America is one of the most obese countries in the world, and the reasons are quite obvious. Just take a look around you. Fast food chains on every block (unhealthy foods are much less expensive than the healthy foods we should be eating), more and more technology to make our lives easier (and lazier), and high amounts of stress are all factors to weight gain in our country. A recent study in January 2010 shows that obesity rates have reached a constant level and stayed there for the past five years, but still the levels of obesity are still unacceptable. Almost 34 percent of American adults are obese; this number is more than double the amount of 30 years ago. And the percentage of obese children has nearly tripled in that time, to 17 percent. Are we doing enough to bring these numbers down? My opinion, is no.
In the past 40 years, there has been an expansion to more than 160,000 fast-food restaurants in America. These restaurants serve more than 50 million people per day, generating about $
65 million in sales annually. These restaurants, such as McDonald's, Jack in the Box, and Wendy’s, serve pre-cooked, frozen foods, usually thawed out by boiling in hot oil. Only since obesity has become a national epidemic have fast-food restaurants changed their ways. Now, their French fries are fried in vegetable oil, and there are now healthier side options to choose from. But I think we need to do more than just change the kind of oil the French fries are fried in. Maybe we should get rid of French fries all together, and replace them with a healthier alternative, like sweet potato fries. Or better yet, why don’t we get rid of, or extremely decrease the number of, the unhealthier fast-food chains, and increase the number of healthy fast food chains, such as Subway or Port of Subs.
Another problem with fast-food restaurants, is their prices. Sure they have “Dollar Menus” and meals for only a couple of bucks, but these low prices are what attract people to the restaurants, and what keep them coming back. I understand that people sometimes need a quick and easy meal, and that’s where fast-food comes in. But there are people who continually eat at these places, and that is when it begins to get unhealthy. So maybe if our unhealthy fast-food places raise their prices, and our healthy ones lower theirs just a little, people may choose to go to the healthier places instead.
In short, I think we need to start eliminating fast-food chains like McDonald's, Jack in the Box, and Wendy’s, and we need to start promoting the healthier ones, such as Subway and Port of Subs.
Another factor leading to weight gain in America is stress. Many Americans have many things to stress over in their lives, including money, family, health, and their homes. All of these cause lots of stress, which can lead to be overweight. So how do we fix this problem? It’s simple: we need to learn how to relax. If we set aside a certain amount of time each day to just relax and unwind, then the number on the scale would start decreasing. We need to find ways to eliminate stress in our life. Of course we can’t get rid of all the stress in our life, but we can definitely decrease the amount.
Finally, lack of exercise. This is a huge reason for American obesity. We have simply become lazy. One of our new favorite pastimes is sitting in front of the television. Our youth love to play the new, high-tech, exciting video games, and although there are some game systems, such as the Wii or Kinect, that get the players up and moving, it is absolutely not enough exercise to keep us healthy. We, as a country, need to become more active. Spend some time outside, get out and enjoy nature and all of the outside activities available where you live. Parents need to take more responsibility as well. They need to regulate how much time their children spend watching TV and