Today, obesity is one of the biggest health issues in America. Many Americans take advantage of the greasy fast food and the fatty junk foods that are easy to grab on the run. While more unhealthy foods are being consumed, not many people are taking into consideration the effects these foods have on their body. Because people are not very knowledgeable on the topic of obesity, there aren’t many things being done to prevent it. A majority of people in our society do not even realize obesity is a disease and a lot are unaware of the causes of it.
Some causes of obesity are overconsumption of processed foods, lack of exercise, and side effects of prescription drugs.
When people need to get a quick and inexpensive bite to eat, they usually head over to the closest McDonald’s or Burger King. In today’s fast paced society, not many individuals actually take the time to cook a meal when they can easily pull up to a drive thru window and purchase a meal for fewer than five dollars.
Most Americans get so caught up in the easy access of fast food that they do not take into account the horrible food they are putting into their bodies. A major factor of overconsumption of processed foods is poverty. Not only is fast food cheap, but junk food and processed foods in grocery stores are also cheaper to buy than natural foods. This causes lower income families to purchase less healthy foods and more unhealthy foods.
A study was done by Hedwig Lee et al. in May 2014 to analyze the relationship between poverty and risk of first-incidence obesity from ages three to fifteen and a half years old. The study was on 1150 children with repeated measures of income, weight and height from birth to fifteen and a half years in ten US cities. Their studies concluded that there are enduring associations between poverty and obesity in children. The authors claim that, “This stage in the life course may serve as a critical period for both poverty and obesity prevention,” (Lee et al. 1). Because there is a large amount of poverty in this day in age, there is more likelihood of obesity.
Coupled with overconsumption of processed foods, there is also lack of exercise in people’s everyday life. The more calories consumed compared to exercise can only lead to weight gain, which only increases obesity in the world. In this technology driven society, it is getting harder and harder for people to find motivation to exercise. With all these distractions such as television, social media, and video games, individuals aren’t as driven to keep their bodies in shape. People today, unfortunately care more about what celebrity is dating who than their personal health. The distraction of new technology, such as, smart phones only makes the number of obese individuals worse and will keep making it worse until something is done to make people realize that their health is more important than these devices.
Another cause of obesity that cannot be controlled is side effects of prescription drugs. Many popular prescription drugs have the side effect of weight gain. For example, birth control is one of the most common uses of contraception, but one of its main effects it has on women is weight gain. Other frequently prescribed medications used to treat mood disorders, seizures, migraines, diabetes, and even high blood pressure can also cause a great deal of weight gain (Laino 1). Director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, Louis Aronne, MD, claims, “As many as 10% to 15% of weight issues are related to medications.” While some medications have the effect of weight gain, others have the effect of increasing your appetite while slowing down your body’s the process of burning calories. Even though two people may be taking the same medicine, some people tend to gain more weight than others because medications react to each individual’s bodies differently (Booth 1).
In conclusion, there are dozens of causes of obesity, which is why it is one of the biggest health issues in the world. The overconsumption of processed foods is one of the leading causes of obesity. When you combine unhealthy eating with minimal amounts of exercise, an individual is only causing themselves to be more at risk of becoming obese. Obesity is also often caused by side effects of prescription drugs which can cause you to eat more while burning fewer calories. All in all, there are many causes of obesity that individuals need to be aware of in order to prevent the disease and live a healthy life.