Causes Of Obesity Epidemic

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Obesity can be classified as a worldwide epidemic, with the United States being the leader in this epidemic. “It is currently estimated that 72 million American adults (ages 18 and older) are obese, a number that could increase to 103 million adults by 2018” (Thoenen & West Virginia Health Statistics Center, 2011, p. iii). However, obesity rates aren’t just increasing in adults, but also children. Research has consistently shown that obesity increases the risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and many other conditions. These diseases/conditions were once prevalent among adults alone, however, children are now being diagnosed with them. Obesity has been linked to poverty, especially for those who have SNAP (Supplemental …show more content…
There are two general categories in which the cause of obesity fall under: genetics and the environment. For those who fall under the genetic category, “Studies show they have a genetic defect in the gene coding for a hormone called leptin, which is involved in appetite regulation. Others are lacking an enzyme, PCI, the function of which is to convert another hormone, PMOC, into neuropeptides that regulate appetite. However, experts say that genetic defects are rare and are not found in the vast majority of obese people in the United States” (West Virginia Health Statistic Center, 2002). The obesity epidemic in the United States falls more under the environment category. Home-cooked family meals are no longer the norm they once were. More and more people are ordering takeout because it is inexpensive and fast, not to mention, the portion sizes are larger. On top of a poor diet, people have become physically inactive, which contributes to the increased rate of obesity. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Chronic diseases and conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and hypertension are strongly linked to excess weight. According to a recent study by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, West Virginia currently ranks number one in the nation for diabetes, hypertension, heart …show more content…
It divides environmental influences on the system into intra- and extra-societal categories. These environmental factors are described as affecting the “political system” by either placing demands on or providing support for the system” (Luton, 1997, p. 47). Health advocacy groups, right-leaning legislatures, and many taxpayers believe SNAP benefits should be limited to nutritional foods. However, those in opposition such as anti-hunger groups and left-leaning legislatures disagree. So how do we improve SNAP nutrition? It isn’t as simple as just focusing on cost and health. Studies show that regardless of cost, people tend to choose unhealthier foods. “Eating habits are influenced by a wide variety of factors, including socio-economic and demographic characteristics, ethnic or familial traditions, convenience, advertising, and even biological triggers that make us more prone to eating foods high in sugar, salt, and fat” (SNAP to Health, n.d.). I have chosen to use Easton’s Systems Theory as a pivotal point of my paper because of its highly recognized status within the field of political science. In order to use the systems theory, below is a hypothetical situation based on similar actions taken in other

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