The Obesity Epidemic in America

Hook: Rodeny had a difficult period during his middle school years as a result of being obese. He found it difficult to fit in since the other students were making fun of his body size. Thoughts of committing suicide were quite rampant due to this situation.

Background info: Obesity is an epidemic that has detrimental effects in America. More than a third (34.95%) of the country’s population is obese (Ogden et al. 206). This aspect is a big risk to the health matters due to the negative implications involved. People suffering from the obesity epidemic are likely to encounter various diseases such as cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These medical conditions involve a lot of suffering on the patients and their families. A lot of funds are used in the attempt of trying to get rid of the diseases without avail. Currently, more than $190 billion is being spent on obesity-related health care every year. This accounts for more than 20% of America’s health care costs (Salinsky and Wakina 11). If obesity rates were low, such an amount would be used in bringing about development in other areas.

Thesis: The government, families, and fast food companies are to blame for the America’s obesity problem.

Claim 1: The government is not putting sufficient effort to prevent the increase of obesity rates.

Evidence: The fast food industry is very profitable hence the government benefits by way of taxes being levied on the companies involved. Some government officials also have a conflict of interest since some of these companies contributed to their political campaigns in one way or another. These aspects make it difficult for the government to eradicate fast food companies, which are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.

The government has also failed in reclaiming food deserts. There are parts of America where getting access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and other healthy whole foods is a problem. This is due to lack of farmers’ stores, grocery stores and healthy food providers (Ahima and Lazar 56). As a result, people in these areas turn to unhealthy foods due to their availability. The government should take the initiative of ensuring food deserts have been eliminated in order to curb the obesity crisis. It should provide the appropriate infrastructure and amenities to supplement the process.

The government has also become silent on unethical practices being spearheaded by fast food companies. The companies exercise false advertising to children, who don’t have the ability to substantiate the information being disseminated. It is upon the government through relevant departments to ensure that various foods related advertisements have been controlled.

Claim 2: Fast food companies do not have the best interest of Americans at heart with regards to their health conditions.

Evidence: Most of the fast food companies use a lot of advertisements to target children. The children involved here are not aware of the detrimental effects associated with these products. They are intrigued by the advertisements and become eager to try out the products. The moment they start to consume the products at an early age, their probability of being obese increases significantly.

Individuals involved with fast food companies are aware of the negative effects of the food they prepare, but this does not deter them from proceeding with their business.  Ingredients used in the preparation of the food are usually not healthy. They contain more saturated fat, energy, total fat, added sugars and carbohydrates compared to other healthier foods (Akinbami and Ogden 575). Most of these ingredients tend to be addictive. People that consume this type of food will keep coming back for more due to the cravings. This is likely to trigger obesity prospects if the people involved do not participate in any physical activities.

Claim 3: Families are not providing children with sufficient information on how to live healthily.

Evidence: Some parents are just negligent while others are lazy. To them, cooking healthy food for their children is a responsibility that they deem tiresome. Instead of preparing healthy food, they just order fast food due to the convenience. The children will be hooked to this habit entirely. It will be become difficult for them to substitute this type of food in order to consume other healthy products like vegetables. They are already used to this taste in their mouth hence anything else will not be fulfilling. These types of parents are only preparing their children for the obesity epidemic. Regardless of how busy one can be, it is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children on healthy eating habits. This is because they are a major role model and the children usually look up to them (Salinsky and Wakina 17).

Families are also not encouraging children to get involved with physical activities. This would entail indulging in various sports activities from time to time. Parents just allow their children to lazy around the house while playing video games the whole day. With time, addiction to these games creeps in, and it becomes the only activity that they can indulge in. This aspect coupled with unhealthy eating habits will result to obesity. Parents ought to encourage their children to get involved in various physical activities for the sake of their lives. It is not likely that the children will get involved without having someone to push them.

Thesis Restatement:

Fast food companies, families and the government ought to take the responsibility of the obesity epidemic due to their actions and inactions.

Restating the 3 main claims:

  1. The government is turning a blind eye to some aspects of obesity due to the conflict of interest involved.
  2. Fast food companies are not necessarily interested in the healthy living of the American population.
  3. Families are not taking the initiative of guiding their children towards living a healthy lifestyle.

Concluding Statement: Obesity is an epidemic that will result to severe costs and suffering if appropriate measures are not taken. Several things can be done to help fix the problem. Among them, is the government taking the necessary measures to ensure that factors triggering obesity have been dealt with. The conflict of interest involved with fast food companies should not be a stumbling block since the lives of people are more important compared to the amount of money being generated in the process. Corrupt government officials that have the tendency of pampering the problem instead of instituting helpful measures should be relieved of their duties. This is because they will stand in the way of any positive reforms. Families should also educate their children about healthy lifestyles from an early age. Children will usually adopt their behaviors from the environment they have grown in. The earlier they get the appropriate information, the better the chance we have as a country to deal with the obesity epidemic.


Works Cited

Ahima, R. S., and M. A. Lazar. “The Health Risk of Obesity–Better Metrics Imperative.” Science 341.6148 (2013): 56-58. Web. 18 Feb 2016.

Akinbami, Lara J., and Cynthia L. Ogden. “Childhood Overweight Prevalence in the United States: TheImpact of Parent-reported Height and Weight.” Obesity 17.8 (2009): 574-580. Web. 18 Feb 2016.

Ogden, Cynthia L., Margaret B. Carroll, Brian K. Kit, and Katherine M. Flegal. “Prevalenceof Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011–2012.” Survey of Anesthesiology 58.4 (2014): 206. Web.

Salinsky, Eileen, and Wakina Scott. “Obesity in America: A Growing Threat.” (2014): 1-31. Web. 18 Feb 2016.

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