Someone who is obese has accumulated so much fat in the body, which might negatively affect their health. An obese person is one whose body weight is 20% higher than the standard level. An overweight person would be one with a body mass index between 25 and 29.9. A BMI that exceeds 30 is considered obese. Most people blame fast food industries to be the main cause of rise in obesity. This should not be the case as each and every person should take responsibility of their obesity and overall health.
It is important that we pay greater attention to keeping our bodies and minds healthy. However, the kinds of lifestyles we lead make it difficult for our defenses to work effectively. We allow for the selling and consumption of junk food. People are consuming more of these foods than they used to. Real foods have a multitude of nutrients, and many more are yet to be discovered. On the other hand, fast foods contain very little nutrients needed to maintain a healthy life. Instead, they contain high amounts trans fats (bad cholesterol), sugar, sodium and high calories. Overconsumption of fast foods, therefore, may lead to obesity, salt imbalance and allergies.
Several factors have been attributed to the high prevalence of obesity in America today. Food forms part of the popular culture. The beliefs, trends and practices in a culture affect the eating practices of that culture. Fast food advertisements over mainstream media have contributed to their consumption and an increase in obese people. Another trend is the fact that an increasing number of people are eating away from home, making fast foods very convenient. Fast foods are much cheaper than real foods. In addition, they are served in huge quantities and are therefore preferred by many people. Researchers have found out that diets comprising of whole grain, fresh vegetable, fish and fruits are much more expensive than diets comprising of refined grain, added fats and sugars. Many people are, therefore, financially limited to what they can afford. An increasing number of people are leading sedentary lifestyles. They prefer less physically demanding occupations. The result is that they get insufficient exercise. School districts are also faced with budget challenges and reduce classes involving physical exercises like the gym. The number of opportunities for informal play in schools has also reduced.
Genes also play a role towards the development of obesity. They regulate many processes in the body. For example, how the body acquires, stores and releases energy from consumed food. Under favorable environmental conditions, numerous sites on the human genetic makeup have been shown to contribute to the development of obesity. An individual whose background shows history of obesity has high chances of being obese. Genes also regulate appetite and satiety, physical inactivity and the ability of the body to utilize body fats as fuel. Limited health education programs on obesity have also contributed to its spread. Lack of education on health and nutrition has been linked to the poor nutritional choices made by many people. The adverse effects obesity has on health are not widely known. Through education people will be able to make wiser food choices, prevent the spread of obesity and lead healthy lives.
People spend more hours working and do not find time to prepare healthy meals for their families and loved ones. The number of those consuming food away from home is on the rise. For this reason fast food restaurants are rapidly increasing. These individuals either eat in these eateries or buy the food from street vendors. This preference for quick portable meals has popularized fast foods. Together with the shift towards a more sedentary lifestyle, this factor has contributed to the epidemic of obesity in America.
Fast foods are eaten quickly just as the name suggests. Research has shown that slow chewing of food helps to breakdown food components, enjoyment and better control of what is consumed. It also leads to an increased sense of satisfaction and reduces the likelihood of becoming overweight.
Most fast foods are convenient and delicious. They appear more appealing than real foods and as a result consumed by a greater proportion of the population. The ads on TVs induce cravings especially among children. Regular consumption leads to addiction to fast foods, which eventually leads to obesity. The prices of fast foods are very low. For instance, a burger from McDonalds is much cheaper than an apple. With five dollars, one can buy a burger, fries and soda. Many people find these prices friendly and, therefore, prefer the fast foods to the more expensive healthier foods.
Regular consumption of fast foods leads to energy imbalance in the body. Several factors contribute to the development of energy imbalance. Environmental factors, genetic and personal factors all contribute to energy imbalance. Positive energy imbalance means that the quantity of energy used by the body is more than the consumed amount while negative energy imbalance implies that more energy is consumed than the amount used by the body. A sustained positive energy imbalance results in the accumulation of energy in the body, causing weight gain, which progresses to being overweight and eventually obese. Weight gain can be as a result of increased caloric intake or reduced calories used in physical activity.
The number of doctors and nurses who are obese is very high. This sets a bad example to their patients. Many patients usually make insulting and hurtful comments to such health professionals. To be role models, they should lead lives that will promote confidence and trust of the public. The quality of food consumed determines the probability of weight gain. The overconsumption of sugar added drinks, refined grain meals like white bread, potatoes and other high fat meals increases the likelihood to develop obesity. Such meals should be substituted with natural foods like fruits, fresh vegetables, milk, and whole grains. These meals contain numerous nutrients not found in fast foods. Fibre is found in fruits and fresh vegetables and is required to keep the body regular. Essential fatty acids are found in fish, seeds and nuts. They contribute to hormonal balance, inflammation process and the release of stored fat. Most of the vitamins and minerals added to refined foods are normally lost during processing. However, natural foods like vegetables and fruits contain vitamins that do not require replenishment.
It is not right to blame fast food restaurants for overconsumption of their foods and obesity. As much as the sell cheap and appealing foods, it is down to the personal choices we make, whether to consume fast foods or not. People are what they eat. It is much more convenient to prepare a healthy food at home than visit a fast food restaurant to purchase ‘take aways’. It is also the responsibilities of parents to help their children make healthy food choices. To achieve this, they not only need to be made aware of grave consequences of continual ingestion of fast foods but also the goodness of taking fruits and vegetables to inprove their health. In addition, they should serve as positive examples to their children by practicing healthy eating habits.
Unemployment leads low financial status. Low income earners are unable to lead healthy lives because of the higher prices of healthy foods compared to fast foods. Such people consider the quantity of food to quality. They buy fast foods because they are cheaper and guarantee them satisfaction. Change of lifestyle is important to this group of people. Increased physical activity ensures that they burn the extra calories they consume. Change of diet to more healthy meals like more fruits, whole grains and vegetable is important. It is also the responsibility of the government to reduce the taxes on healthy foods to make them more affordable. It may also subsidize fast foods making them more costly to the unemployed people.
As much as we spend more time working, it is our responsibility to keep our bodies healthy. We should understand that consuming extra calories leads to fat accumulation and obesity. A hamburger, or crispy chicken tastes delicious and may be addictive. However, we should not consume them on a daily basis as they could cause a lot of damage to the body. Regular physical activity like a jog at least three times a week is important to burn the extra calories taken. The economy has caused a lot of suffering to almost everyone and it should not be an excuse to unhealthy lifestyle. We could go to Publix and buy a bag of carrots for 50 cents or keep track of the commercials and the specials. Fast foods have high calories and fat. Forcing them will have a negative impact on your weight as you continue taking more that you can excrete. Hamburgers may exceed the 65mg fat limit recommended for the whole day. Obesity raises fatal heart illnesses, diabetes and some cancers, as well as sleep apnea and asthma. Obese individuals are more likely to experience pregnancy difficulties.
Personally, I am a big fast food fan. However, excessive consumption on a daily basis impacted negatively on my soccer career performances which led to my exclusion from the main team. So I took an advice from other people and decided to work on my cardio, ate more vegetables, drank more water and it paid off. I get to play more soccer and I love it.
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