When does eating unhealthy and not exercising become a problem? Does it become a problem when it is affecting the lives of many people around the U.S and more and more people are becoming obese? This complex issue of being obese has become a worldwide problem that is affecting more and more Americans at an alarming rate. Obesity needs to be addressed; the awareness of this disease needs to be known because it is a major health issue. Unhealthy dietary choices are being made every day, and physical activity is not being done to counter those bad food choices. There are many major contributors to becoming obese which include but not limited to cultural beliefs, genetics, environmental factors, poverty and physical activity. Positive changes to each one of these contributors must be taken into consideration to create healthier Americans and future generations. Americans have to start making healthier choices to give the children of today and the next generation a longer and healthier life. Obesity happens when a person consumes more calories than can be burned off. Meaning people are eating too much and not exercising enough to burn off the extra calories. A good way to measure for obesity is by the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is an estimate of a person’s body fat based on their height and weight. A person is considered overweight if their BMI is between 25 and 29.9 and over. People are considered obese if their BMI is over 30 or their weight is 20 percent or more above normal weight. The equation below shows how BMI can be calculated and then what the BMI means. It is very important to be well aware of the BMI because it can help a person understand where he or she needs to be to maintain a healthy weight.
(What Health, 2011)
Unfortunately, a person’s genes and age are big contributing factors in obesity. “A child born to obese or severely overweight parents has a 75 percent chance of becoming an obese child and or adult.” (WebMD, 2011, p 1) However, people who think they are doomed because of their parents’ weight need to stop and rethink. “Many people that are genetically predisposed to obesity have not become obese and if they are overweight they have been able to lose the weight and keep it off.” (WebMD, 2011, p1) As a person gets older their chances of becoming obese is increased. Their body’s ability to metabolize food slows down and they do not require as many calories to maintain weight. We have all heard the complaint about older people eating the same and being just as active as they were when they were younger, but as they age, they are gaining weight. “Research from national surveys has found that an increase in excess weight gain happens in the transition period between adolescence and adulthood.” (Nelson, 2008 p 1). People need to understand that, when they get older, they need to accommodate for the physical change by eating better foods and eating the right portion amount along with a light exercise. The environment and community can play a big part in overall weight gain and most communities have little or no resources for adults and child to be and stay active. Environmental factors such as lifestyle behaviors play a significant role as well. Some of these behaviors include what kinds of food a person is accustomed to and their daily activity. “Physical activity tends to decrease appetite in obese individual, while increasing the body’s ability to preferentially metabolize fat as an energy source.” (WebMD, 2011 p1) Active individuals require more calories than less active ones to maintain their weight. It is important when a person exercises to eat the right amounts of healthy foods to get all the nutrients that person needs.
Physical activity is the key to any healthy lifestyle. However, children these days are not very interested in having part in any physical activities such as sports nearly as often as they have in the past. Children these days are