Obesity In America: Purge the Fat

According to statistics from the Center of Disease and Control (2013), over 35.7% of Americans are obese. The most obvious of causes for such a huge amount of fat derives from terrible eating habits and lack of physical activity. These issues occur due to the direction of American culture. With America undergoing an era of recession, many people have relied on welfare and lost their sense of hope, which in has led them to being inactive at home.  The activities that follow come from another aspect of America’s culture, electronic media. People are less motivated to exercise, when TV and surfing the Internet has been such a bubble of comfort. Organic foods are a healthy, but expensive commodity in America. Many Americans can’t afford to purchase such material, so they have to rely on the abundant diversity of fast food and microwaveable dinners.

One may ask, why should we care about the obese population and lifestyle? Obesity is covered with statistics of fatality and disease. 18% of American deaths from 1986 to 2006 are caused by obese symptoms to adults between the ages of 40 and 75 (Masters, Reither, Powers, Yang, Burger & Link, 2013, pp.1900).  Although there has been no recent statistics, Masters and his co-writers assure (2013, pp.1900) that goals made in retaliation to such alarming results have not been met, which means obesity is still a current issue for American fatality.  Even for those that live and breathe, obesity has been a major hindrance in lifestyle as the obese lack motor skills to move around, which restricts them to wheel chairs. On top of this fact, the issue of immobility has given family members the burden of constantly tending to an obese person’s needs.

From the recent statistics and facts mentioned previously, it is clear that methods to tackle American obesity has not been effective. Americans lack the ability to purge obesity, so a change must occur in three of America’s institutions.

The first institutions worth changing are American schools. 18% of America’s children from the ages of six to eleven are obese. Another 18% of America’s teenagers from the ages of twelve to nineteen are also obese (CDC Adolescent, 2013). The best way to stop a cancer is to attack at its early stages. For future generations, it is the duty of the American education system to not only focus on a student’s academics, but their health also. Schools will need to change their physical education system in order to help limit obesity. Firstly controlled study in UK shows that playgrounds with designs that promote active games bring a 20% long-term improvement in physical activity (Sallis&Glanz, 2009, p. 130). With such a positive result, the US Government should put more investment into improving elementary school playgrounds. Secondly, schools will need to bribe their students into being more physically active. Recently Michelle Obama has developed the Presidential Youth Fitness Test, a school-program that promotes healthy physical activity without intimidating students away due to the hierarchy of competitiveness. The new program will be enforced in 25% of American schools by 2013 and 90% by 2018 (Obama, n.d.). Even though the Presidential Youth Fitness Test is an inspiring idea, it’s voluntary aspect doesn’t give students the incentive to free their extracurricular time. To out of shape students that get low marks in their compulsory physical education classes, applying extra credit to the Presidential Youth Fitness will be a good leverage of motivation.

The second institutions that will need changing are restaurants. According to J.F. Sallis and K. Glanz (2009), writers of the Milbank Quarterly, the amount of food consumed outside of households have increased in America. They believed that the growing reliance on consuming in restaurants has had a negative effect on the American diet as people have consumed more calories and fat, while lacking on fruits, vegetable and fiber. To limit nutritional issues present, restaurants must first regard the health of America’s youth as a major priority. Menus for children should be based on low calories and less sugar. Such a change won’t damage a restaurant customer base, as parents will want their children to eat healthy. Secondly, researchers believe that restaurants can tackle obesity more effectively by improving calorie listings and providing “health options” online. Their studies have shown that this method has been more efficient than simply providing the details on menus in restaurants, as people need to plan their diet before entering restaurant doors (Whiteman, 2013).

The final institution worth noting is the American Government. No other institution can be affecting the issue of obesity better than the system that has the power to control the whole country. The government can implement two policies in order to limit the issue of obesity. First of all, the government should change its agricultural priority. According to Aaron Sankin (2013), a writer of Huffington Post Canada, the government has invested $50 million of it’s capital into agricultural crops that promote negative effects on nutrition (Corn, Soy, Wheat). These crops have been a contributor for fattening additives and feeding cattle. The lack of financial emphasis on healthy fruits and vegetables have risen their prices in the market, which in turn makes people less inclined to purchase them. Therefore if the government wants the public to purchase healthier goods, then they need to invest in healthier crops. Secondly, the government could kill two birds with one stone by hosting charity walkathons. By creating such an event, the government can encourage communities to become more active and thus create a cultural change against inactivity. The sponsorships from these events can be put into building facilities that can further emphasize physical activity or tackle issues of nutrition.

America has been known as a land of opportunity and change. If brave selfless leaders from these institutions can spark the flare by implementing these opportunistic solutions against obesity, then America can change back into a healthy and active nation.