Disclaimer:Guidelines, advice, or suggestions found in this article are not replacements for medical advice or diagnosis and are not intended to be taken as such. Always consult a doctor before embarking on a weightloss diet or if you have health concerns.
Introduction: the Politics of Obesity
Everyday is a challenge, for all of us, but some people have it harder than others. Obesity isa burden both physically and mentally; those who are diagnosed as obese are at an increased risk of coronary artery disease, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain cancers,stroke, sleep apnea, asthma, arthritis, certain brain tumors (pseudotumor cerebri), early pubescence,and even urinary incontinence (Critser 479, 480; American Heart Association). Emotional problemsmay result not only from poor body image and low self-esteem, but from the physical toil of just living.Despite the risks and problems associated with obesity, about thirty percent of all Americans are obeseand a current study has predicted that the rate of obesity will continue to climb until finally leveling off at forty-two percent (Hill et al.). But what headway can we, as individuals, make against a flood of fat?Ideally, to combat obesity, we should not only improve our own health but also fight for the health of others by encouraging the government to take responsibility for the policies and trends it has encouragedthat allow obesity to flourish.One reason obesity has become so prevalent is because of outdated nutritional concerns at the federal level. During World War Two, the government became highly concerned with the health of its younger population when two out of every five mendrafted were rejected because of physical inadequacies commonly caused by childhood malnutrition(Levine 56). To combat this devastating fact, the school lunch program was initiated as a way to feed poor schoolchildren and provide them with adequate calories and vitamins (mainly calcium) (Levine 94). Now, however, when rickets (see image
) and other diseases related to calcium and vitamin Ddeficiencies are very rare and obesity is increasingly commonplace, the United States Department of Agriculture needs to assess whether the lunches they are providing approximately 31 million schoolchildren with for twelve years of their lives are doing more harm than good. The Physician's CommitteeFor Responsible Medicine (PCRM) evaluated lunch menus from sample schools across the US in 2012and found that several of the most common (and of course, the most sought after) entrees such as beef andcheese nachos, cheese sandwiches, meatloaf, cheeseburgers, and pepperoni pizza had too much saturatedfat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories (PCRM). These findings conflict with the USDA policies whichstate that lunches must adhere to the Dietary Guidelines For Americans (USDA). Adequate caloricconsumption, calcium, and vitamin D cannot be the only health concerns when determining the best diets
All images found in Wikimedia Commons.