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The number of obese people throughout the United States is increasing at a rapid rate. It would be hard not to agree that an increasing number of fast food restaurants have played a role in driving up the number of obese people. The convenience of these restaurants is all too hard for people to resist. And as workloads increase due to staffing cuts at many companies, the time available to sit down at a restaurant, order food, wait for the food and then eat it, is not a reality for many people. People don’t even have to get out of their cars to munch on a fatty burger and French fries, for example. What’s worse is that people are designed to store fat. Back when people were hunters and gatherers they needed every gram of fat they could put on their body. These ancestors had to do much more than drive to the nearest McDonald’s and order a supersized combo of fatty food. Without needing to leave their feet, this fat is stored right onto the body. In order to fight the obesity epidemic, people need to find some level of willpower to overcome the temptations, and this starts in childhood.

In the last 30 years, the rate of obese people throughout the United States has skyrocketed. In Jane E. Brody’s New York Times article, “Attacking the Obesity Epidemic by First Figuring Out Its Cause,” she says that individuals aren’t to blame. That the problem is societal and the root cause needs to be addressed to get people to shape up. “Many environmental forces, from economic interests of the food and beverage industries to the way our cities and town are built, have conspired to subvert the body’s natural ability to match calories in with calories out,” (par. 2). In order to change this trend, Brody implied, obesity needs to be treated like a health hazard similar to smoking, for example.

While there is an increasing culture that leans towards lifestyles that make them obese, it is still shocking to see that over one-third of Americans are ignoring the warnings and are eating themselves to obesity. Another third are considered overweight. It isn’t just the visual impact of being obese that would make someone want to choose vegetables over burgers, crackers over chips and water over pop, it’s also because there are many health factors that should be considered. For example, obesity can lead people to have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cancer, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease and respiratory disorders. The risk of contracting one or more of these are even higher when the weight is focused around the waist. The problem isn’t confined to the lifestyle habits of adults. More and more parents are allowing their children to become obese. In fact, the National Institutes of Health say 25 per cent of American children are considered overweight or obese.

But the problem gets worse for the obese children. The health risks for the young ones is worse than what was anticipated. While many people blame the parents of obese children for causing the kids to be overweight, experts in the field say it isn’t their fault. The BBC New Magazine article “Childhood Obesity: 10 of Your Stories,” reported: “Causes range from a lack of education about food, limited cooking skills and limited money to buy healthier food to longer working hours and marketing campaigns for junk food aimed at kids,” (par.3). However, this point seems to lay too little blame on the parents. This says marketing campaigns for junk food that is targeting kids is causes the parents to somehow lose control and seek out these fatty food. It should be pointed out that these providers of fatty foods aren’t holding a gun to the parents’ heads. They shouldn’t be held responsible for these parents’ lack of willpower. It is up to every parent to become educated on the hazards of fatty foods. And when their child looks overweight, there might be some common-sense warning signs that a cheeseburger and fries probably isn’t the best idea.

In order to buck the trend of cheeseburgers, French fries and TV, people are going to have to find some willpower. People seem to automatically look to do whatever is easiest and, unfortunately, the easiest things in life aren’t healthy. It is extremely rare that fast food will meet healthy requirements, and there is no way to relax and exercise at the same time. While regulating food providers to meet certain health requirements is an option to overcome the obesity epidemic, it shouldn’t get to that point. Individuals need to do what is necessary to ensure that they live a healthy life. Obesity does put strains on the health care system, as countless people with clogged arteries line up for surgery. But regulating the food that is sold to people would also come with a price tag. The key is to develop healthy habits in children from a young age. This means parents need to do their part to ensure their children are informed of the health risks related to eating poor-quality food and not exercising enough. When children get into the bad habit of eating and not exercising, that will travel with them throughout life and cause them to have greater health problems that could have been prevented if they developed healthy habits early in life.

Brody, Jane. “Attacking the Obesity Epidemic by First Figuring Out Its Cause.” The New York 
Times. 12, Sept. 2011. Web. 2 Nov. 2012.

Cutler, David. et al. “Why have American Become More Obese?” Journal of economic 
Perspectives. 2003. Web. 2 Nov. 2012.

Ehrlich, Steven. “Obesity.” University of Maryland Medical Center. 2011. Web. 5 Nov. 2012

Childhood Obesity: 10 of Your Stories.” BBC News Magazine. 2 Oct. 2012. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.

Winterman, Denise. “Child Obesity: Why do Parents Let their Kids Get Fat?” BBC News 
Magazine. 25 Sept. 2012. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.

Healy, Melissa. “Study Finds Exercise Adds to Life Expectancy.” Los Angeles Times. 7 Nov.
2012. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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