In a society motivated by quick service, unhealthy foods, lack of exercise and eating more, it’s easy to see why Americans are growing more and more obese.

According to a 2007 study done by The Obesity Society, 25.6 percent of the American population is obese. Texas is above that average with 26.1 percent of all Texans considered obese.

The American society is greatly influenced by the dollar. This has a significant impact on the food industry. People are always in a rush trying to get things done or trying to go somewhere. No one seems to have the time or energy to make homemade meals anymore. Quick service always seems to be the best way to go. This affects college students as well. Lots of people have heard of the dreaded “freshman 15,” but at the rate that obesity is growing, it’s safe to now upgrade to the “freshman 25.” Lack of time and energy are two reasons that motivate most college students to reach for a Whopper or Big Mac instead of trying to make a meal or find a healthy alternative.

Some students gain weight because of binge eating. Instead of eating at regular times throughout the day, they wait to eat until they’re almost starving and then eat as much as they physically can. This can lead to obesity.

Lack of exercise is probably the biggest cause of obesity in college kids, especially since the rise of the electronic era. Students sit all day in a classroom studying or doing homework and then go home to computers and video games. There isn’t any motivation to work out. Students are physically and mentally exhausted and don’t think they can handle the gym. What most students fail to realize is that any little bit of exercise helps. Whether it’s walking up-stairs to class instead of taking the elevator or parking a little farther in the parking lot and walking to get to the car.

Another issue is that health food has gotten a bad reputation for tasting less than delicious. Health food may not taste as good as junk food but it is definitely better for you. According to Burger King’s nutrition website, a Whopper has 40 grams of fat with 670 calories. According to McDonald’s nutrition website, a Big Mac has 29 grams of fat with 540 calories. That might not seem like a lot but a pound of fat equals 3500 calories. So if you ate a Whopper every day for one week, you would gain a pound. In the land of value meals where every combo equals pounds, weight can add on faster than you can say “supersize.”

Balance is the key word when it comes to solving the weight epidemic. It’s not fair to suggest that someone could become a health guru overnight and it’s not fair to dictate to people what they should and shouldn’t be eating. Watching what you eat and how much can help create a balance. For example, don’t deprive yourself of the occasional cupcake for the sake of losing weight. It’s all about control.

There are consequences for not taking care of our bodies. According to a report published by The New England Journal of Medicine, obesity can take five to 20 years off of your life. Obesity can also lead to type II diabetes and heart disease among other conditions. It’s our job to take care of our bodies before we die at a young age and leave behind problems for future generations without leaving good examples behind.

More exercise, keeping a better eye on what you eat and doing small things to increase physical activity can help slow down the obesity problem. As the next generation we need to set some sort of example or we won’t be around to set one at all.

 

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