By Tahmid Ahmed
Contrary to popular belief, America is not the greatest country in the world, especially in terms of its health care.
In the United States, one out of every four people are obese. That’s about 79 million people affected in total.
Additionally, about 13.7% of American high school students are obese. In New York itself, that number ranges from 10-14.9%. Although New York’s high school obesity rankings have dropped significantly over the past few years, that doesn’t mean we should focus on a slice of pie and not the whole.
This is especially true when one looks at many other states like Kentucky or Texas, whose youth are getting unhealthier year after year.
According to the American Medical Association, obesity is classified as a disease. I like to think of obesity more as a condition. The reason why I say this is because by using the word disease, it instigates fear.
Obesity is either caused by genetic malfunction in your endocrine system, or by a poor diet. It just doesn’t seem to correlate with the dictionary meaning of a disease.
Also, it is important to remember that obesity isn’t necessarily a fatal condition. In fact, it’s one of few “diseases” that can be cured rather easily. It’s not treated by drugs with a harrowing list of side-effects, or painful injections. The only real cure is conducted by the decision-making of the holder of the condition.
Stephen Gigliello, a physical education teacher says that “People can be healthy by eating right. They don’t even need to be on a diets. Also, people should exercise every day to maintain in form. Just walking for twenty minutes can help a lot.”
Eating right and exercising can be a vehicle to healthiness in one’s life. Losing weight can be a hard thing to do, but one must take those risks to save his/her own life.
Due to its widespread epidemic, obesity has gained the attention of state legislatures, which is why there are new laws such as requiring fast food restaurants to include the number of calories in their menus or beverages.
Shaping policy-making is one important step in the right direction for the fight against obesity, and it’s a step that Americans have to continue to take.
But overcoming obesity will take time. Until then, we should pay attention to the resources that are available to us. We tend to be ignorant about campaigns like Play 60 or flip the channel whenever we see a health advertisement, but these campaigns aren’t doing it for money or marketing—they’re doing it to help our society.
Obesity has been attempting to conquer the United States for quite some time, but there are many countermeasures that lie ahead. By applying fundamentals like eating right and exercising, one should see a drastic change in his/her weight as well as a healthier nation for all.