Obesity: A Growing Problem

Essay by Danshai April 2007

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Obesity is a growing problem in our country. According to The Weight of It, the average American woman is five feet four inches and 140 pounds. The United States, however, has the highest rates of obesity in the world. 64.4 percent of Americans are overweight, and 31 percent are morbidly obese. In the 1960s, 7 percent of children were obese; by the 1990s, it was 15 percent. The U.S. produces three times more food than the U.S. eats, and the average American eats 135 pounds of fat a year. But what exactly is obesity?According to Wikipedia, obesity is a condition in which the energy reserve, or fat, is increased so much as to cause health problems. Obesity is caused when the intake of energy is more than the body uses. It can be caused by factors such as medication, a high glycemic diet, weight cycling, or insufficient sleep. It can also be hereditary.

Interestingly enough, in Nigeria obese women are considered beautiful. However, what risks are attached to being obese, and how is it determined?Obese people are about half as healthy as thin ones, and have a high risk of many diseases such as diabetes. Obesity is often diagnosed by measuring BMI, or Body Mass Index, which is calculated by dividing weight by the square of the height. Another common way is to find the percent of body fat, which is often tested by being weighed underwater. Wikipedia states that, 9.1 percent of all medical expenses are attributed to obesity, which is about 78.5 billion dollars annually. Also, extra weight of obese passengers cost airlines about 275,000,000 dollars a year. Airlines are also being pressured to increase the seating width to accommodate for its larger passengers.

The U.S., however, is taking measures to prevent obesity. In 2004, the U.S.