What is Making America Fat?


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Today, more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and this number is only increasing. With the way these statistics are heading, there is only one question to ask – what is making America fat?

It is no secret Americans love their fast food. It is quick, easy, and affordable, well for the greasy, dollar-menu food it is. While these places are practical for on-the-go scenarios, they are not practical for the nutrition of the people. Most places offer healthier alternatives to their traditional menu options, but they are almost always overpriced. In a survey conducted with the students of Northeast High School, more than 89% of them agreed that healthy food is overpriced. Researchers at the University of Washington were able to put this into more detail. They found that on average, energy-dense foods cost $1.76 per 1,000 calories, compared with $18.16 per 1,000 calories for more nutritional food. These prices are also expected to keep increasing, seeing that over their two-year study period, the price of this food increased by 19.5%. This explains why higher rates of obesity are found in people in lower-income groups.

Another study, from Stanford University School of Medicine, suggests that while higher-calorie intake plays a part in America’s obesity epidemic, the real cause may be lack of exercise among Americans. Dr. Uri Ladabaum, a professor of gastroenterology at Stanford Medical School, said, “We wouldn’t say that calories don’t count, but the main takeaway is that we have to look very carefully at physical activity. The problem is not all in the intake of calories.” These researchers report a high correlation between the rise in obesity and a drop in the amount of time Americans spend exercising over the last 22 years. According to an article written by Deborah Netburn, contact reporter for the Los Angeles Times, “The researchers found that from 1988 to 2010, the percentage of adults who reported doing no exercise in their free time grew dramatically from 19% to 52% in women, and from 11% to 43% in men.” She continued her point by stating, “At the same time, the researchers found that the prevalence of obesity increased from 25% to 35% in women, and from 20% to 35% in men.” With these facts, there is no denying that Americans’ lack of exercise is playing a major role in the collective weight gain in America.

It’s also important to ask – is technology the real monster here? It is coming for the children of this country more intensely than ever before. Yes, it is easy to keep kids preoccupied if there is a screen in front of their face, but there is no doubt this in instilling a new kind of laziness in children across the nation. The American Academy of Pediatrics has estimated that the average child spends upwards of seven hours watching television, browsing the internet and playing video games each day. As children spend more time sitting in front of the computer, they spend less time outside running around and burning off calories. Over time, with the help of an increase in calorie intake, this can lead to severe weight gain. Knowing American obesity is only increasing, it is important to help prevent kids from following in these footsteps, since they are the future of America.

There are so many reasons as to why America is one of the most obese countries in the world. With the combined effort of overpriced, nutritional food, lack of exercise, and an increase in the use of technology, there is no doubt that America is heading in a long, downward spiral. Hopefully with this knowledge, people will begin to see the importance in planning ahead and taking care of oneself for the future.

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