Obesity In Today's Society

The trend now in modern-day America is that it is a changing environment which has broadened food options and eating habits. The thousands of grocery stores have stocked their shelves with a greater selection of products. Foods that come in pre-packaged containers, fast food restaurants, and soft drinks are also more accessible.

Even though such foods are fast and convenient they also tend to be high in fat, sugar, and calories. Choosing many foods from these areas may contribute to an excessive calorie intake. Some foods are marketed as healthy, low fat, or fat-free, but may contain more calories than the fat containing food they are designed to replace.

Obesity is certainly a problem that should be taken seriously. According to the Media Awareness Network, in the United States, obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of death. The occurrence in obesity, especially in children, will likely cut life expectancy, reversing two centuries of uninterrupted progress. According to researchers who published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the excess weight problems and obesity now affecting almost two-thirds of Americans is increasing heart attack, cancer and diabetes risk.

Just who exactly is at risk of obesity? For one, people who are socio-economically disadvantaged have to bear disproportionately high obesity rates. As people age, overweight and obesity increase. This increase is partly due to physiological factors and partly a consequence of reduced physical activity. Other at-risk groups are people who consume an energy dense diet (for example, a diet high in fat and sugar), people who do not engage in sport or sufficient physical activity, and children, particularly those with a genetic predisposition to obesity.

Overweight and obesity are associated with a number of threats to health and wellbeing. Both conditions are major risk factors for a wide range of medical and psychosocial problems including:  chronic, non-communicable diseases, which lead to disability and death like, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and some cancers; debilitating conditions, which can drastically reduce quality of life and are costly in terms of absence from work and use of health resources including osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, respiratory difficulties, infertility and skin problems; psychological problems such as clinical depression, lowered self-esteem, job discrimination and other forms of social stigmatization.

In conclusion, many personal, family, social and environmental factors influence food choice and eating habits. Over the years, there has certainly been a substantial increase in the number of meals prepared and/or eaten outside the home, with an estimated one-third of calories and almost half of total food dollars being spent on food purchased from and/or eaten at restaurants and other food-service establishments.

Further, it is difficult for consumers to limit their intake of calories at restaurants, given the limited availability of nutrition information, as well as the popular practice by many restaurants of providing foods in larger-than-standard servings and "super-sized" portions. These are the types of things that modern-day American needs to deal with. From the different causes of obesity to the various results of not being productive because of health reasons, American should be able to address the obesity issue before it explodes to horrendous proportions.