Hailey C. California


Obesity is taking over America at an unhealthy rate. Lets use our resources to overcome, fix, this problem.

Dear Mr. or Madam President,

What do you see America as? A diverse, strong country? Take a deeper look. Obesity has taken over America and I'm not the only person who sees that. Other countries see our nation only to be fat. I want to change that. Did you know that about 20 years ago there wasn't a single state that had over 15% of obese people? Now there's 41 states that have about 25% of obese people.

Understanding how you can get obese is a key component to try not to go down that path. In the article “what causes overweight and obesity” the author says "A lack of energy balance most often causes overweight and obesity. Energy balance means that your energy IN equals your energy OUT. Energy IN is the amount of energy or calories you get from food and drinks. Energy OUT is the amount of energy your body uses for things like breathing, digesting, and being physically active. To maintain a healthy weight, your energy IN and OUT don't have to balance exactly every day. It's the balance over time that helps you maintain a healthy weight. The same amount of energy IN and energy OUT over time = weight stays the same More energy IN than energy OUT over time = weight gain More energy OUT than energy IN over time = weight loss Overweight and obesity happen over time when you take in more calories than you use." (“What Causes Overweight and Obesity?”). Basically, most people in America have more energy IN than OUT. This matters because it’s a problem our nation needs to fix. Right now, America is not healthy.

If you want to fix the obesity problem than you need to support it. The article “What Causes Overweight and Obesity?” The author claims that "Our environment doesn't support healthy lifestyle habits; in fact, it encourages obesity. Some reasons include: Lack of neighborhood sidewalks and safe places for recreation. Not having area parks, trails, sidewalks, and affordable gyms makes it hard for people to be physically active." This reminds me of my small town, Yreka. In some areas the sidewalks are not in great condition to have people walk or run on. Another problem is Yreka only has one park which is legitimately safe and that is Greenhorn Park. The other parks we have are not exactly safe. Many drug deals happen in our parks and in the town in general, but that’s another issue to address at a different time. The same article claims "People often say that they don't have time to be physically active because of long work hours and time spent commuting” I hear this from most adults I know. I know if you write down everything you do in a regular day, you will have time to get off the couch and burn off some calories. Another problem the article states is that “oversized food portions. Americans are exposed to huge food portions in restaurants, fast food places, gas stations, movie theaters, supermarkets, and even at home. Some of these meals and snacks can feed two or more people. Eating large portions means too much energy IN. Over time, this will cause weight gain if it isn't balanced with physical activity. Lack of access to healthy foods. Some people don't live in neighborhoods that have supermarkets that sell healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Or, for some people, these healthy foods are too costly. Food advertising. Americans are surrounded by ads from food companies. Often children are the targets of advertising for high-calorie, high-fat snacks and sugary drinks. The goal of these ads is to sway people to buy these high-calorie foods, and often they do. If you go to a foreign country, such as France, I’ll guarantee that they don’t serve the same amount of food, quite a bit less actually. And this dilemma can lead to severe health problems.

Some people think effects of obesity are just being fat or having asthma, but it's way bigger than that. In the article “ Obesity Consequences” Huntington explains "Apart from tobacco, there is perhaps no greater harm to the collective health in the U.S. than obesity. Worldwide, too, obesity’s health effects are deep and vast-and they have a real and lasting impact on communities, on nations, and most importantly, on individuals, today and across future generations" . Who would’ve thought that being obese is in the same range for health conditions with tobacco. Huntington also explains "In the U.S., among adults under the age of 70, obesity is second only to tobacco in the number of deaths it causes each year." Now that's just ridiculous! Why are we letting such an easy problem to fix go so far that it's just going to make it harder to fix? This is a problem because obesity should not be on the top of the death list, it should be the last. Huntington also states that "Obesity causes or is closely linked with a large number of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, gallstones, kidney stones, infertility, and as many as 11 types of cancers, including leukemia, breast, and colon cancer. No less real are the social and emotional effects of obesity, including discrimination, lower wages, lower quality of life and a likely susceptibility to depression." . this also causes,"Obese adults spend 42 percent more on direct healthcare costs than adults who are a healthy weight." (Robert).If we just advertise exercising being a fun thing instead of such a harsh activity more people would buy in.

With that said, we need to make some changes immediately. The article How can America end its obesity epidemic?” Wiesel explains "I think that society and individuals need to both support each other in this quest. Taxing high-fat foods is a good idea. More education on the benefits of a healthy diet. Also I think there is a spiritual and psychological component to overeating. We need to learn to deal with anxiety, stress and boredom in ways more constructive than turning to food." This is a great idea because right now a bottle of water costs more than a bottle of soda. Another idea is to make schools take PE more seriously. We play fun games and then when physical testing comes around we're expected to pass these requirements, which isn't a problem for me personally but it is for a lot of other kids at my school. So I ask. Are you willing to change the face of our nation with society by your side to help? Or are you going to continue to watch our country go in a slump?


Hailey C.

Yreka High School

American Literature

Yreka High School English III students from Ms. Truttman's class.

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