Eat To Live, Don't Live To Eat

by Ashley Fern

As summer draws closer, that bikini hanging in your closet can be daunting. Did you know that 38% of this country is obese? Forget everyone, let’s focus on our generation; 60 million Americans, 20 years or older are obese. The average woman in America over 20 is 5’3 166 pounds. Does that really seem average to you?

America is more overweight now than it has ever been. Long gone are the days where the youth spends its days outdoors engaging in physical activity. The technological revolution that we have seen over the past few years has gravely impacted this. Our generation was born into a world that makes it far too easy to become overweight.

When trying to understand the implications of obesity in this generation it is essential to look at the society of which we live in. We have adopted an inactive lifestyle filled with television, video games, IPads, text messaging, and so on and so forth.

“Meals are constantly interrupted by mobile phones and telephones. Pre-packed healthy foods abound.”

As a culture we have grown accustomed to having everything given to us at rapid speeds from the latest news to food to entertainment. Food is more available than ever, and at extremely low prices thanks to fast food. Previous generations did not have the accessibility to this type of food, which is a huge factor in why their levels of obesity were much lower than the current rates. The stressful and busy lifestyle of a Gen-Y limits the amount of time they have to prepare meals so many unfortunately turn to fast food.

The way the media portrays food in everyday life is also inherently problematic. Television programs are inundated with advertisements promoting fast food and junk food. The persuasive nature of these commercials captures the attentions of young folk, as they remain sedentary on their couch immersed in different programs.

“More die in the United States of too much food than of too little”

Long hours and intense work schedules make it difficult to find time to exercise but it is not impossible and definitely not an excuse. People need to realize how important an active lifestyle is. It is crucial to make a conscious effort to fit the gym into their daily routine.

Besides physical and medical repercussions this “disease” causes, the emotional toll it takes a person can be life altering. Living in a society that promotes a slim body image can be gut wrenching. Overweight people tend to suffer from higher rates of depression since being overweight is often associated with low self-esteem.

“About eighty percent of the food on shelves of supermarkets today didn't exist 100 years ago.”

We are a generation of vast medical advancement, so it only makes sense to concern ourselves with the rising rates of obesity. We need use our knowledge to stop this from becoming even more problematic. Mayor Bloomberg even attempted to go as far as banning sodas that exceed 16 ounces to help this epidemic. However the day before its implementation a New York Supreme Court Judge ruled this law would not be enforced.

“We don't get fat because we overeat; we overeat because we're getting fat”

Despite awareness this problem is still vastly growing. As this problem continues to infiltrate our society, the rate of chronic disease associated with obesity will only increase. The only way this problem will begin to dwindle is if people’s attitudes towards life, food, and exercise starts to shift.

Photos via Tumblr