a result of obesity in the U.S. (Barry, 2001). Other consequences include diabetes which is one of the most common consequences of obesity. Cardiovascular complications especially heart attack and strokes are other consequences of obesity.It is quite clear that obesity has now become a problem in many parts of the world and America in particular. Statistics indicate in every three Americans one of them must be obese. This represents a very high ration which means that steps must be taken to ensure that this trend does not continue. What can be done to change the situation? As already mentioned it is important for an individual to watch the type of foods they eat. One must endeavor to eat balanced diet at all times. Similarly what is commonly referred to as junk food must be avoided. This is the kind of food that has high contents of calories and comes in form of snacks. One should also make it a habit to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and less of other types of foods especially carbohydrates as they have high levels of calories. One must also ensure that they reduce the intake of sugar to minimum levels (Finer, 1997).Physical exercise is paramount in not only preventing obesity but other common ailments like flu (Blackburn, 1994). How important it is to engage in physical exercises, some people may ask. It is of great importance to exercise as it is this way that extra calories are burnt thus excess fats in the body are reduced. However exercising as a treatment for obesity is most effective when it is combined with proper diet which includes reduction of intake calories. It must always be remembered that taking physical exercises without a change of diet would not be effective.Other advantages of exercising include improving control of sugar in the blood and lowering chances of blood pressure (Barry, 2001). The fat that is accumulated in the abdomen is also reduced through exercising. Chances of getting heart disease like heart attack are greatly reduced through exercising.The recommended period of exercise is about 30 minutes at least once in two days.Obesity, though a medical problem can be controlled by especially watching our diet and the general lifestyle we lead. It is important to note that consequences of obesity can be fatal.Words: 1355.Reference:Barry, G. (2001). Obesity, New York: SAGE.Blackburn, G. (1994). Obesity, London: Macmillan.Finer, N. (1997). Obesity: Long Term Implications, London: Routledge.Fletcher, G. (1999). Obesity: Impact on Cardiovascular Diseases, New York: Tailor and Francis.