Obesity in North America: Where does it end?

By Alleesha Little
Westgate Collegiate Institute
Thunder Bay, Ontario

Did you realize that more than one third of the population of North America is overweight? It's no wonder that we have one of the highest heart disease rates in the entire world.

Obesity occurs when the amount of calorie intake of a person is higher than the amount of energy that person burns off. There is no one, definite cause of obesity but genetics and environment are considered to be the main causes.

Obesity generally has a trend of running in the family, which suggest to scientists that a person's "fat problem" could be related to a person's genetic makeup. Also, people tend to eat the same things as their family members. If these foods are full of saturated fats, then one might expect that family to be fat.

For a person to have a healthy lifestyle, they have to learn how to eat right - that is, they have to eat foods with less saturated fats, and more vitamins. People have to also remember to exercise on a daily basis, or at the very least, three times a week for a half hour.

For many people, obesity is caused by lifestyle. But there are illnesses that prevent people from losing weight and actually makes them gain weight including Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism, and depression.

Women generally have more body fat than men. According to the medical profession, women with more than 30% body fat and men with more than 25% body fat are classified as obese.

Overweight people are more likely to have higher blood pressure than people who are not overweight. This ultimately is the result of heart disease and stroke which ends in death. Did you know that a person that has 40% or more body fat is more than twice as likely to die younger before they reach a ripe old age then a person with less body fat? Think about that next time you go on a binge streak of eating fast food, greasy fries, and potato chips. Do you really want to die young?

Too bad we didn't have more people like diet and exercise expert Richard Simmons in the world. (At the very least, we can thank god that we don't have more people that dress and act like him ). Is it really that hard to become a healthy, in-shape person? Yes, it is because it takes hard work and will power. We have a very lazy continent here and everyone should do their best to change that. Do it for yourself!