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Syed Furqan Sayeedi

The Heavy Issue
Obesity. A word that not many wish was associated with them. In fact, at least 33% of
boys and 39% of girls are inflicted by it (Johnson). The hard truth is, that those numbers do not
stop there. Obesity is now the second leading cause of death in the U.S and is likely to become
the first (Johnson). The statistics cannot be ignored, obesity is and will continue to be something
that we must focus our efforts on in order to stop it. We see many advances in medicine today,
new ways to deal with the aftermath of obesity but none of them actually help to solve the
problem. We must look at the cause, the reason that obesity is running wild. There are many
factors that contribute to this problem, but the two main causes are environmental factors and
social pressures. These two factors (environment and society) combined, are the reason that
obesity is on the rise.

The environment is a large factor in this issue because of one main reason, it is hard to
escape from. The environment, our surroundings, influence us in many ways, but two specific
examples of the environment directly influencing us is through corporate promotions and
financial factors. Corporate promotions of fast food industries through the means of ads create a
public influence that the consummation of the product is something that is "okay" to do or
acceptable. Some companies go as far as to misrepresent data to the public in order to promote
their product. This case can be seen in "Coca-Cola's Get Fit" program where they hired scientists
to "deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and type-2
obesity" (O'Conner). In addition the companies further promote their products by playing on the
financial status of many people and reducing the availability of healthy foods. Now, people have
less access to stores and supermarkets that sell healthy, affordable food such as fruits and

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vegetables, especially in rural, minority, and lower-income neighborhoods (Childhood Obesity).

These combined effects just serve to reject the chance of acquiring healthy foods and push the
choice of unhealthy foods on people who have no other choice to live.

The second factor that contributes to this epidemic of obesity is social pressures. Social
pressures are even harder to escape then environmental pressures. Human beings are social
creatures and have an affinity for interactions with others. This is the strength of the human race
as well as a weakness, for our social nature tends to influence us sometimes in bad ways. First of
all the shift of society has changed from a view of healthy activity to that of a view dominated by
convenience and cars. Opportunities for physical activity are declining especially in our nation's
secondary schools (Johnson). This is true in the sense of our reliance on motor vehicles and other
uses of mass transportation to get around, most people have a car and getting a licence has
become "a rite of passage" for many teens around the world.Second of all, the shift of activity is
now being looked at in a different light and the shift towards eating is becoming more
common.Sports are becoming more like a job, the focus has become winning, not having fun
(Young). And instead, people who hang out with their friends tend to eat out (Faust). Society has
effectively placed pressure on the validity of physical activity by over shining it with things like
convenience and has promoted the consumption of food instead as the new way to enjoy life with

These two issues are related to each other perfectly. One compliments the other and they
keep going unless we take action to stop them. The environment changes and provides the
opportunity for a social norm to dominate. Right now, this social norm is promoting bad eating
habits and cutting out the physical activity we need. If we are to change our mindset, we must

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first change the environmental pressures that fast-food companies and government place on us in
order to change the view people are taking on life. Obesity is not incurable, we just all have to
strive for the change.

Works Cited
"Childhood Obesity Causes & Consequences." Centers For Disease Control And Prevention. US
Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web.
Faust, Eric. "The Obesity Epidemic Sweeping Across The Middle East." YouTube. YouTube, n.d.
Web. 05 Nov. 2015.

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Johnson, Suzanne Bennett. "Childhood Obesity: A Psychologists View of the Way Forward."
American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association, n.d. Web.
Johnson, Suzanne Bennett, PhD. "The Nations Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Health Disparities
in the Making." American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association,
n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.
O'Connor, Anahad. "Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad
Diets." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 09 Aug. 2015. Web. 05 Nov.
Young, Matt. "Fixing the Childhood Obesity Epidemic." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 05 Nov.