The beginning of the 21st century is marked by obesity problems and overweight affecting American population. Statistical results and research studies suggest that obesity becomes a national problem which affected millions of adults and children around the country. Obesity is an epidemic. It tends to have more negative than positive effect on the economy and can greatly reduce ones life expectancy. The best resolution to eradicate this spreading disease is by educating people about a healthy diet and regular exercises, starting with the younger generations. Aside from surgery, a healthy lifestyle is the only option that will work (Sugarmann and Sandman 1403). This paper will discuss the background of the disease, some preventative measures that can be taken as well as a proposed solution and proposed policy. The policy that will help the nation to improve their eating habits is to educate the public on the dangers and medical quandaries that obesity causes and to help eradicate this epidemic from our nation.
Obesity is defined as: "an excess of body fat, and is distinct from "overweight" (Toth and Schwartz 13) which means an excess of body weight. When contrasted with smoking and drinking, obesity at first seems like a less serious health problem. Obesity is not only more hazardous than smoking and drinking, but it also leads to a higher cost for health care and medicine. Statistics also show that obesity contributes approximately 740,000 deaths from heart diseases, 540,000 from cancer, 158,000 from stroke, and 59,000 from diabetes are mainly contributable to obesity. In many cases of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa, female patients often feel pressure because they cannot accept their appearances and eventually starve themselves to stay in shape. Obesity is one of the main reasons for increases in suicides in the United States (CDC) (Pollan 2003). Pollan questions: "Since the raw materials of soda and popcorn, French fries and even hamburgers represent such a tiny fraction of their retail price (compared with labor, packaging and advertising), expanding portion size becomes a way to multiply sales without adding much to costs" (Pollan 2003'; see appendix 1).
For adults, obesity is a result of unhealthy eating behavior they follow from early childhood changing nothing during their mature years. Important detail is that people possess unhealthy eating patterns from the yearly age which lead them to overweight problem in near future. As a result, mental and physical health problems arise when two conflicting values are being absorbed by a child such as becoming more desirable if one is slim and beautiful, as opposed by a baser instinct to indulge one's gastronomical appetite (Toth and Schwartz 13) What is most commonly observed then among sufferers is their low self-esteem. They see weight reduction as the only way for them to be accepted and loved. Many of people feel that they are not good enough, they are not capable of doing anything right, and have an illusion that their appearance is always scrutinized by others, have an incorrect perspective that they would be happier and life would be better if they could just lose weight. Negative body image contrasts with media images of ideal body and the importance of physical attractiveness and supported by clothes manufacturers who "popularize" baggy life style. The problem is that many children consider that doing exercise is less delightful than other unhealthful alternatives such as watching