Obesity in America: A Big, Fat Future

Erin McKown, Staff Member

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Americans are facing a national issue affecting health: obesity. Though the United States isn’t in first place for having the the most overweight population, the country is quickly rising with 66.3% of the population being either obese or overweight. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, two thirds of adults are considered either overweight or obese and three out of four men are overweight or obese. The percentage of children who are obese has tripled from 1971 to 2011. One in five children ages six to nineteen are considered obese.

 

“I think that school lunches should be healthier,” said freshman Carrington Osborne, who is an avid volleyball and basketball player. “Some people just aren’t interested in sports, which is fine because you should do what makes you happy. While sports are big, there are more students who don’t participate in sports. Video games and electronics have now consumed Americans and while people used to go outside and play, we now can play 2K or Snapchat someone. Also, there isn’t enough time in school where we are getting time to exercise. If people get to choose what [form of  exercise] they want instead of what they’re told to do, students would enjoy exercising more.”

 

Osborne also believes fast food restaurants to be a large cause of obesity. According to North Ohio Heart, the average American spends a total of $1,200 on fast food each year.

 

“Fast food restaurants serve food with a ton of calories which people don’t burn off. While it is convenient to just swing by and pick up something, people need to eat healthier so they can be happier. They can be healthier and there for their kids and family. Americans do need to watch what they eat,” Osborne said.

 

Commonly associated with obesity, many adolescents face bullying and teasing due to their size. According to Health.com, 65% of obese children and teens are more likely to suffer from teasing from their peers.

 

“Obese people are teased more because a lot of people tend to pick on others who aren’t what they consider normal or popular,” said junior Lindsay Dunn. “Society expects females to be tall, thin and shapely. For males, society thinks that they should be muscular and tall. Unfortunately, no matter what anyone does the bullying won’t stop completely. A way to decrease bullying might be to help the people who bully obese students to understand how hurtful it is to the person they’re making fun of.”

 

Meanwhile, freshman Sarah Cole believes that lack of encouragement to exercise is a large cause of obesity and that technology is a major contributor as well.

 

“I think a lot of teenagers are obese because they aren’t too pushed to be healthy. Today many teens stay inside and play videogames or binge watch because it’s fun and something to do,” Cole said. “We could create more fun things to do or an incentive to get teens to go outside and eat better. I think obese people are concerned about the health issues associated with their condition but they just don’t want to do anything about it. Like smoking, they obviously know what they are doing to themselves, but some have given up or they can’t lose weight.”