Term Paper: Causes of Obesity Recent Attention

Pages: 4 (1428 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Medical - Epidemiology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Many companies use characters that children adore, such as SpongeBob and Teletubbies to market their products. This fact may appear harmless on the surface, but children are more likely to make "unhealthy choices" when it comes to food. To make matters worse, the studies also reported that parents often feed their children, some as young as six months old, junk food. This statement is shocking but it helps us understand how such a lifestyle can be taught.

Education that begins with parents is the first step to solving the obesity problem. According to Samantha Heller, senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center in New York City, parents are responsible for obesity in children. "Children's taste preferences begin to be developed at very young ages, between two and three" (AJC). She also suggests that parents keep children away from television sets as much as they can. This action is twofold -- it allows children to find other things to do and it keeps them from being exposed to constant advertising. Knowing that bad eating habits can be taught and marketing techniques works against a healthy diet and active lifestyle, it becomes clear that solving the obesity problem starts at an early age, in the home.

The Internet is also a cause for the growing problem of obesity. The same Kaiser report quotes Vicky Rideout, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, who believes that some food companies are developing web sites especially for children. Rideout calls such sites "advergames," in which children can play games "about candy and other unhealthy food" (Rideout qtd. In AJC). These sites can attract approximately 800,000 children a month, according to Nielson ratings. It should come as no surprise that children grow up eating a poor diet their entire lives. Similarly, it should surprise no one when the same children do not engage in physical activity or even know that it is necessary for optimal health.

Many individuals would like to blame their genetics for their obesity. The Detroit News reports that it is common to believe such an idea. But the articles quotes Dr. Claude Bouchard, an obesity geneticist, who has states that "genes play only a modest role in the problem of obesity in the United States" (Detroit News). In fact, the article reports that less than ten percent of American adults exercise regularly and almost sixty percent of Americans live sedentary lives. To compound the situation, the time spent watching television contributes to sedentary lifestyles and "appears to have drained our will and capacity for physical activity" (Detroit News). The article also claims that obesity is more prevalent in Americans who watch 21 or more hours of television in a week. (Detroit News) Additionally, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported in 2003 that the numbers of those who were obese jumped from 19% to almost 21% between 2000 and 2001. (CDC) These statistics certainly indicate the United States has an ever-increasing problem with obesity that cannot be directly related to genetics.

In conclusion, obesity can be a chronic condition that is life-threatening if no measures are taken to solve the problem. Unfortunately, the problem for fighting fat means some amount of work, which is something this country has spent years working away from. While moving toward an easier life, we seem to have crossed an invisible line where easy meets deadly. Marketing techniques do not seem to be working in favor of the physically fit American. With this fact, obesity must be faced and fought on an individual level through education and old-fashioned sweat.

Works Cited

Ads Add Pound to Our Kids." Atlanta Journal-Constitution Online. http://www.ajc.com/health/content/sharedauto/healthnews/kids/517629.html. February 26, 2004. Site Accessed February 27, 2004.

America the Unhealthy." CBS News Online. February 26, 2004. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/02/26/health/main602417.shtml. Site Accessed February 27, 2004.

Shinn, Eileen and Poston, Carlos. "Why We Are Overweight." Detroit News. http://detroitnews.healthology.com/focus_article.asp?f=beyond_dieting&c=envsgenes

Site Accessed February 27, 2004.

Obesity and Diabetes Prevalence Among U.S. Adults." Center for Disease Control Online. 2001. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/obesity_diabetes_characteristics.htm. Site Accessed February 27, 2004.

The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity." Surgeon General Online. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity/calltoaction/message.htm. Site Accessed February 27, 2004. [END OF PREVIEW]

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