The rhythm of life of our society has changed recently and it manifests itself in exacerbation of many problems that really affect the quality of living of modern people. Our world has never been perfect and very often the things that we believe to be the signs of welfarism of the nation (such as an excess of food) can cause additional problems. These issues tend to be connected with our health and the thing making them even more dangerous is that their negative consequences arrest our attention only when the problem has reached its climax. The same is true for the problem of obesity. Due to various reasons connected to our lifestyle, habits, and values, our society is experiencing a tremendous growth in the number of adult people and children who suffer from obesity. The average level of our health plunges with the growth of our weight and obesity has many short- and long-term consequences that are able to cast a light on our lives.
By the notion “obesity,” we mean a medical condition of the human body in which it contains so much subcutaneous fat that it troubles proper body functioning. The class of obesity is connected to the body mass index that is a correlation between height and weight of a person. Taking into consideration the body mass index of a person, it is possible to define whether he or she has normal weight or not. Persons may be also classified as underweight, overweight, or even obese. As for overweight people, they have a certain amount of excess fat but it usually does not cause serious health issues. The consequences are not the same when it comes to obesity: people whose body mass index is over 30, are gambling with their lives as such an amount of excess fat causes serious problems with vital parts (Shah and Braverman, p. 120).
As for the most recent data on obesity in United States of America, the situation is a little bit different for adults and children. The share of adults suffering from obesity continues growing in many states. The worst situation is in Louisiana: its adult obesity rate exceeds 36 percent (Segal et al, p. 25). The smallest percentage of obese adults can be found in Colorado: one person out of five has a certain class of obesity. If “one out of five” is the lowest rate in the country, the present situation is a serious challenge and urgent measures have to be taken right now. As for children, the situation is relatively stable because childhood obesity rates do not grow as rapidly as the adult rates. Despite this alleged stability, the situation is only a little better than with adults. There is a little progress in slowing the growth of childhood obesity, but it still keeps growing. If we compare the number of obese children twenty years ago to the present, it will be obvious that the situation is disastrous. The percent of children suffering from obesity has increased by a factor of three since 1985 (Hassan, p. 17). Furthermore, childhood obesity has started to occur at an earlier age: almost nine percent of children at the ages from 2 to 5 are obese, whereas more than one quarter of these children are extremely obese. As we see, the problem is really severe and our society has no right to start solving it later.
The present lifestyle of our society is not the same as that which was essential in previous centuries. There has always been hard work all day long, but in modern day-to-day realities we are supposed to be able to perform many different activities simultaneously and it makes us pressed for time and causes stress. If we live with permanent time issues, it becomes essential for us to ignore the basic principles of healthy eating and eat in a disorderly manner. Different people tend to make various mistakes while organizing their diet, some of them eat less than they should whereas many people just do not notice how many calories they consume. This carelessness can lead to a significant gain in weight that is likely to evolve into obesity with the lapse of time. To avoid such a terrible result, people who are thinking of having a quick bite to eat must keep in mind how much they have already eaten. Unfortunately, there are many careless eaters who see no problem and make no effort to start eating healthy. If nothing changes, these people are wired to suffering from various diseases with terrible aftereffects. Furthermore, overeating can do serious damage not only to our physical health but also to our mental health. A habit of careless eating is able to make us careless in other spheres of life. Getting used to careless eating, we often start to let ourselves go and it leads to low self-esteem.
It is obvious that nowadays there is no problem of hunger in developed countries. Instead, supermarket shelves burst with plenty of alimentary products. There is always a food that suits every taste and budget, but we cannot be sure that it is not going to do more harm than good to our health. Due to the lack of time for cooking, many people have no alternative besides buying semi-prepared food. Of course, there are certain documents that set strict food quality requirements but it does not rule out the possibility of consuming food that will bring nothing but health issues. Due to the pay grade level, many people just can not afford alimentary products of a higher quality and this is why they are urged to risk their health. The feature that is typical for lower-quality foods is that they often contain different food additives that are not always proved to be harmless for our health. Alimentary products often contain food flavoring agents and taste modifiers that are used to increase sales by making people addicted. These substances influence our taste perception, making us want to eat more even when we already have a full belly. As a result, we do not notice that we are gradually getting used to eating in an immoderate manner. Eating over our personal caloric limit without increasing a level of physical activity causes various health issues because our body weight is going to increase by means of fat but not muscle.
We all belong to the same biological species because our bodies work in accordance with the universal laws of nature. Despite this, each human body possesses its own peculiar properties and therefore our exigencies may be expressed to a greater or lesser degree. For example, there are people whose physical activity level is comparatively high because they feel better being active and wasting their energy that they get with the food. On the contrary, there are those who do not need to be active so much and it is not always the same as laziness. Eating a food that is rich in calories, these people have a high risk of becoming obese. What is worse, if they make attempts to lose weight, it is very hard for them to push themselves to be active because they have never believed that physical activity is an essential element of a full life. Low level of physical activity coupled with immoderate eating is likely to make people obese in a short span of time, but the risk is really enormous for those who have a genetic predisposition to obesity. It does not mean that person with a genetic predisposition will be extremely obese even working hard at a gym and eating healthy food. It means that he or she has no chance to eat a lot of fattening food and have a normal weight, unlike people whose skinniness is an ancestorial feature. Consequently, people who have many obese relatives should pay more attention to their lifestyle in order to prevent the development of this condition.
Another reason for the increasing number of obese children and adults is likely to be connected to the way of development of modern human society. This connection may not be obvious for some people, but the fact that we live in culture that proclaims the great role of individualism also contributes to the growth of obesity rates. Unfortunately, we are getting used to unlimited consummation. Media that play a great part in shaping our values very often push the idea that needs of an individual are more important than needs of a whole society. Furthermore, they often put materialistic values, like the significance of bodily comfort, at a first place while more idealistic values remain underestimated. Another popular and controversial idea is that people should love themselves without trying to conquer their weaker selves. Hearing constant proclamation of these ideas, many people start to believe that their needs are something urgent and they have to be accommodated at once. The trouble is that it often leads to the weakening of self-control and then increases the chance of becoming an immoderate eater. Unfortunately, the culture of moderation in the use of food is in decline and it happens because junk food companies stand to benefit from combative advertising of their products. The childhood obesity rate is likely to grow due to that reason, too. Unhealthy eating habits of adult people are the only examples of eating behavior for their children. Growing up, they gradually pick up these habits and become as immoderate in eating as are their parents. To improve the situation, it is urgent to explain to people that eating whatever they want is not a part of self-acceptance. Instead, it means that they lack dignity and they have a slapdash attitude toward their bodies.
There is still an argument on the official status of obesity because some experts consider it to be not a disease but just a dangerous medical condition of the human body. Whatever the case, there is no doubt that obesity is extremely harmful for our health because having a great amount of subcutaneous fat cannot be a normal condition of the body. Being obese in every instance causes recurrence of chronic diseases, respiratory embarrassment, increased tiredness, leg swelling, and rapid heartbeat, even after walking (Muller, p. 194). Besides these effects, it significantly increases your chance of becoming a diabetic because obesity raises difficulties for proper functioning of the pancreatic hormone that helps the body control a blood sugar level (Brethauer, p. 628). Obesity can also cause the blood tension issues that occur due to increasing body burden. Furthermore, obese people often suffer from a pain in their joints because their legs have to bear a heavier weight of the body. What is also extremely dangerous is that an unhealthy lifestyle and careless eating can become the cause of various heart diseases. Thus, obesity significantly increases the odds of dying of a heart attack and I believe that it should become the most conceivable reason for obese people to change their lifestyle before it is too late. It would be wrong to regard obesity as the body condition that does a significant damage only to our physical health. Mental health of the obese person is also likely to deteriorate. Obesity often triggers eating disorders and melancholy, it makes people compare themselves to the present ideals of beauty and feel terrible about it. The link between obesity and a chance to suffer from mental disorders has become even more obvious with the research conducted by the specialists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who observed about two thousand patients suffering from chronic health conditions. According to its results, obese patients constituted the majority of groups of people suffering from clinical depression (Collingwood par.10).
To conclude, obesity is an issue that causes a lot of negative consequences to our physical and mental health. This is why we should never underestimate the importance of taking time-bound measures to prevent the growth of obesity rates. At the same time, it is necessary to realize that it is impossible to save people suffering from obesity unless they understand they want to alter their lives for better.
- Brethauer, Stacy A. “Can Diabetes be Surgically Cured? Long-term Metabolic Effects of Bariatric Surgery in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.” Annals of surgery 258.4 (2013): 628. Print.
- Collingwood J. Obesity and Mental Health. 2016. Web.
- Hassan, Areej. School Nutrition and Activity: Impacts on Well-Being, Oakville: Apple Academic Press, 2015. Print.
- Muller, Manfred James. “Beyond BMI: Conceptual Issues Related to Overweight and Obese Patients.” Obesity Facts 9.3 (2016): 193-205. Print.
- Segal, Laura, Jack Rayburn, and Alejandra Martin. The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, Washington: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016. Print.
- Shah, Nirav and Eric Braverman. “Measuring Adiposity in Patients: The Utility of Body Mass Index (BMI), Percent Body Fat, and Leptin.” PloS One 7.4 (2012): 119-131. Print.