Is obesity an American epidemic? By the simple definition of the word, the answer is yes. An epidemic is defined by a widespread outbreak of a condition where many people are infected at the same time. Epidemic obesity is occurring all over the world as children eat less healthy foods and engage in less healthy activities. This problem is not limited to any specific race or type of people, but is reaching children in nearly every country. However, certain aspects make this problem more relevant to American society.
When looking at the situation from an American perspective, the problem is even worse when compared with the epidemic childhood obesity found in other nations. The relative opulence of the American lifestyle is directly leading to an unsafe increase in childhood obesity. The factors that are making obesity an American epidemic are many and include a lack of exercise, an increase in the consumption of unhealthy foods, increased medication usage, and family behaviors. While obese people are often laughed at and ridiculed, this issue is a matter of a nations responsibility and as such will not be resolved until society collectively addresses the problem.
While they do deserve their share of the blame, the manufacturers of unhealthy foods are not the only ones responsible for making obesity an American epidemic. Parents are also to blame as family behavior is passed between parents and children. If parents often stop at fast food restaurants and do not practice good eating habits, these behaviors will be passed on to children. Statistically, children of obese parents are 25-30% more likely to become obese. Also, these parents are responsible for choosing healthy foods from supermarkets and avoiding excessive sugar and fat intake. Another aspect that is making obesity an American epidemic is the peer pressure children face when making conscious eating decisions. Sugary treats are one way that children connect and the child who chooses not to participate may be rejected for their smart decisions.
There are many harmful aspects associated with making obesity an American epidemic. Obese children are often ostracized at school and will thus develop a negative self-image. This social stigma may continue into later life, leading to emotional and developmental problems. In addition to the social problems encountered by an obese person, there are direct correlations between obesity and other health complications. Children who are obese are much more likely to have serious medical conditions later in life such as diabetes, heart disease, and breathing difficulties. Treatment solutions are available to turn obesity an American epidemic into a thing of the past. Education is the most effective option and a well-informed child will be more likely to avoid unhealthy foods that lead to unwanted weight gain.