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Data Commentary on Obesity Essay

After reading and evaluating six articles written by experts on obesity, the data seems to imply that better educating people about how their behavioral lifestyle choices effect their future and current health is the best solution. The six journal articles evaluated and analyzed include: David Freedman’s article, “How to Fix the Obesity Epidemic,” published in Scientific American in 2011. Green Gregory’s article, “Physical Activity and Childhood Obesity: Strategies and Solutions for Schools and Parents,” published in Education in 2012. Micheal Wietings article, “Cause and Effect of Childhood Obestiy: Solutions for a National Epidemic,” published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in 2008. George Blackburn’s article, “ Science Based Solutions to Obesity: What are the Roles of Academia, Government, Industry, and Healthcare,” published in 2005 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. As well as, “Obesity Solutions: Report of a meeting,” published in Nutrition Reviews in 1997. Kate Dailey’s article “ Can Laws fix the Obesity Crisis,” published in Newsweek in 2010

In his article, “How to Fix the Obesity Crisis” David Freedman explores topics such as how the US has blindly gone down the path of obesity, what researchers are doing currently to fix the problem, and how these solutions will pan out over future generations. Obese people cost the government millions in medical bills each year while the problem has not hindered. One problem with the research is that many findings challenge one another, which leads to contradicting solutions. Freedman focuses on weight loss programs, such as weight watchers, which have proved successful over recent years. As well as how they have been able to attain success. These programs have shed positive light on the issue, unfortunately there is no way to know if they can maintain success over time and larger populations.

David Freedman is a senior editor at Forbes ASAP, and has appeared in many respected journals, such as The Harvard Business Review. The information and statistics stated in his paper are backed by research scientists from respected schools, such as John Hopkins University of School and Medicine, as well as the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Freedman also cites journals such as the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He begins his arguments by stating facts or statistics from these credible sources, then explains how and why they are relevant, creating a non-biased argument on the issue. The article was written in 2011 and cites statistics as recent as 2010 making all information relevant to the issue as it stands presently.

Some experts believe that it is partly the government’s responsibility to fix the problems associated with obesity. Kate Dailey explores this issue in her article, “Can Laws Fix the Obesity Crisis?” Movements in larger cities such as San Francisco put bans on restaurants, such as McDonalds for advertising high caloric food without also advertising the nutritional facts. These efforts are often shot down early by government officials because of the financial impact they have on corporations. Even when government funds obesity fixes their efforts are too often based on a “best guess” basis because results of an action are difficult to quantify.

Kate Dailey utilizes actual actions governments have taken against obesity in American cities and explains the results that stem from these actions. Newspapers such as the LA Times and San Fransisco Chronicle are primary accounts finding first-hand how these experiments have faired upon implementation. Kate is a senior articles editor at Newsweek, and she reviews hundreds of articles on a broad variety of issues each week. In her article she states both positive and negative impacts of the government taking a stand on obesity, allowing readers to make their own conclusions on the issue.

Adult obesity is often preceded by childhood obesity, Gregory Green explores this issue in his article “Physical Activity and Childhood Obesity : Strategies and Solutions for Schools and Parents.” The youth of today spend more time on passive sedentary activities than they do any others. This leaves youth not only inactive but also exposed to the ruthless world of advertising by food conglomerates. Obesity does not merely hinder youth physically but mentally as well; once youth see themselves a certain way it is difficult to dissuade their thinking. Parents and schools can play a major role in assisting children by educating them and giving only healthy options when eating.

Gregory Green is a Professor at Fort State Valley University where he teaches Health and Physical Education department on top of being the university’s Faculty Athletics Representative . Green consistently cites the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in his article, the leading center for all things disease related, as well as a plethora of articles written by his peers. Green utilizes facts to support claims throughout the paper, which allows him to leave personal opinion and bias out of context.

Michael Wieting also explores causes to childhood obesity, and how it links to a lifetime of obesity. Obesity is a caused by “attacks” on multiple fronts, such as lack of education, genetic factors, and negative advertising by the food industry. Societal factors play large roles against obese children. In urban neighborhoods there is often a lack of open area for activity. Urban areas also lack supermarkets where the healthy food is located. Only in realizing the many causes of obesity is it possible to brainstorm solutions. Advocacy and regulation can play a large role in prevention of the problem while physicians consistently research medical solutions for the obese community.

Michael Wieting is a professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Lincoln Memorial University where he is also the Dean of Clinical Medicine. Like Green, Wieting cites the Center for Disease Control and Prevention often throughout his paper. Wieting acknowledges different causes and solutions in his paper, and pulls information from many different scholarly papers written by his peers. His paper avoids bias by explaining multiple viewpoints on the issue, which allows the reader to interpret and make conclusions without any sway from the author. The article was written in 2008 and cites sources from the same year, making the statistics relevant relevant and current information.

George Blackburn reminds readers about the science behind the epidemic of obesity in his article, “Science Based Solutions to Obesity: What are the Roles of Academia, Government, Industry, and Healthcare.” Scientists are constantly researching reasons behind why some people are obese as well as possible scientific solutions that go beyond the everyday “go to the gym” solution. As obesity kills more and more people each year, medical institutions are making a point to study the biochemistry behind the issue.

Blackburn is an expert in the field of healthcare and nutrition, he currently works as the Associate Director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard University. Blackburn is on the cutting edge of healthcare information concerning nutrition, which is pertinent to the matter of obesity and fixing the effects obesity has had on the country. The article was written in 2005, however, none of the information in the article has been disproved since the time of publication, which means it is all pertinent to the issue. Blackburn also leaves personal opinion out of the discussion by stating proven facts and explaining why the facts are detrimental to our well-being.

In 1997 a workshop entitled “Obesity Solutions” was held at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City in order to address the problem of obesity spreading across America. Scientists had begun finding reasons for obesity which went beyond merely overeating and lack of exercise. Genes in the body and proteins encoded by those genes were found to be one of the many causes for obesity. While nutritional food intake and exercise could greatly impact obesity those new discoveries can yield freedoms to obese people they had never before experienced. This report was groundbreaking and paved the way for millions of dollars in obesity research over the decade that followed.

Twelve medical professionals had input in the “obesity solutions” workshop, all of which were qualified by respected institutions to be part of the research. Although the research is almost fifteen years old it has been the starting pad for larger discoveries and remains as relevant as it was when it was first discovered. Science remains immune to personal bias because results are not interpreted, they are stated. The scientists thoughts and opinions on the topic are absent, therefore having no impact on the paper.

The scientific and nutritional community agree that obesity needs to be put to an end as soon as possible for the benefit of all. Experts do not always agree as to the best possible solutions to the problem. They argue that certain solutions can bring about better results than others. Obesity may be solved through government lobbying and intervention, through medical intervention utilizing pharmaceutical drugs or surgery, or behavior modification of obese through healthy eating and exercise..

The government plays a huge role in American citizens’ lives even if most people do not notice or realize. The government regulates what we see on television, what the food industry can and can not do, as well as the curriculum American children are taught in school every single day. The government should be taking steps to end the biggest killer in America: obesity. Blackburn argues, “the need to update and refine school curricula as a key objective in the fight against obesity.” (Blackburn) This is pertinent to success in defeating obesity because there is an unacceptable health illiteracy in America currently.

Kids are not taught how to eat healthy until they take health class in tenth grade in most school districts today. Not only are they kept in the dark when it comes to nutritional information, they are not given the opportunity to combat obesity through physical activity. Wieting cites the CDC, “participation in physical education has declined 30% in the past decade.” (Wieting) This is a direct result of government interference in Wietings opinion due to “state and federal pressure to improve performance on proficiency tests by reducing-or eliminating-time for recess and physical education classes.” (Wieting) This proves that governments are more worried about bringing tax dollars home than maintaining a healthy lifestyle within the community it serves.

Some argue that the government is taking measures to “combat obesity” when in reality they have no effect on the problem. Communities are different all over the country, and “it’s difficult to evaluate the success rates or determine whether what works in one place will play well in another.” (Dailey) In other words, this means it is difficult to implement the same plans in places where climate psychographics are drastically different. In order to succeed, experimentation will have to take place around the country and implementation of different solutions must occur in order to find out what the most successful approach is.

The scientific community can gives a helping hand not only in research of the obesity cause, but also scientific solutions. Scientists are able to discover which types of nutrients are able to help the body shed fat. In 1997 at the “obesity meeting” in New York it was discovered that, “high protein diets provide the best short term results, however long term effects are similar, if not the same than most diets.” (Albu) This is important for those just beginning to diet, proving that encouraging beginnings to weight loss positively correlates to successful behavior modification.

Scientists have discovered differences in the genotypes of healthy people compared to those of obese people. Genes code for different types of proteins in the body, which have specific jobs to do in maintaining health. the protein Leptin is meant to control the body’s food intake, to tell the body it is full when it has had enough to eat. The New York meeting discovered that “circulating leptin is reduced in obese subjects during times of hypocaloric intake.” (Albu) Obese people do not stop eating because their brains fail to receive the message that they are full; instead they continue to eat an unhealthy amount of food.

Behavior modification and lifestyle changes continue to be the front runner as a cure to the epidemic. “Programs based on behavioral principles are more likely to help people take and keep off weight than other approaches.” (Freedman) This is the conclusion of a study that was funded by weight watchers, completed by an unbiased third party. The conclusions find that changes in lifestyle by consistently tracking calorie intake, keeping an exercise journal, and recording weight values weekly. are frontrunners the cure for obesity. Weight loss does not happen quickly, but rather at a snails pace and long term change is critical.

Today children are brought up into obese lifestyles which they have no control over. Often times obese children know nothing about healthy meal choices or the positive impact of exercise. “Today’s children spend hours participating in sedentary activities, and eat more fast food and vending machine food than older generations have in the past.” (Green) Green argues that the lifestyle that Generation Y is being raised in and the social norms that they have been taught are acceptable encourage obese behavior.

It is clear that obesity is caused by a multitude of problems ranging from medical conditions which people have no control over, to lifestyle choices which obese people are encouraged to act proactively about. Continued scientific research allows the community to better understand what causes obesity in certain cases. Research may also lead to an end all be all solution to obesity that could save the lives of millions. It is also clear that taking an active part in changing lifestyle can dramatically improve the future wellbeing of the country. Actively teaching people about the negative impacts their choices have on their own lives could save many misinformed, uneducated people.

The data seems to imply that better educating people about how their behavioral lifestyle choices effect their future and current health is the best solution. An education system that stresses healthy living through better eating habits as well as an emphasis on physical education could help to fix the behavioral problems seen in many obese victims.

Work Cited
Albu, J., Allison, D., Boozer, C. N., Heymsfield, S., Kissileff, H., Kretser, A., Krumhar, K., Leibel, R., Nonas, C., Pi-Sunyer, X., Vanltallie, T. and Wedral, E. (1997), Obesity Solutions: Report of a Meeting. Nutrition Reviews, 55: 150–156. Web. 2 Mar. 2014 Blackburn, George L., and Allan Walker. “Science-based Solutions to Obesity: What Are the Roles of
Academia, Government, Industry, and Health Care?” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 82.1 (2005): 2075-105. Web. 2 Mar. 2014. Dailey, Kate. “Can Laws Fix The Obesity Crisis?” Newsweek.com 16 Nov. 2010. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Mar. 2014. Freedman, David H. “How To Fix The Obesity Crisis.” Scientific American 304.2 (2011): 40-47. Military and Government Collection. Web. 2 Mar. 2014 Green, Gregory, Brenda Hargrove, and Clarence Riley. “Physical activity and childhood obesity: strategies and solutions for schools and parents.” Education 132.4 (2012): 915+. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Mar. 2014 Wieting, Micheal J. “Cause and Effect of Childhood Obesity: Solutions for a National Epidemic.” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 108.10 (2008): 545-52. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.

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