OBESITY, A MODERN DAY AFFLICTION

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Obesity has become one of the major issues in today’s modern society. Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have, and usually does have an adverse effect on the health of the individual.  It may lead to reduced life expectancy and/or an increase in health problems. However, obesity it is not considered the same as being overweight, which means weighing too much. A person may be overweight due to extra muscles, bone or water and having too much fat as well. A person’s breathing may be affected by obesity because it slows down agile physical movement. An obese person may also suffer from diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and probably because of their obese condition can expect to live a poorer quality of life then the non-obese person.

Eating foods with more calories than your body can burn usually leads to obesity because the body stores unused calories as fat. The typical modern American diet (MAD) consists of fast foods which contain very little nutritional value and at the same time contain a very high caloric intake. Obesity can be caused by eating more food that your body can use, drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough exercise. Unfortunately this lifestyle has become the norm in today’s modern society. This unhealthy lifestyle is not only typical in the United States, but also in Western Europe, and is now becoming prevalent in Asia, especially the economically emerging nations of China and North and South Korea. Scientific studies have shown that usually many people regain more weight than they initially had lost. The human body has a complex system of checks and balances that help us keep our weight at a healthy level. There are also other factors that can affect weight; lack of time to plan and make healthy meals is one of these major factors. Also individuals who have less free time because of their work schedules have less time to exercise. Our modern society has also contributed to the alarmingly high rate of obesity because many people work at a sedentary job, usually sitting behind a desk, as compared to those active jobs in the past. Typically, obesity chooses no victim; it can be suffered by most of us since the major causes are attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle and a lack of physical activity and discipline.

Research shows that lifestyle has a bigger impact on people’s weight. Lifestyle choices are an important factor in influencing our weight. In today’s society, people do not get the exercise that their bodies require anymore because of other activities such as entertainment and the utilization of modern technological gadgets which are present in today’s world and were non-existent a century ago. Many individuals would rather consume their time watching television or using their computers to surf the Internet. Sedentary lifestyle plays a major role in obesity. It is a medical term used to symbolize a lifestyle with no physical activity involve. It is found in both developed and developing world. Some people would rather spend most of their free time reading and sitting rather than engaging in physical activity. I just want to mention that sitting and reading is a good activity in which to engage your mind, but the human body also needs a fair amount of physical activity in order to remain healthy and operating at its peak level. Also, people eat a lot of fast food since they may not have much time to prepare for a healthy meal and also because of individuals idleness. Unhealthy food choices such as not eating fruits, vegetables, and unrefined carbohydrates can also be evidence of having an unhealthy lifestyle. Eating large portions of food, much more than you actually need, can lead to obesity, sometimes to what is called morbid obesity. There may be times when you may be inclined to eat too much whenever you are in stress or if your friends or relatives are also eating large portions at meal times, this is known to be the case during the holiday season. Drinking too much alcohol can also be a culprit since alcohol contains a lot of calories and carbohydrates and may contribute to your increase of weight, and storage of unwanted fat cells throughout the body.

Genes can also be a contributing factor for a person to become obese. Some genetic conditions which may run in your family can increase your appetite and as a result you may find yourself consuming more food than your body requires.  Some individuals tend to keep or maintain their same body weight for years without exerting much effort, while on the other hand some individuals find that their weight increases drastically if they are not careful on what they eat.  The human body contains genes and hormones that determine how much body fat our body chemistry will store. A meticulous genetic variation within an individual’s body will indicates that their body is more prone to store fat than somebody else.

The medical condition of obesity is now at an overwhelming high rate, especially in the richer countries throughout the globe. It seems to be a condition that can be alleviated by a change in an individual’s style of life, if that individual is willing to make the changes required to bring about those changes. As I have stated in this report, obesity if not contained can lead to many other dire medical conditions that will cut down on the years that a person may have.

Diabetes is also at an all time high, especially diabetes II. This condition is caused by an elevated surge in an individual’s blood sugar that causes them to become intensely ill and can lead to blindness, amputation of limbs, and possibly death. Researchers have found that the over consumption of refined sugars and carbohydrates which are overly abundant in processed foods are a major contributor to type 2 diabetes. The modern American diet (MAD) in which most of us indulge in is unfortunately high in these sugars and carbohydrates and very low in the nutritional factors that our bodies need.

Most Americans and to a lesser extent Europeans indulge in this type of food consumption. By eating in this manner we are basically setting ourselves up for many of these lack of good nutrition based illnesses, which could eventually be our undoing.

American and French researchers have performed what is called “The French Paradox”, which is a study about the eating habits of the French people who live around the Mediterranean seacoast. These individuals seem to eat more meat products and also seem to smoke more that Americans do, but seem to get fewer cases of diabetes and heart disease. In 1991 researchers concluded that the French people tend to suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fat.

When the description of this finding aired on American television, some nutritional experts attributed this occurrence to the French consumption of red wine. Despite having alcohol, red wine also contains a chemical compound called resveratol which decreases the incidence of cardiac disease. Some wine producers after hearing about these results, began to lobby Congress to have red wine listed as a health food because of it containment of resveratol.

Other nutritional experts attribute the results to the French consumption of good fats instead of bad fats that are eaten by most Americans. The French people get up to 80% of their fat intake from dairy and vegetable sources, including whole milk, yogurt, cheeses, and the consumption of fish, at least three times a week. The French also tended to eat smaller portions of food at their meals, have a lower sugar intake, less snacking between meals, and the avoidance of typical American foods items such as deep fried foods, processed snack foods, and soda which contains large amounts of processed sugar.

 

Researchers concluded that the French people were able to stay slimmer and healthier than their American counterpart because they eat smaller portions, and take in plenty of liquids such as water, herbal tea and soups. They also tend to eat three times a day and do not snack in between meals. They also enjoy the meal time experience and do not watch television or do other activities at their meal time. Also they tend to savor their food which in turn increases their feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment of their meals which leads to better food digestion and nutritional absorption.

Obesity is a problem of today’s modern society. Centuries ago when the human population throughout the world had to go out into the fields and do physical labor to gather enough food to keep themselves alive, there was no such thing as an obesity problem, or high glucose blood sugar conditions that cause diabetes. And if there were cases of these incidents they were very low, and in no way close to the epidemic situations which are occurring today. The ancient Greeks actually know about diabetes which they called sweet urine, when they noticed that insects were attracted to the urine of some individuals who were ill because of high sugar levels within their bodies. Many food producers are also to blame for the obesity problem. They inject their food products with processed sugar and have depleted the foods of practically all nutritional value in order to preserve shelf life.

Overall, evidence shows that lifestyle contributes more to obesity than genes of any particular family. Having an improper choice of nutritional lifestyle can cause problems to our health and to our physical characteristics as well. Too much consumption of improper and unhealthy foods and not having a proper exercise program can cause a person to become obese and be prone to health problems and sickness. Obesity can be prevented, but only if we choose to do so.

REFERENCES:

B. Simini (2000): The French paradox to Creatan Miracle. The Lancet.

Ferrieres, J. (2004) The French Paradox, Lesson for other countries.

            Rashmisrisethi, A.  Lifestyle habit affects obesity. 13 Jul  2008. Thaindian News. <online> Accessed 3 Nov 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/lifestyle/lifestyle-habit-affects-obesity_10071337.html

 

            Causes of obesity. NHS Choices. <online> Accessed 3 Nov 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Obesity

 

            Obesity. 11 Jul  2011. PubMed Health. <online> Accessed 3 Nov 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH