The Obesity Epidemic in America

By Adriana Martinez

Double doubles, chicken nuggets, and McFlurries have taken over our vocabulary when deciding what to eat. More and more Americans today are choosing to eat fast foods and microwaved lunches. Despite the low cost of these foods, they are costing us our health. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, over 1 in every 3 adults is considered to be overweight or obese. One in every thirteen adults is considered to be suffering from extreme obesity. Our kids are suffering as well, 1 in 6 children, ages of 2 to 19 have been declared overweight.

Due to this epidemic in the U.S. we must ask the question, what is the average American eating on a daily basis? This can range from race, religion, and class but at the end of the day, statistics show the average Americans who are obese are families with lower incomes.

While grocery shopping, Americans are looking at the prices and not what’s in the foods they’re buying. Processed foods like potato chips and microwaved lunches contain unknown chemicals that the average American will shadow over because it’s foreign to them. People are buying foods without truly knowing the effects of what these foods can do to their health. There are chemicals with GMO’s and high corn fructose syrup that not many people are aware of.

Along with these processed foods, advertising has shifted towards children companies are enticing them with prizes in their cereal boxes. Based on the Netflix documentary Fed U, companies like Kellogg’s are planting kids favorite superheroes or cartoon characters onto their boxes causing kids to be attracted to these foods. What is a parent to do when they see their kid happy and excited to try their new “favorite cereal”?

The effects of these foods are harming the health of both kids’ and adults’. Over time, eating these foods are damaging the health of the American people by contributing to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart concerns, and massive weight gain. Today if an American chose to shift to a healthier lifestyle the Huffington Post reports it would cost an extra $550 a year due to the high costs in healthier substitutions. Not many people in America have the income or access to these foods in today’s wave of poverty. The American people are stuck in a position of having to balance their choice of foods and income just to live a longer, healthier life.

The Obesity Epidemic in America begs the question, is the reason our belts continue stretching in the United States because our foods are in the hands of businesses that only believe in sales and not in what they’re putting down our throats?

Senior Andrea Franco shares her perspective on the Obesity Epidemic in America: “I understand why people in the U.S. are overweight because of what’s fed and sold to us on a daily basis. Not everything on the shelves is healthy or even relatively safe for our bodies. It’s a horrible thing that businesses are allowing their products to be sold with these harmful chemicals.”

She then shares her opinion on the difference of prices of healthier food compared to processed foods. “I had noticed here and there the difference in cost but now it’s shockingly apparent. It is a bit ironic that America is being screamed at for eating unhealthy foods, when healthier foods are so expensive.”