The Obesity Epidemic Essay

The Obesity Epidemic Essay

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Obesity has become increasingly more prominent in American society. The Unites States has even been termed an overweight nation. Some twenty to thirty percent of American adults are now considered obese (Hwang 1999 and Hirsch et al 1997). With this in mind, Americans constantly look around themselves determining their weight status as well as that of those around them. While some Americans do fit the healthy category, others enter the underweight, overweight, and even obese categories, all of which can be unhealthy.

     Obesity can be termed deviant for a variety of reasons. Not only is it unhealthy, but it is also a widely unaccepted behavior in US society. The obese are labeled “…obscene, lazy, slothful, and gluttonous” (Adler and Adler 2000). People are ostracized, often never to regain full societal acceptance. According to Hammarlund et al (1998) prevention is necessary to decrease prevalence of obesity because few adults who actually do lose weight are able to keep it off.

Obesity is attributable to many factors, nature and nurture included. Some individuals are inclined to blame the obese individual for his or her health status. Still others blame the heredity and/or ethnicity of the person. Many place the blame on more environmental sources. These might include, but are not limited to, education level, peer group, and scocio-economic factors. The American Medical Association identifies genetic, environmental, and psychological influences on obesity (Hwang 1999).

According to the American Medical Association, being obese means that 30% of your ideal body weight is constituted by fat. As a general idea, the American Dietetic Association provides these thresholds for obese weight. Certain stipulations, such as muscle content and build would alter the given thresholds.

In Feet and Inches               In Pounds
5’                         153
5’3                         169
5’6                         186
5’9                         203
6’                         221
6’3                         240     

Obesity occurs when a person has a greater caloric intake than he or she burns during that day (Hwang 1999). David F. Williamson of The New England Journal of Medicine (1999) states that doctors need to encourage greater weight loss in obese patients due to the fact “…that obese people are twice as likely to die from any cause as ...


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... United States.” Journal of the American Medical Association 282 October 13, 1999: 1316.

Arslanian, Sylvia A.; Danadien, Kapriel; Lewy, Vered. “Risk of Obesity in African-
American Children: Nature or Nurture?” 48 Diabetes May 1999: 310.

Barciulli, Elsabetta; Cabrias, Pierre Luigi; Di Bernardo, Milena; Manucci, Edoardo; Ricca, Valdo; Rotella, Carlo Maria; Travaglini, Rossana. “Quality of Life and Overweight: The obesity related well being (ORWELL 97) questionnaire.” Addictive Behaviors May-June 1999: 345.

Hammarlund, Virginia A.; Kendrick, Olivia W.; Stinett, Nick; Stitt, Kathleen R.; Wilkins, Stephanie C. “Family functioning is related to overweight in children.” 98 Journal of the American Dietetic Association May 1998 572-574.

Hirsch, Jules; Leibel, Rudolph L.; Rosenbaum, Michael. “Obesity.” The New England Journal of Medicine August 7, 1997. 396-407.

Hwang, Mi Young. “Are you obese?” The Journal of the American Medical Association October 27, 1999 1596.

Wardlaw, Gordon M. Contemporary Nutrition. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2000.

Williamson, David F. “The prevention of obesity.” The New England Journal of Medicine October 7, 1999 140-141.

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