I just got news that I scored a grade of “A” on one of the papers I submitted to my Women’s Global Health (a Women’s and Gender Studies course) professor this semester. The subject of the paper is one that I am VERY passionate about and working toward earning the credentials that will help me in helping others who suffer from this particular illness which lead to other life threatening illnesses and disease. Black women in this country suffer the most from obesity…as I once did.
As a Nutritional Sciences major, this topic is right up my alley so it was a pleasure to research and write about. I am not fond of this specific course as a whole, but when we were told we could choose an illness that affects women to write about “obesity” popped into my head. Obesity came up like once and in one sentence during the entire 15 weeks of class which drove me nuts, but the class is about women’s movements who work globally to lobby for women’s rights and their rights to quality healthcare that also includes topics of domestic violence, abortion, maternal mortality, AIDS/HIV, etc. in southern countries like some countries in Africa, rural places in India, China, etc.
Obesity and other illnesses attached to it is what made me change my life and since 2008 I have been in tune with my body ever since. I am no longer obese and I am so very proud of it. I feel better and live better because I changed my life.
My school is going to be circulating my paper as an example of an “A” paper WITHOUT MY NAME so I’m going to post it here letting everyone it’s my paper + plus I want to share this important information with everyone.
Here is my “A” paper. Obesity kills people. Know that.
Women’s Global Health
December 2, 2013
The Obesity Epidemic in America
When anyone is asked what are some of the illnesses and societal issues that affect women, especially Black-American women, on a large scale obesity is forgotten or does not come to mind at all. The issue of obesity in America has been under scrutiny and vilified as “an indiscretion, and almost a crime” for over a century instead as a legitimate health condition that deserves a cure. (Kersh & Morone 143) Obesity affects a large number of women in southern countries, but it is more prevalent in northern countries as well with the United States of America (USA) being number one on its list. The USA is the land of the free and the home of the cheap, where poverty exists and is on the rise, where education is being minimized and where healthcare is the most expensive. Some seem to think that “obesity arises in large part from private behavior”, but they forget that socioeconomic factors also plays a major role which results in obesity. (Kersh & Morone 142)
The World Health Organization defines the term obesity as, “a disease and is de?ned as the condition of excess body fat to the extent that health is impaired.” (Wang and Beydoun 6) Researchers explained that “minority and low-socioeconomic-status groups are disproportionately affected (by obesity) at all ages” with an annual percentage range increase “from 0.3 to 0.9 percentage points across groups.” (Wang and Beydoun 6) Obesity is also “an unintended consequence of economic, social and technological advance.” (Pi-Sunyer 97s) Obesity is not only about being seen as overweight person, but it is about how obesity affects the human body in negative ways and how the obesity epidemic affects people within their society. Obesity ultimately causes illnesses like “hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease and certain malignancies” as well as high cholesterol, aneurism and stroke that which all eventually leads to morbidity and or death. (Pi-Sunyer 97s) “Obesity has become the second leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, second only to tobacco use.” (Wang and Beydoun 22) An activist has even gone as far as to say that obesity is “North Americans ‘sedentary suicide’” which is due to the advancement and “labor-saving technologies” that “have greatly reduced the amount of physical activity that used to be part of everyday life.” (Kersh & Morone & Morone 152 and Pi Sunyer 97s) Obesity affects mental health which causes depression that has the ability to inflict “changes in people’s eating behaviors, physical activity and inactivity patterns, occupation, development of technology, culture exchange, and global trade”, not only on an individual level, but also on population and international levels as well as in social environments. (Wang and Beydoun 24) Obesity can also draw discrimination and “popular prejudice” into the lives of the obese that economically affects obese people resulting in the rejection of unemployment because of the way one looks, are subjected to the humiliation of having to buy two or three seats on an airplane to gain admission, being refused altogether or having to pay extra at an “all you can eat” restaurant, etc. (Kersh & Morone & Morone 145)
There is a clear “relation between socioeconomic status and obesity” which “adversely affect one’s opportunities for education, occupation, and marriage.” (Wang and Beydoun 11) Though obesity is considered to be an epidemic and a “public health crises” by today’s standards, it is not taken seriously as cancer, alcoholism, many other type of disease or addiction. (Wang and Beydoun 11) Black-American women lead “20 percentage points higher than among white women” and also higher than any other racial group. (Wang and Beydoun 3) In regards to the black girl child and adolescents, obesity is prevalent among them over any other ethnic group within the USA. (Wang and Beydoun 18) Their obesity rates “higher in urban than in rural areas”. (Wang and Beydoun 19) Wang and Beydoun’s research projected that “by 2015, the prevalence of obesity among adults will reach 40.8 percent among all and as high as 62.5 percent among non-Hispanic Black women.” (Wang and Beydoun 22)
Other causes of obesity can be any sort of abuse, an unregulated food industry, non-existent food and nutrition policies, poverty, racism, low-income households, lack of healthcare, lack of education, “vampire capitalism” and other socioeconomic disparities. Globalization does not only affect lands outside of the United States borders, but it also affects the majority of Americans within its own borders. Though its citizens buy into the “myth of self-reliance” with the support and illusion of freedom to make personal, private choices. (Hersh 142) Obesity is a result and though common, is not welcomed by this society at all. The current society “provides Americans with abundant food at a relatively low cost”, “the increase in portion size” and sedentary activity fuels the obesity epidemic in the United States. (Wang and Beydoun 24) A lot of Americans are fully aware of and are concerned about how obesity negatively affects their lives. Afterall, these obese people and who have helped to contribute billions of dollars annually into the “diet industry”. (Kersh & Morone 143)
There are a number of efforts going on to fight the battle of obesity. This is like saying as long as we keep them obese we will keep making billions. 1. The federal government decided, to start using its funds to “publicize obesity’s dangers” in the 1970s after decades of ignoring the obesity epidemic. (Kersh & Morone 144). The problem with government regulating obesity is considered to most Americans as a “government regulation of personal behavior”: which is a direct violation of personal freedom. (Kersh & Morone 145) 2. Obesity organizations, which are mostly “self-help” private sector groups like Overeaters Anonymous and Weight Watchers, help to “target personal behavior—specifically, diet and consumption habits” and provides emotional support on a spiritual, religious-based level. (Kersh & Morone 144) 3. The demonization of the fast-food industry has made effective and long lasting gains in the fight against obesity. Those who were targeted were “corporate villains…seeking profits by peddling poison” which are a part of the “greedy industry” the “lures children into destructive habits.” (Kersh & Morone 146) The poisons resides in low-nutrition and high-fat foods that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like wheat and corn especially, harmful artificial sweeteners, and much more that causes food addiction and obesity. The main arguments against the fast-food industry spiked the attention from the general public and the government unlike any other anti-obesity initiative has ever before. The arguments, from Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation, were that the fast food industry “trashed the American countryside, widened the gap between rich and poor, reconstructed the entire meat-packing industry (in regard to working conditions) and cynically fed an obesity epidemic” that resulted in “emotional pain, low self-esteem and widespread illness and death.” (Kersh & Morone 146) These sponsors of the obesity epidemic prey on the eating habits of Americans to get rich. It is said that when critics of any industry successfully starts a change in the culture of society that the government will politically intervene moving aside “privacy, civil liberties, property rights, and the observation that ‘everyone does it’” in order to do it. (Kersh & Morone 147) 4. There are no mass movements in existence to oppose the obesity epidemic. Activists use demonization of industry, ongoing interest-group pressure on the government and filing lawsuits against the food industry as a way to force changes due to lack of support from the general public. What does not help the anti-obesity cause is the “strong and savvy lobbying by the food industry and its supporters” who fight for their own cause. (Kersh & Morone 148) 5. Since there is currently no way to get direct political support or regulations to fight obesity from the public or the state and federal government many organizations have used their resources to advocate “efforts to improve dietary habits” like the promotion of low-fat, low-cholesterol diets and increased exercise.” (Kersh & Morone 148) In regard to dietary habits advocacy, the actors in the fight against obesity is the American Heart Association (AHA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 6. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working on improving policies in regard to food advertisements and food labels. 7. On the federal and state front, the actors who work on the regulation of food “production, distribution and consumption” is “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of Commerce, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), etc. “Yet no regulations exist to control the production or consumption f low-nutrition, high-fat foods, even within government programs.” (Hersh 150)
What should be done differently when it comes to fighting the obesity epidemic is to get the federal and state governments, along with their current “regulatory efforts” and food programs to inject the people’s tax dollars into nutritional programs that can be attached to employer based programs (public and private), mandate anti-obesity courses into public school curricula at every grade level, implement a tax break on gym memberships to those who use them, and mandate that doctors to be certified in a basic nutrition program on the preventive care level or require a Nutritionist or Dietician on staff for every five doctors to have on hand to teach basic knowledge of nutrition, how metabolism works, what the body mass index is, how to recognize emotional eaters by recommending counseling, and to recommend which physical activity types to participate in to their patients, employees and students. Most people who are obese do not have a basic understanding of what nutrition or fitness is because being body and brain healthy is not a major concern within our cultural society. Efforts like these can benefit women on the doctor-patient level and can teach women how to feed themselves and their families properly.
Title: The politics of obesity: Seven steps to government action
Author(s): Kersh, R ; Morone, J
Source: HEALTH AFFAIRS Volume: 21 Issue: 6 Pages: 142-153 DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.21.6.142 Published: NOV-DEC 2002
Youfa Wang and May A. Beydoun
The Obesity Epidemic in the United States—Gender, Age, Socioeconomic, Racial/Ethnic, and Geographic Characteristics: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression Analysis Epidemiol Rev (2007) 29 (1): 6-28 first published online May 17, 2007 doi:10.1093/epirev/mxm007
F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer
The Obesity Epidemic: Pathophysiology and Consequences of Obesity