Essay by Viet2kUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

download word file, 6 pages 4.6

The similar characteristics between overweight and obese people often cause misinterpretation of their definitions. According to the Weight-Control Information Network (NIDDK), being overweight means having extra body mass as compared to defined weight standards while obesity refers to having an abnormally high ratio of fat to muscle. Mathematically, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) classifies obesity by using the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart, which calculates the ratio of weight (kg) over height squared (m2). For example, a person is overweight if the ratio is from 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 and obese if the ratio reaches 30 or greater (NIDDK).

Centuries ago, people considered being overweighted attractive because it represented wealth and a good state of health (Bruch 16). In contrast, Americans find being obese unattractive and being slim and fit appealing; this causes numerous diet and weight-loss programs to develop. Although Americans still focus more on appearance, they now recognize obesity as a health hazard with significant consequences.

The NIDDK states, "280,000 adults' deaths in the United States each year are attributable to obesity." Even though obesity causes health problems, it promotes the economy by stimulating the growth of the diet industry.

Americans become obese primarily because of the extra intake of calories and doing little or no exercise. Overtime, the unused energy is stored as fat that lead to excessive weight gain. The stress and tension from modern lifestyles can also cause some individuals to develop eating disorders. In addition, most people tend to view slim and fit bodies as a fashionable preference; therefore, obesity becomes a more serious mental health problem.

Undeveloped countries typically have deadly diseases because most people are not well fed. America, however, has an abundant food supply from fresh groceries in supermarkets to well-prepared dinners in famous restaurants, but many Americans have to...