Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Obesity: A Larger Than Life Problem

        In today's society, the rate of obesity has reached levels that one wouldn't have been able to predict centuries ago; who is to blame for this rapid increase? Fast food? Lack of activity? Technology? or Genetics? None of these factors can individually explain this recent phenomenon, however, components of each contribute to what is becoming an alarming problem.
         Take for example fast food, it is merely impossible to drive 5 miles today without coming across a McDonald's or some other type of fast food joint.  With such consistent luring temptation, how is one supposed to stay true to a steady diet? Especially with the low cost of such fatty, greasy, high caloric food, how is one suppose to say no to a double cheese burger and yes to a salad?  Oh and by the way, keep in mind that the same dollar that is capable of buying you multiple different things on a dollar menu at McDonald's is most likely insufficient to buy you a vegetable, let alone salad dressing to put together a healthy choice of meal.  How is mankind suppose to eat healthy when all the smart economic choices are nudging us toward the direction of unhealthy food?  Going out to eat was once used as a reward of some sort, today, it is used as a substitute for making dinner/lunch, due to the lazy tendencies that we have developed.  With that becoming a normality, how are we suppose to track the amount of calories we consume in a day?
      Another thing to consider is the lack of activity by the people of this generation.  Technological advancement have given mankind a reason to be lazy, and this, believe it or not, affects our health.  Take for example the impact that video games have our children.  The time used to break a little sweat by your son through playing a sport with the neighbor's kid is now being used to sit behind a TV or a computer moving nothing but fingers. The once active american child is now replaced by the social media obsessed kid or the video game junkie.  But how can we blame these kids when the environment in which they live in, due to the many gadgets and social media advancements, have given them no choice but to indulge heavily in such activities?
    The last point I will like to make is in regards to the way a child is raised from birth.  This isn't necessarily genetics, however considering this impact begins at such a young age, it might as well be.  Children these days are introduced to obesogenic tendencies at a very early age.  From the feeding of formula as opposed to breast milk, to the very first meal a child has, many children are taught by parents and other caregivers an eating lifestyle that might ruin their lives for good.  Imagine if as a kid your usual meals consist of happy meals at McDonald's, why wouldn't such become a norm for you upon maturation?  The familiarization that we develop at an early age, with such tendencies, set us up for failure.  With that being said, one can't point a finger to any particular one aspect of life for this outbreak of obesity, however, a combination of all these components play a huge part in elevating the problem to this magnitude today.

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