Obesity as a Social and Medical Problem
Obesity has become an epidemic in our over indulgent North American society. In addition to body image issues, obesity causes significant health issues. Society often views the word obesity to be a disease when it is actually a sign of a disorder; genetic or environmental. The percentage of our population that is growing overweight is increasing every year, and can become a very serious issue if it is not dealt with more urgently. Problems relating to self-confidence, self-consciousness, and isolation can occur as a result.
An enduring problem in today’s society, especially with children, has to deal with sociality. Public appearance is very important to us and when we don’t look good, or have a low self-esteem, it can lead to further issues; possibly fatal. Those with the “obese” label have to deal with social problems every single day. The fact they don’t look “normal” causes them to not fit in with the “regular crowd” and can lead to isolation issues. Being isolated from the majority of the population can lead to problems such as depression and later on, suicide. Another big influence on social problems relating to obesity is the media.
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Every day at some time, somewhere, we are watching TV, reading the newspaper, or searching the web. The media tends to give labels and meaning to words in which we get influenced on. The view that the media portrays to us is that if you are a certain weight, you are obese; and vice-versa. Another problem with the media is the amount of time our society spends on it. Time consumed on useless media takes away from time spent doing productive activities such as exercising. However, the corruption in social patterns relating to obesity isn’t the only problem. Another big factor stands on the medical side.
Obesity is a risk in a number of prolonged diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical in order to reduce the risk of those diseases and additionally, improve your overall health. Many children and youth have fewer opportunities to be physically active at school as physical education classes and time spent being physically active at school have been reduced. Being overweight or obese has many risks involved. Serious conditions such as a stroke, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes, can occur as a result; just to name a few. Linked with health problems is a poor diet.
Variations in our food environment have made it challenging to maintain a healthy weight. Society tends to want to eat more fast-food rather than cooking at home because it is cheaper and less time-consuming. We have become lazy when it comes to our diets. We don’t take into consideration the Food Guide and basically eat what we want, when we want. Obesity is also a major drain on the economy. The amount of money being spent on health care because of obesity-related diseases is astronomical. The Globe and Mail had an article headlined, “Obesity costs economy up to $7-billion a year”.
By eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, our society can cut down economic costs drastically. All we need to have is some discipline, the proper diet, and exercise. Numerous children today are spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-game console. Even worse, some schools have banned the use of balls used at recess. An article in the Toronto Star explained why such a peculiar ban took place at Earl Beatty Public School, “The letter stated that there have been a “few serious incidents” in which staff and students have been hit, or come close to being struck, by flying balls. Not only are we lacking in exercise, the catalyst for running around at recess has now been taken away for some. This issue is going to further decrease the amount of physical activity kids partake in, and increase the possibilities of obesity. Commuting to and from work also contributes to obesity when you consider that in order to get by, most families need to have at least two incomes. People often have to commute long distances to jobs, and with the minimal time for meal preparation, fast foods become a number one option.
Furthermore, having supermarkets, as well as other grocery stores open all night, more money is being spent on expensive, half-prepared meals. Children need to have a healthy example with their parents being physically active and eating healthy. Preventing children from becoming overweight means adapting to the way your family eats and exercises. Many believe that it is the parents fault when it comes to child obesity, and they’re correct. Children don’t have the discipline to eat “healthy” foods and aren’t capable of preparing home-made meals.
It is the parent’s job to influence and lead the way for our youth. If parents set a better example health-wise for their children, it is highly doubtful that the percentage of obesity would be even remotely close to where it is now. Managing and preventing obesity can lead to many societal benefits. Having healthy, positive-minded people in our cities is always encouraging. Managing obesity can lessen the stress that occurs at work, as well as create a friendlier environment. Having a good work environment has shown to raise productivity, therefore creating better capital.
Another optimistic result from obesity management in society is the discipline factor. If those that are overweight can overcome a huge default in their life, by working hard and staying focused, it will then translate into other aspects of their day-to-day lives. Our society will become that of a disciplined one, therefore work will become more productive because there is better focus on the tasks at hand; furthermore, children in school will become more confident because of how hard they worked as well as their new self-image.
Overall, if our world can manage and prevent obesity, living can ultimately consist more of positive vibes and less of anxiety. In conclusion, it is clear we have a serious issue with obesity that impacts many aspects of people’s lives. It is an austere condition that doesn’t get monitored with enough concern. Possibilities such as Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes from being overweight. Medical, as well as social research can help people further comprehend that weight and obesity issues are vastly social, not individual. We have to start working together on fighting obesity.
We are a lazy society and we tend to make things harder than they really are. If society works together to help those in need by giving them the courage and confidence needed to make a personal change, this unnecessary burden called obesity can be upheld. It all starts with the right diet as well as exercise and a strong commitment. As little as ten minutes a day on the bike can improve one’s health. The ball is in our court, and stronger action needs to be taken. We need to start now because the benefits to individuals as well as society are well worth the effort.