A Conundrum in America: Obesity

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According to the American Heart Association, 23.9 million children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese. In addition to them, 154.7 million adults are pudgy. That means more than one-third of children and two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight (Pages 1-3). Many Americans know about the high rates of obesity in our country. Michelle Obama, along with several other politicians and health professionals, push for recognition of these facts. They believe too many citizens are overweight and something has to change. The statistics raise several questions and problems, but of these conflicts, which ones are worth solving?
The answer could be buried simply within the way the stats are presented: with a division between adults and adolescents. When it comes to obesity, a major problem is figuring out who should be focused on. Should America focus on ending obesity within children, adults, or both?
One thing that obese people must put up with is being unhealthy, not just physically unhealthy, but mentally unhealthy as well. This unfortunate reality is present in all ages. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute did research on the health risks of being overweight and obese. They discovered that in adults, the health risks of being overweight include, but are not limited to, “coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, type two diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, sleep apnea, gallstones, and reproductive problems.” Overweight children, on the other hand, are less prone to these health conditions unless they remain heavy through adulthood. Since obese or overweight kids are very likely to stay that way over time, in the end they may be subject to the same health problems as corpulent adults (1). Moving on...

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Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director. Causes and Risks for Obesity. 1August 2012. Medline Plus. 6 December 2013. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000383.htm
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