Is Obesity Gaining Weight?


Portion control is the latest buzzword in America’s battle with obesity. (Natalie Caudill/MCT)

Published: October 11, 2007

Obesity is becoming a growing concern, especially among our youth today.  With the spread of fast food chains replacing our daily home cooked meals, obesity is increasing rapidly.  The media and society, in general, focus more on one’s appearance than the actual risk factors of being obese, but what should really worry us are the health issues involved with being overweight and unhealthy.  If we could only stop looking at obesity with such negativity, then we would realize what’s really important: our health.

According to the American College Health Association, three out of ten students are overweight or obese.  That’s a lot of students!  The risks of being overweight are no laughing matter.  Diabetes, hypertension, coronary diseases and strokes are all dangers that could come with being overweight. However, what are we seeing in the latest magazines and television shows?  We don’t hear much about the serious factors of being overweight, but only about how being skinny is what’s in.

Society, through these magazines and television shows, has defined “fat” as being what the person of an average weight looks like. We seem to talk of being “fat” as simply a matter of being unattractive. The skinnier you are, the better, right? Not in my book; since when do we consider skin and bones to be attractive?  When did double zeros become the size young girls are trying to fit in to?  I think people forget that, like obesity, being underweight comes with a lot of problems as well.  Are we all just trying to mold into what society says is good enough?  Instead of talking about what looks good to the public, why don’t we talk about what is healthy for us?  As the hottest and newest celebrities are getting thinner and thinner, the idea put forth is the less you weigh, the better it is. People need to focus more on what is healthy for them instead of what will look good to society.

Obesity is a serious problem, which is not getting the proper attention.  There is no focus on what the real trouble is.  For instance, MTV’s show “Fat Camp” is a society-conditioned show that focuses more on the drama between teenagers, rather than the real reasons they are there.  It is more of a soap-based show, kind of like a “Real World” for people attempting to lose weight. This just goes to show how the public is not looking at the real issue—how we can strive to live in a healthy way.

Schools should be doing more to promote a healthy lifestyle, too.  College campuses do not really promote eating healthy foods; there are vending machines and soda machines all over.  I’m not saying these machines should go, but something needs to be done to promote overall awareness.  Schools can try and bring in a healthier array of food or snack options; or create small programs providing students with useful information on the subject.  Many of the students here don’t always want to eat on campus, so they grab something on the go (usually fast food).  A person’s diet has a big impact on their weight and what some people don’t know is that you don’t have to look “fat” to be obese.

Numerous young children who appear “skinny” are diagnosed as being obese because of the junk food they are constantly eating.  Researchers have found that thin people can also be obese because of the fat surrounding their essential organs, such as the heart and the liver.  Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College in London said, “Being thin doesn’t automatically mean you’re not fat. The whole concept of being fat has to be redefined.”  It’s really scary that obesity is starting so young these days and it is a severe problem that is often overlooked.  I think a person’s primary focus should be on their health.  So what if you have a few curves? Being healthy is what matters most.

We see the increase in obesity throughout the nation; exercise and healthier diets need more promotion.  Society has labeled “fatness” as being a physical condition you can see; people need to re-evaluate what they think “fat” is.  Once we stop worrying about satisfying society’s clichéd views on this subject, then we can take the first step towards overcoming this problem and make an effort to modify the way we talk about obesity in public.

We must stop looking at obesity as just being “fat;” Society makes obesity out to be a nasty little problem. All I can say is people should get the facts straight before making judgments, and we should all remember obesity can happen to any one of us.  You should concentrate on your well-being because your body should be taken care of.   Without your body, there is no you, so make the time to build its strength.  If people don’t start to care now, obesity will only continue to gain weight.