Obesity in America


Oliver (123) defines obesity as a medical condition that is characterized by the accumulation of excessive body fat which may have negative effects on health, resulting in increased health problems and reduced life expectancy. Obesity is associated with various diseases, such as heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer (Oliver 131). In America, obesity is a necessary health topic because there is a growing epidemic among the American population, both adults and children. Being obese or overweight does not just impact the individual; it negatively affects the community at large because of the financial problem it places on people (McKnight 89). Health care in America is non-affordable because large sums of money are diverted into the treatment of obesity individuals. There is a variety of suggestions concerned with the prevention of obesity or overweight among the American population. Some suggestions may effectively address the problem of obesity, while others may be ineffective.

Effective suggestions

A sedentary lifestyle is a common cause of obesity and overweight (McKnight 109). Most occupations in America have changed into less physically involving work, which has led to the increase in the number of people who do not get enough exercises. Computer technology has apparently contributed into the creation of less physically involving jobs (Oliver 134). For instance, in the previous days there were many messengers who could move letters and parcels from the sender to the receiver, but this has been changed into sending electronic mail over the Internet.  Regular physical exercise has been found to be very effective in controlling obesity in America (Oliver 136). An individual can choose several friends and move to the gymnasium for exercises. The regular exercises qualify to be effective ways of controlling obesity and overweight because they are associated with side effects or complications. Exercises help to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat, thus improving the ability of the body to burn excess calories and not converting them into fat layers (McKnight 112). Therefore, through exercises, an individual’s body mass index can be lowered, which reduces the risk of developing various complications that result to early deaths. Some physical exercises, like walking and running from home to working place, do not require an individual to spend any money, being very cheap. Another effective way of preventing and controlling obesity includes incentives that motivate individuals to alter their behaviors by changing the benefits and costs associated with the current behaviors (Oliver 142).

Some competitions are meant to encourage weight loss. Such competitions are driven by incentives like winning a large sum of money after losing the largest amount of weight, as compared to other competitors. However, weight loss is not the only factor which determines the winner, since an individual may lose a lot of weight simply because they have decided to eat little food (Oliver 143). An individual is supposed to watch the amount of calories he/she consumes on a daily basis, as well as remain physically active during the day. Physical activity ensures that more calories are burnt to release energy instead of being converted into fats under the body tissues (McKnight 117). Monetary incentives have been found effective in encouraging the obesity and overweight individuals to observe and accurately follow appropriate lifestyles, such as doing exercises regularly and consuming fewer calories (Oliver 143). Such competitions take place for a reasonable period of time so that the competitors can be able to embrace the lifestyles, even when the competition is over. On the other hand, many Americans have adopted ineffective suggestions for preventing and controlling obesity or overweight.

Ineffective suggestions

The use of drugs, such as diet pills, is another ineffective suggestion of controlling obesity and overweight, as well as promoting wellness. Drugs have been used in the treatment of obesity and overweight on the basis of altering metabolism, absorption of calories, or appetite (McKnight 124). Diet pills such as amphetamine have been associated with harmful side effects which include death (McKnight 127). Weight loss and diet pills may have inadequate dosage instructions, thus lead to various side effects including diarrhea, nervousness, racing heartbeat, bulging eyes, elevated blood pressure, and heart failure in some cases (McKnight 127). The problem of accidental overdose is very common when taking the diet pills. This is possible because most diet pills are made up of similar chemical components to other drugs, such as nasal decongestants. Therefore, diet pills are not effective in controlling obesity and overweight. Another ineffective means of controlling obesity includes surgical treatment.

Bariatric surgeries are commonly used to control obesity among the American population (McKnight 131). These surgeries are meant to reduce the size of the stomach so that to limit the amount of food an individual can be able to consume. Bariatric surgeries, for instance, Gastric Bypass surgery, are associated with a number of side effects (McKnight 131). Among the side effects are tremors, diarrhea, nausea, fever, and sweating. The surgeries may cause death due to the rise of health complications that need hospitalization. Gastric Bypass surgery is very expensive, thus most people cannot be able to pay for it (McKnight 132). The surgeries may not treat some individuals effectively because their tendency of becoming obese or overweight does not depend on the amount of food they consume. Therefore, surgery can be considered as an ineffective technique of treating obesity and overweight.


Various strategies against obesity have been embraced by Americans. Some strategies are effective in controlling obesity while others are not effective. Effective strategies include regular physical exercises and reduction in daily calorie intake (McKnight 117). Ineffective strategies include the use of drugs and surgery treatment techniques. Such strategies fail to accomplish the long-term goal of controlling obesity (McKnight 127).

Works Cited

McKnight, Thomas L. Obesity management in family practice. New York: Springer, 2006.         Print.

Oliver, J. Eric. Fat politics: the real story behind America’s obesity epidemic. Oxford: Oxford    University Press, 2006. Print.

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