March 22th, 2005
By Stal Herz
In country of boundless wealth and resources capable of solving any problem
it chooses to, the one thing Americans cannot seem to take care of is their
distinct lack of self discipline. There is no area where this is more
apparent then obesity.
New studies are showing that obesity is actually decreasing the life
expectancy in America, and is now creeping into third place as the leading
cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
In another 20 years, it will be number one without a bullet.
But what are the causes of obesity. Why is it that we feel the need to
stuff ourselves when we feel sad? Is it a chemical dependency of the
Cortisol levels in your blood stream that cause you the extreme desire for
food or is it the association og good times and fast food that are being
sold to us by advertising companies?
Currently, 64 % of Americans are overweight or Obese according to the Center
for Disease Control. Obesity is measured by the amount of body fat in
relation to the lean body mass of an individual. This is known as the Body
Mass Index (BMI).
Now, while it is a fact that some people inherit a slow metabolism rate,
it is not the primary factor contributing to obesity. Nutrition, exercise
and environment are the physical factors that determine how obese or
overweight a person may be. However, there are mental factors at work as
Stressful situations often cause people to overeat, and sometimes, not
eat all. It is strange, but in many cases, you do not see obese people
eating in public or social situations. Their self confidence is at such a
low mark that obese people often times wait until they are home alone at
night before begin their binge eating.
Not only does this disturb the emotional and social balance of the
individual, but food consumed so late at night before going to sleep does
not have time to digest. This can cause dramatic weight increases, and
slow down one’s metabolism, leading to heart conditions as well as
The Center for Disease Control uses something known as the energy scale,
in which the calories consumed and the calories burned must equal out at
the end of the day. The normal amount of calorie consumption should be
around 2000. If you exceed that, you need to burn that with extra
running or exercise. To give you some idea, it takes running one mile to
burn 100 calories.
The first thing that must be addressed with obesity is an acknowledgement
that it is a disease, and not something to be made into a stigma. Some
people lack the self control self-image to notice what is happening to
Years ago, after dinner, it might have been the custom to take a walk
around the block for a few minutes after you ate. Not only was it a
social activity that kept neighborhoods feeling as if they were a community,
but it was a way for digestion to occur. Now, it seems as if melting into
the couch is the best way to relax after a meal. Remember, calories not
burned at night can easily be left undigested, therefore turning to fat,
and causing the onset of obesity.
Parents who don’t pay attention to what their children are eating
for lunch at school might be shocked to know that the menu consists of
hamburgers, pizzas and other high calorie and high fat foods that are
actually breading a generation of obese children. These eating habits
can easily carry over to adulthood, which are then passed on to their
children. If your child’s school does not have a proper nutritional
program, it is up to you to go to the school board meetings to voice your
concerns or pack your child’s lunch.
For some children who are from economically challenged families, it seems
as if nutritional help is not on the agenda. It should be. Food high in
sugars and cholesterol are causing a higher number of diabetes and high
blood pressure in low income neighborhoods.
Nutrition is still thought of as an esthetic concern, when it is now
perhaps the most pressing health related issue in America. Large portions
and all you can eat buffets are not giving people their money’s
worth, they are only giving them a feeding troth in which their feeding
frenzy mirrors the counties problem with consumption.
While a variety of dietary supplements promise to help you loose weight,
the truth is that a balanced diet and proper exercise routine can do
exactly what those supplements do without any of the side effects.
Before you put yourself or allow yourself to be put on any medication for
such things, the first thing that must be learned is self control.
When you are driving home at night and about to head to the Drive Through,
take the time to go to the market, buy something healthy, and cook it for
yourself or your family. It’s true that it might take an extra hour,
but that hour would just be spent sitting in front of the television
becoming obese. This is how it happens and it can happen to anybody.
Think about how much walking and exercise you can get just by shopping for
It is all in how you think and how much self control you can exert.
As much as your body tells you that a burger and fries will give you the
satisfaction you desire, you must convince yourself that you that that
same meal will cause you pain and discomfort. Once you begin to change
your associations, you can change your patterns and start to reverse the
effects of obesity.
It is a mental addiction as well as a physical problem, and until it is
addressed as such, it will continue to be one of the most lethal forces
in America, both on the body and the soul.
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