Professor BerresheimEnglish 1020
27 April 2018
It Is Not What It Seems
Quinn and Jacob are best friends who are also the best wrestlers in their high school district. They are the only two boys to be considered undefeated. Every wrestler at their small high school looks up to Quinn and Jacob. A wrestler is required to maintain a certain weight throughout their season which may lead a wrestler to stop eating for a few days or to layer themselves in clothing and run laps around a gym. This, however, is not a problem for Quinn. The boys had just won first and second place at their state’s wrestling tournament. While receiving their awards, the only thing Quinn could focus on was the sound of his rumbling stomach. his mind began wandering to a place a wrestling coach would never want a wrestler’s mind to wander to. A place that is filled with juicy burgers and salty fries. A place where drinks can be replaced with tasty, sugar-filled milkshakes. This place is a commonly known fast-food restaurant with the name of Sonic. After receiving the awards, Quinn has an idea to stop his stomach rumbles by dining at a nearby Sonic to celebrate with Jacob. Jacob thinks Quinn’s idea is not a very smart one. Jacob knows Quinn has wrestling try-outs for college the next day and has also had fast-food the past two days. He fails to convince Quinn to not go to sonic and then they part their ways for the night. The next afternoon, Quinn calls Jacob with exciting news. With his strength and energy, Quinn has made it onto the college’s wrestling team. Jacob is surprised Quinn was able to maintain his weight and have the energy after consuming fast-food for three days straight. He congratulates Quinn with a confused tone and hangs up.
Obesity has become a major problem in the United States. The way people are living their lives with the unhealthy fat can bring health issues such as diabetes, blood pressure problems, and cardiovascular disease. The causes for obesity ranges from the consumption of fast-food to the way Americans live their lives. Obesity can be avoided; however, some people do not know the risks they take every day. Some people also do not know that their jobs, dinner choices, and hobbies can be risks for the unhealthy weight gain. Through university studies on Americans, the weight of people can be affected by nutrition intake and the amount of physical activity in their daily lives.
Obesity is when a person’s BMI level is higher than a normal and healthy person’s BMI level. According to the NIDDK, or National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one in three adults ages twenty and up and one in six children ages two through nineteen are obese. This is calculated by finding a person’s BMI level, which is the person’s weight in kilograms divided by the person’s height in meters and comparing it to a normal person’s level. A healthy BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9. A person is obese when their BMI is 30 or higher (“Overweight and Obesity Statistics”). About 34 percent of adults and 19 percent of children have BMIs higher than 30 and are considered to have obesity (Muntel). People now blame certain types of food for their high BMI levels.
Weight gain is not always caused by the increase of fat in a person. A person could simply gain weight by exercising for long periods of time multiple times a week. The weight is muscle gain. I person lifting weights will burn the fat around their arms while building up their muscles. When people do leg workouts, they do the same thing that is done to the arms. When people do abdomen workouts, they are tightening their muscles which could eventually result in muscle growth. While a person is running, the are the burning the fats off multiple places in their body. Even though people are burning their body fat, they usually do not lose or gain any pounds for a while. Since the weight can also be just muscles, the BMI levels are not always correct for the more active people. A person could be considered obese even when they have a tight stomach, big arms, and small waist.
It is common for children who have at least one overweight parent to be overweight also. This is because of genetics. A hormone called leptin has the role in a person’s body to alert the brain when a person is full. When the leptin level is low, a person eats more which can lead to obesity (Balentine). Leptin is created by the fat in people’s bodies. The more fat a person has, the higher their leptin level is. This may make this hormone seem bad for a person, but this is an important hormone. When the leptin level becomes too high, a person’s body becomes immune to the hormone meaning the body is basically never full and continues to eat causing a person to gain more weight (Wilcox). Therefore, when the brain tells a person it is full, the person should not force themselves to continue eating.
The blame for the United State’s high obesity rate is the consumption of fast-food. There are over 300,000 fast-food establishments in the United States. With their convenient locations, cheap prices, and drive-thru windows, fats-food is chosen daily by one in four Americans for dinner or for a snack when one is hungry (“11 Facts About American Eating Habits”). Eating a meal from a fast-food restaurant every day can cause problems to a person’s health:
These foods are highly processed, full of fat, calories and sodium. You could easily take in 1,500 calories from just one meal alone. Keep in mind that a general caloric recommendation for Americans is 1500-1800 calories per day and around 50-60 grams of total fat. Choosing a typical fast-food meal every day can lead to increased calories which can lead to weight gain and can lead to other health conditions like heart disease. (Muntel)
Most Americans are overworked with their jobs, children’s activities, or other time-taking events. Fast-food restaurants provide these people with a quick and easy way to provide food for themselves and others. Families who eat fast-food more than once a week are consuming more calories than considered healthy. Fast-food restaurants also offer treats such as milkshakes or sugary coffees that Americans can not resist that add more calories to their overall meals. The number of calories intakes through fast-food can be bad for someone’s health, however, the cause for weight gain can be more complicated.
The consumption of fast-food is not the lead role in a person’s weight gain. The amount of food a person eats per meal can be a cause for obesity. A person can eat fast-food five days a week but can still be considered healthy or underweight. For a person to be able to do this, they must limit the amounts of food they intake. According to David Just, co-director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, “Junk foods like soda, potato chips, candy, fast-foods, those are foods that can make us fat if we eat them to excess” (Hologan). Just and his colleague Brian Wansink investigated a survey of 5,000 people called NHanes, after examining the people’s BMI levels, the results showed that the people considered to have a healthy weight consumed just as much fast-food as people who are considered to have obesity (Welch). For people to enjoy fast-food daily, they may also have to change the types of food they eat. A person could choose a grilled chicken sandwich over a crispy chicken sandwich or a grilled chicken wrap over a crispy one. If a person is wanting something sweet, they could choose a fruit parfait instead of a fruit filled pie. Instead of a calorie filled coffee, a person would do better drinking a coffee black or using low fat, artificial sugar. These alternatives can help keep people away from gaining weight in result to the consumption of fast food. Although portion control is a key to losing weight, there are other issues in the United States that cause weight gain.
The lack of money in families can be a cause for obesity. 46 million people in the United States are living in poverty and have the greatest percentage for obesity (Levine). The reason the more poverty-dense counties have higher rates for obesity is because the counties are impoverished and lack a supply of fresh foods. When a person is not able to consume the fresh foods needed to stay healthy, they are forced to consume more of the unhealthy junk foods which can lead to weight gain. Fresh foods may also be costly for some households to obtain.
Households who live in poverty can be food insecure meaning they are unable to acquire sufficient foods. 43 percent of households that live in poverty is unable to purchase sufficient foods (Levine). Grocery stores in the United States have higher prices on their healthy and fresh foods than they do on their junk foods that are high in calories and low in vitamins. When poor households shop for food, they are unable to afford the healthy foods so instead they go for the unhealthy foods. When people eat unhealthy foods daily, they tend to gain more weight than the people who eat healthy foods daily. People living in poverty-dense areas may not be able to have access to grocery stores to purchase any food in general. The stores do not have enough business to stay open when they are in the poor areas, therefore people must travel a distance to purchase food. This can be a problem if a person can not afford transportation. Without the access to food, this leaves families with little or no food causing them to be hungry. This also causes the leptin levels in their bodies to decrease so when the person finally eats a big enough meal, they gain weight. To add to the issues brought to poverty-dense households, people may not be able to get as much exercise needed to stay active and healthy.
Poverty could be an issue to some families when it comes to exercise. Individuals who live in poverty are less active than the higher income people by about two hours which makes them more prone to being obese. The poverty-dense areas are tracked with violence causing people to fear going outside to be active, therefore, not many poor people spend time at parks and gyms. Also, people living in poverty may not ne able to afford gym memberships or appropriate clothing for exercise (Levine). Teens and adults are required to work to be able to afford what they need to live. Many jobs may require a person to sit at a desk for hours every day without any form pf physical activity. These overworked people are prone to obesity because of their lack of daily activity. These people may be too exhausted after a day of work to go home and exercise or to go to a gym. The physical inactivity can cause a person to have more “white fat” than “brown fat”. “Brown fat” is a fat that works well with a person’s metabolism keeping that person at a healthy weight. “White fat”, however, does not work well with a person’s metabolism, but with the correct amount of exercise, “white fat” can be transformed into “brown fat” (Farmer). It just takes exercise to transform the bad fat into the better.
Technology plays a role in the cause for weight gain. As technology advances, the obesity rate caused by technology increases. Technology that can lead to obesity can include electronics such as cell phones, game consoles, televisions, computers, MP3s, and etc. Electronics are used greatly by children:
Many parents use technology as a way to keep their children occupied while they are busy working, shopping, driving, etc. the American academy of pediatrics states that children spend an average of 7 hours per day watching TV, playing video games and using the internet. The maximum recommended time per day is one or two hours. (Farmer)
Although electronic devices are popular with children, it is also popular with adults. Most adults with office jobs spend their work days in front of computer screens. With working about 40 or more hours a week and working around their children’s schedules, adults find it difficult to be physically active. It is found after studies done by researchers that not being physically active for extended periods of time can have negative effects to health and cause weight gain (Farmer). There are ways to prevent weight gain for busy overworked people and screen-attached children.
Teenagers in school can be at a higher risk for obesity. School is a requirement by law for every person to attend as soon as they turn a certain age until they are finished with the twelfth grade. Because school is a requirement, students are not able to receive the daily physical activity needed to stay healthy. In most schools around the United States, once a student reaches middle school, or junior high, they lose their chance to exercise during what is known as recess, which is when elementary schoolers usually run around a playground for at least thirty minutes. It is commonly known for the teenaged students to be required to sit in classrooms for seven to eight hours straight with only a five-minute break every ninety minutes. This is not enough physical activity for a teenager’s day. Along with being stuck in classrooms, teenaged students are required to go to their homes and spend thirty minutes to hours working on more school work. Some students have after-school jobs meaning no time to exercise at home or go to a gym and results in the students staying up late finishing their school work. This also results in a lack of physical activity. After spending this much time on school work, the students are exhausted and choose to spend the rest of their days in front of a screen or sleeping.
Obesity can be a serious issue in the United States. The weight gain of people can be caused by the lack of nutrition intake and the amount of physical activity, but there are ways to prevent people from becoming obese. Portion control is a big prevention when it comes to what people eat. People can plan their meals ahead and cook food from their homes to help track the amounts being eaten (Amidor). When a person eats at a fast-food restaurant, they can keep their meals small and drink a water. People could also split their meals with someone else or save it for another meal at another time (Muntel). The top wrestler, Quinn, was able to eat fast-food for three consecutive days without gaining any weight because he controlled the sizes of his meals. He drank water and ate junior sized burgers with small sides. He also was able to do this without gaining weight because he remained active. Staying physically active can result in a less chance of gaining weight. The parents who work 40 or more hours in an office can stay active by standing up every ten minutes, which is more effective than taking a walk (Mercola). Someone who works in an office can also organize it in a way that requires more movement to complete a task. There are also solutions to children whose technology causes weight gain. Parents can enforce time restraints for when a device can be in use. Parents can also take their children to parks and play with them which can build a bond and allow their children to be active (Farmer). These preventions for weight gain can help the issue if adults and children take appropriate actions.