to do about obesity, the No. 1 killer
By Chad Giles
October 25, 2006 | What is considered obesity is simple
if you look at the BMI scale (Body Mass Index). Below
20 in considered underweight, 20-25 is normal, 26-30
is overweight, and 31 and above is considered obese.
The BMI is the standard what Americans go by to judge
what they are. The scale today makes it hard to judge
what you really are though; people look different today
then the generation before us.
If we look at pictures of our athletes today compared
to the past, you can see the physical differences. I
am male 6-foot-1, and weigh 178 lbs. I work out regularly
and on the BMI scale I am 23.4. That is just below overweight.
Former NBA player Karl Malone had a body fat percentage
of 6 when he played but by the BMI he was a 27 and by
the BMI scale he is considered overweight. Former MLB
superstar Mark McGuire when he was playing had a body
fat percentage of 7 but was considered obese with a
31 of the BMI scale. You have to look at certain things
to take into account when you look at the scale.
Obesity is looked at as a burden for the outer appearance.
People are judged all the time about how they look and
act. Magazines today portray people in ways that make
us feel bad about ourselves and push us to be better.
Victoria's Secret portrays women to be petite in turn
makes the average women to push themselves into bad
habits. Whereas, being obese in certain cases is what
people strive to be. Sumo wrestlers are the best at
their job when they are large. Also when it comes to
other sports like football. Football linemen have to
be as big as they can to be able to stop the rush of
a running back for the other team. Of course they have
to be talented too but its their weight that helps them
get the upper ground on the field to plug the holes.
The way that we look should not be the important thing
rather the way that we feel physically should be on
the top of the list. Being obese doesn't make you attractive
to the norms of America but what it is doing is putting
your body in danger of things to come such as physical
harm. Being obese has a huge impact on your internal
organs that your body needs so desperately to function
properly. The excess weight forces your organs to compress
and work overtime to try to make your body happy.
Obesity is looked at today as a major problem but
signs of these problems have been here since the early
1970's. The signs haven't been big enough to really
provoke the need in change for America. It's been just
recently that the government has stepped in to try to
change America. This country was in need of guidance
on what to eat and it was up to our officials to do
something about it. Therefore they created the food
pyramid, which lets us know what our bodies need, every
day of our lives. How accurate the pyramid should be
is the question. It wasn't dieticians coming together
to make up this pyramid and the government needed to
address the problem as soon as possible. Thus the top
officials put together a solution that would make the
country feel better and it is still used to this day.
Americans are eating more fruits and vegetables then
before but the problem is that the country is still
getting heavier and heavier. America is considered the
fattest country in the world. In 1998 the National Institute
of health (NIH) released dietary guidelines that concluded
that 97 million American adults (over the age of 18)
who consist of 55 percent of the adult population are
either overweight or obese (not by the BMI). The standard
medical definition of obesity that the NIH went with
is weighing at least 20 percent more then the ideal
body weight. That is a significant amount of weight
if you think that 20 percent of a 200-pound adult is
America is changing in ways that will hurt us more
and more in the future when it comes to obesity. The
costs that come with obesity are at a huge amount. NIH
estimates that the total costs attributed to obesity
are now approaching $100 billion annually. Those are
the costs that are being used to find ways of reversing
the affects of obesity. That number will continue to
rise every year unless we can find solutions for the
problem. The question is why we need to pay that much
money towards obesity when we can use that money for
other more important things. The problem is that in
1998 officials say that obesity contributes to as many
as 300,000 deaths per year. That came in second to cigarette
smoking. Just recently though the government found out
that obesity has just passed cigarette smoking in more
deaths per year. So we don't know what the number is
and when it's going to decrease. The obesity situation
is becoming more of an issue when it comes to health
then ever before. It has become a major problem that
we didn't see coming and now that its upon us we need
to cure it right away before it becomes to hard to fix.
It has attacked us so fast that we didn't realize
the impact it has on us, not just on American adults
but the children of this nation. The obesity rate for
children from 6-17 years of age has doubled since 1984,
which is a major increase in just over 20 years. Genetically,
it's becoming a problem that certain diseases and other
health related issues are making our children obese
without them doing anything.
U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher told a recent U.S.
Department of Agriculture conference on childhood obesity
that the condition has reached "epidemic levels." An
epidemic of course is defined as something spreading
rapidly and extensively by infection and affecting many
individuals in an area or a population at the same time.
Satcher stated "this is an infection that needs to be
stopped to overcome great problems for our youth in
the future." He stated, "Obesity is now categorized
as a disease because of the inability to slow or stop
it from happening."
How genetically, has it become an issue is by certain
diseases that come from being obese that is inherited
from the parents to the children? Certain diseases such
Metabolic Syndrome , which makes your body resistant
to insulin. This syndrome has spread like wildfire as
it reached numbers of 47 million (doesn't include children).
That is American adults that are affected with the Metabolic
Syndrome This syndrome attacks Americans in certain
areas of the body. The abdominal region is where the
weight goes most of the time with this syndrome. Doctors
have stated that it doesn't matter how much you work
out or even diet it makes it almost impossible to lose
the weight. How children receive this syndrome, in most
cases is by unnourished mothers, from who are maybe
obese passing it to their children at birth. The children
are usually underweight at birth because of the lack
of nourishment and can stay underweight through childhood
but gain the weight rapidly when they reach their teen
years. Other problems children get are cardiovascular
and diabetic problems. Type 2 Diabetes is passed from
generation to generation from obesity related issues.
Type 2 or what doctors also call adult-onset diabetes
has grown fourfold in children of ages 10-14 since 1982
which was also linked to obesity.
Pamela Kay Giles, a Registered Nurse (RN) at Mountain
West Medical Center in Tooele, said, "There is definitely
a coincidence with obesity and health risks." Being
obese makes it so you are not as mobile and not being
mobile causes problems to your body. Such as: Congestive
Heart Failure (CHF), Ammonia from fluid sitting in the
lungs, Blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and heart attacks.
The are problems that might require some type of operation.
Giles said, "It is very difficult to do surgery on
a patient if they are obese." Obesity makes it difficult
not just for the person but for the people that are
trying to help.
We need to watch what we eat. People blame fast food
but what about what we eat outside of fast food? Janet
B. Anderson RD, MS, Clinical Professor for the Department
of Nutrition from Utah State University said, "Its all
right to eat a burger and fries once in a while. We
just need to watch what else we eat." The portions at
fast food restaurants are showing large portions which
we find to be a norm but in turn we show this as home
by making our portions larger. This is what Anderson
calls "Portion Distortion."
Jay Leithead, a student at Utah State University said,
"Eating fast food is so convenient for the time I have
between my studies."
Becoming obese has roles in which many factors come
into play of how we live day to day. The way that we
eat, act, or even think changes our lives each day.
Obesity is an epidemic like stated before. The way we
can fix this is by changing ourselves individually.
We needed to be better prepared and watch out for things
that can cause us to become obese. As other countries
are fighting for problems that plague them we need to
be watchful for us and fix the problem before it grows
to a state that can't be fixed. The root of the problem
is ourselves and that's were we need to start changing.