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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Obesity And Overweight Among American Adolescents And Children - 1211 words
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The problem of rapid increase of obesity among children and adolescents in the United States has recently become one of the most discussed topics and is considered as a population threat. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion about 9 million young people face possible type 2 diabetes, previously considered an adult disease, high cholesterol level and high blood pressure which are risk factors for heart disease. But who is to blame? Where is the problem? What can be done to prevent obesity among young people in the United States?How could it happen that according to the National Centre for Health Statistics 15% of youngsters ages 6 to 19 and 10 % of children 2 through 5 were considered seriously overweight in 2000, while in 1980 it was only 6%?1 Imbalance between food consumption and energy expenditure is the main cause of obesity and overweight-that's well known fact. Unhealthy eating patterns and/or lack of physical activity as well as genetics and lifestyle play important role in child's weight. Let's focus on some of the main reasons why overweight is such a serious problem among people under 19 years of age in the United States.It would be quite difficult to find a child or teenager who does not love fast food. It does not taste "strange", it is easy to eat, it is quick, cheap, plus one can have a great fun playing in special child corners. Fast food has a great tradition in the United States.
It is popular among people of all age but unfortunately is also one of the reasons why Americans are so obese. Who should be better role models for children than their own parents? However, reality is such that each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant. Bad eating habits among adults in the United States are alarming. Researches show that while in 1972, 3 billion a year were spent on fast food, today people spend more than 110 billion, according to the various researches made specially for an american documentary movie Super Size Me that deals with the problem of obesity influenced by eating too much fast food.2 The fact that television, computer and video games contribute to nowadays children's inactive lifestyles, as is shown on the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website, more than a third of youngsters from grades 9-12 do not get enough of a physical activity as they should in their age, even multiplies the chance of becoming obese. Time is money and nowadays America's lifestyle tries as much as possible to follow this motto
Average American family spends basically equal amount of money on grocery shopping to prepare an evening meal as on eating out. As the women emancipation is on a high level in the United States there is no wonder that ideal evening for successful professional female will not be wasting her precious time cooking but she will prefer easy eating out, possibly in the car on the way home. Many parents make a major mistake by rewarding their child with sweets and in fact it is not only the matter of rewarding. Here, again, "time is money" motto plays a significant role. It is easier to buy an extra size packet of chocolate chip cookies than to prepare a snack twice a day.
Can you imagine a toddler walking briskly for ten minutes to burn one small chocolate chip cookie that equals 50 calories?Because children are pretty easy age group for effective advertising, no wonder that youngsters can not resist an extra large size of French fries if their price is nearly the same as for the regular portion. Moreover, it is not an exception when a teenage girl sees a TV commercial of one of the fast food chains that uses the whole-grain buns for making burgers instead of less healthier white ones and believes that this kind of fast food will help her loose weight. She thinks it must be true because they say it on TV. The only thing one has to do is to eat three times a day main meals in their "healthy" fast food restaurant. Not only that it is a nonsense, as can be proved by easy calories and energy expenditure calculation, but it also shows how powerful the media influence and advertising are and what impact powerful commercials have on eating habits among (not only) children and adolescents. Although today nearly all fast foods provide brochures with detailed nutrition and calories facts about their products, it does not seem to help much. Is it not discouraging enough to know that one would have to walk for seven hours straight to burn off an extra size menu of coke, fries and hamburger? Obesity is not any more just the matter of looking good or not.
Overweight and obesity play an important role in heart diseases, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems, and psychological disorders, such as depression. Approximately 300,000 deaths each year in the United States may be attributable to obesity and overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults (this increases to 80% if one or more parent is overweight or obese), as stated by the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service.3 Apart from serious health problems, obesity among children has indispensable influence on individual's psyche and social integration. The most immediate consequence of overweight as perceived by children is not their possible future health problems but social discrimination. Once the child is different from the others it is more likely that his/her peers will not be willing to accept him/her in their community. Special support programs and projects to help prevent obesity and overweight were established across the United States.
The Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases is good example of a way how the government tries to fight the obesity problem. Such programs help the states to establish firm foundation of a science-based nutrition and physical activity interventions. Here are some major tasks and aims of New York Childhood Obesity Prevention Program established according to the state legislation passed in 2004. Program includes components such as media health promotion, school and community-based nutrition and physical activity programs, obesity prevention strategies in food assistance, health, education, and recreation programs, meeting of experts to examine societal-based solutions to obesity or training programs for medical and other health professionals.It is difficult to say who is responsible for such a high number of overweight and obese children and adolescents in the United States. Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, commercial pressure and little interest in prevention are just some of the factors contributing to the problem. However, there have been various prevention programs established to prevent this problem and in few years statistics will show if they were any good or not.United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Overweight and Obesity State Programs" (October 06, 2004), http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/state programs/index.htm U.S. Department of Health&Human Services, "Overweight and Obesity: Health Consequences", http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesityBetter Health USA Editor, (c)2001-2003 Better Health USA Partnering with Immuno Laboratories, Inc.
serving the world since 1978, "Overweight and Obesity in Children", http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/227.cfm.
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