Root Cause of Obesity Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Causes of Obesity

Recent attention has been given to the growing number of obese Americans. In a nation notorious for technological advancements, the American population is also becoming popular for its growing girth. The primary cause of obesity in America can be traced to the evolution of technology. Everything we have invented to make our lives easier has also made us lazier. With the invention of vehicles, we stopped walking so much. Individuals prefer to stay indoors and watch television rather than go outside. Fast food is often selected over preparing meals in the kitchen strictly because of the convenience it provides. In fact, our technological advancements have made it possible to never leave the house for days. Considering these factors, it is no wonder that Americans are becoming fatter and unhealthy. While many would like to blame their "genes" for this condition, it appears that obesity is a condition that is learned over years rather than inherited. Parents who have bad eating and exercising habits cannot help but teach their children the same habits.

Many surprising reports point to the fact that obesity in America comes from the very advancements for which we are so proud. To find the cause of the problem, we may not need to look any further than our own homes. In fact, the United States Surgeon General supports this notion. Their web site states that despite "unprecedented improvements in the lives of the people of our country," (Surgeon General) the problem of obesity is considered a new health challenges. Additionally, the site reports, "Our modern environment has allowed these conditions to increase at alarming rates and become highly pressing health problems for our Nation" (Surgeon General). This information reinforces the fact that easier may not always mean better.

CBS News reports a survey conducted by the American Center for Disease Control, which claims, that Americans "are faced with a constant barrage of advertising on television about fast food. We live in a world where we are encouraged to drive more and walk less and spend more time in front of our televisions" (CBS). The articles quotes Frank Hu, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, as saying, "This trend has been happening in the past decade and it looks like this still continues... It strikes me that physical inactivity and obesity continue to be the most important public health challenges in this country" (CBS). This is shocking indeed. In a country that takes so much prides in its achievements, America seems to be missing the point when it comes to obesity.

An article published in the Detroit News also covered reasons why Americans are becoming more obese. The article states that "Many experts instead believe that the high rate of overweight and obese Americans is due to environmental factors" (Detroit News). In addition, the article reports that Dr. Boyd Eaton asserts that "the problem of obesity in America is a natural result of the mismatch between the modern lifestyle of convenience, versus the lifestyle for which humans evolved. In other words, while modern technological advances have provided us with labor-saving devices and abundant food supplies, our bodies are still adapted to more primitive times when food was in shorter supply and physical activity demands were greater" (Detroit News). This idea makes sense when we stop and consider how we have evolved. Striving to make things more convenient generally means making things easier. We may feel like we are working more, but no one can argue that most Americans have physically intensive jobs.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of this kind of lifestyle is the fact that it can be passed on for generations. The Atlantic Journal Constitution reports that to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the "proportion of children aged six to 11 who are overweight has more than doubled since 1980. During the same time period, the rate for adolescents has tripled. (AJC) Additionally, obesity in America is beginning at an early age -- in front of the television. The article refers to a Kaiser report that indicates that the average "American child is bombarded with about 40,000 ads a year on television alone. The majority of ads targeted to children are for candy, cereal, soda and…

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