Everyone has heard of the magical Aitkin’s diet and diet plans just like it, but has anyone ever seen the results they initially wanted? The vast number of obese individuals in the United States has increased steadily, while the diet corporations have prospered financially. ” Obesity increased in every state, for both men and woman, across all age categories, all races, all educational levels, and regardless of an individual’s smoking status” (CDC 448). This brings me to the assumption, that the steady rise in obesity is a social inclination. Possible explanations are location, fast food restaurants, and false diet promises.
Throughout the past decade, obesity has raised a significant amount with no genuine pattern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a study between the years of 1991-1999 to rate the incline of obesity. The CDC showed that in 1991, obese men and woman made up 12.0% of the United States population, afterward; in 1999 they made up 18.9% of the population. A steady incline with no decrease in number was found through the years. “The CDC describes it self as the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people-at home and abroad, providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships”(CDC448). When people try to solve questions about obesity and find many possible answers, they turn to science to help prove their hypothesis. In W. Wayt Gibbs article Gaining On Fat, that appeared in the August 1996 issue of Scientific America, Gibbs reported on the causes and potential treatments of obesity. Gibbs states that “59 percent of the adult population meets the current definition of clinical obesity, according to a 1995 report by the Institute of medicine; it is easy to qualify the disease for epidemic status” (Gibbs 451).
Consequently, the study by the Centers for Disease Control and W. Wayt Gibbs, both show the steady rise in obesity. However, looking at a typical American’s weight gain through a medical perspective should give a better understanding of the intensification of obesity. In Mary Ray Worley’s article Fat and Happy: In Defense of Fat Acceptance, she recalls hearing Dr. Diane Budd speak out about the medical and scientific communities take on fatness. Dr. Budd declares that, “90 percent of those who lose weight gain it back”. Why would that many people gain back the weight they lost, unless it was too hard or tempting to give it up? In W. Wayt Gibbs article, a section entitled Set up for Failure talks about Rudolph L. Leibel, who is the co-director of the human metabolism laboratory at Rockefeller.
Leibel states that “A typical American adult gains about 20 pounds between the ages of 25 and 55. An adult ingests 900,000 to one million calories a year” (Gibbs 455). The fast food industry is feeding into the daily intake of calories that a conservative adult eats. However, is all fast food unhealthy, what about something as normal as french-fries? In Eric Schlosser’s article Why the Fries Taste Good, Schlosser tells how normal McDonalds french-fries are prepared. “For decades, McDonald’s cooked its french-fries in a mixture of about 7 percent cottonseed oil and 93 percent beef tallow. The mixture gave the fries their unique flavor-and more saturated beef fat per ounce then a McDonald’s hamburger” (Schlosser 495) Something as basic as french-fries can be so detrimental to the amount of calories needed a day. By eating one meal at a fast food restaurant, a person can have all the calories for a full day. This means, anything eaten afterwards is going straight towards over-weight ness.
Many people blame the food industries for making them “fat”; however they rely on the magic of diets to help regulate their weight. Nevertheless, do they actually work? Many swear that diets are successful, and by decreasing their weight, their self-esteem rises. It is easy to refute that the diet industries are decreasing the number of obese people in the United States, and are just profiting financially. The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) put out an article entitled NAAFA Policy on Dieting and the Diet industry, which speaks out about how the diet industry affects the number of over-weight people in the country. The NAAFA claims that they are a “non-profit human rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people” (NAAFA 464). Diet companies claim that by following their technique, a person can loose up to as much weight at they want, yet they always say in small print “results may vary”. “According to Marketdata Enterprises, the annual revenue for the diet industry was over $30 billion dollars in 1990” (NAAFA 465). It obviously did not work on the majority, because in the CDC article it shows that in the time span between 1991 and 1995, that the total of men and woman that are obese jumped 3.3 percent. If the diet companies were doing their job, then why is the percentage of obesity in the US still on the rise?
Obesity is a problem that plagues millions of people, and can be considered an epidemic. Social changes and the increase in fast food corporations are leading to an escalation in obesity. Diet companies are profiting from the unhealthy habits of individuals and creating a false sense of relief. The rise in obesity is a social inclination, and needs to be seen as more of a health issue, and not as a counter-culture way of life. With a decrease in obesity, our country will become more active, and current obese people will have a new found sense of heightened self-esteem