Excess Weight: Politics Or Personal Burden Essay, Research Paper
Although the “sizism” movement may have surfaced from the personal problem of an outspoken person, this movement is a political issue that needs to be addressed accordingly. Obesity is not only attributed to physiological but environmental factors as well. Americans are larger than they were 40 years ago (i.e. weigh more, are fatter, and less fit). “Approximately 55% of American adults are overweight” (Fattening 1). Many Americans resolve to lose weight, through do-it-yourself, non-clinical, or clinical means, yet there is no method that offers long-term weight loss. America’s quest to increase self-esteem and attractiveness has created profits for the weight-loss industry while 22.5% of Americans remain clinically obese (1).
Obesity is an excess of body fat. While an excess amount of total body weight including all tissues and water is classified as overweight. Obese and overweight people are characterized as lazy but a body builder with muscle mass is considered overweight but not obese. Some elderly people and “couch potatoes” are considered obese but not overweight. Body mass index is a mathematical formula express as weight in kilograms over height in meters squared. “A person with a BMI of 25 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 is indicative of clinical obesity” (Thomas 35). Despite diets, physical activity, behavior modification, drug therapy, and gastric surgery, “few people reduce their body weight to a desirable or healthy level and fewer maintain weight loss beyond two to three years” (36). This makes America fat, overweight, and even obese. The issues of size and weight are of social concern. Technology has sped up the pace of American living but it has slowed down physical activity. Americans drive everywhere they go and try to park as close as they can. What may have begun with the simple remote control has drawn America from baseball fields and parks to the television and computer screens. America no longer surfs the waves; they rather surf the net (Arzino 1). Phil Arzino writes, “We’re becoming a nation of couch potatoes that’s raising a generation of tater tots” (1). This sedimentary lifestyle effects adults as well as teenagers, toddlers, and infants.
Our culture pressures Americans to eat unhealthy through economics and convenience. For example, a commercial for a soft drink verses a commercial for bottled water. The commercials for soft drinks are loud, bold, and exciting. Vending machines charge from fifty to eighty-five cents for a soft drink while bottled water ranges from eight-five cents to a dollar. “A typical meal at a restaurant has 1000 calories, not counting the appetizer or dessert” (1). Many Americans eat away from home. The majority of fast food restaurants offer fried foods and a limited selection of healthier options if any at all.
Americans are big and heavy. They have become a society of “fat people”, whether just five pounds overweight or clinically obese. Size discrimination transcends all races, classes, and ages. Therefore there should be larger bathroom stalls and chairs at the Movie Theater. “There should be a mandate that every public building . . .be accessible to fat people” (Smith 85). It is far more than a personal grievance, its America’s handicap.
“The Fattening of America”. Today’s News Daily Briefing. July 31, 2000. 1-3.
Arzino, Phil. “The Fat-Free Fattening of America.” Personal Health. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Health Services Department, April 27, 2000. 1-2.