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The World War on Obesity

BY: Telha Chohan


Scientists have yet to find the root cause of obesity. Some say that it has to do with human genes mainly lepton (Farooqi & O’Rahilly, 2006). Leptin is a hormone that originates from fatty tissues within an individual. Leptin controls a type of hormone that fluctuates an individual's appetite by boosting their energy while decreasing their appetite (Farooqi et al., 2006). However, there is also a mutation in this gene that causes leptin to do the exact opposite by increasing your appetite and decreasing your energy  (O’Rahilly & Farooqi, 2006). In spite of that this mutation only accounts for 5% of childhood obesity exempting adults (Bouchard, 2009).Studies that follow Twins, families, and adoptions showed that the correlation between genes and weight could be only 40-70% (Willer et al., 2009). This is insignificantly less than the data shown for humans height. Although studies that study families revealed that youth with obese siblings or parents are 5 times more likely to become obese themselves (Bouchard, 2009). One twin study that looked dizygotic and monozygotic twins found that between the 2 siblings there was a 90% of weight variation was correlated with there genetics (Dubois, Girard, Girard, Tremblay, Boivin, & Pérusse, 2007). Even though there has been lots of research on how our genetics influences our weights we cannot rule out the many other factors, such as eating habits, food intake, types of food, physical activities, etc. The parental factor in obesity is significant, researchers have found that children with mothers that are overweight have been found to be served larger servings of food, also serving less healthy items (Nguyen, Larson, Johnson & Goran, 1996). Studies have proved that obese youth consume less carbohydrates and more fatty foods due to parental control (Moreno & Rodriguez, 2007). Even soft drinks have had correlations with obesity (Newby, 2007). The extra calories that are consumed by soft drinks reduce the intake of solid food, thus gaining more weight (Moreno & Rodriguez,2007). 

Eating patterns can and will affect your weight when someone consumes less food at breakfast and lunch then eats more during dinner, this causes an irregular energy distribution that makes you gain weight (Maffeis et al., 2000). children are more likely to do physical activities during and more likely to be inactive in the evening, this causes an individual to burn fewer calories when they consumed more. when children eat larger portions then average, over time they tend to lose control and focus more on what will satisfy them at that time (Newby, 2007). sometimes when children have negative emotions they cope with this by indulging in food. This is in correlation with traits inherited to them (Tholin, Rasmussen, Tynelius & Karlsson, 2005). A study that looked at 130,000 adolescents from 34 different countries found that in areas that they have less freedom for physical activity tend to have a higher obesity rate (Janssen et al., 2005). In some countries women can't go outside there houses this makes it almost impossible for them to get active, this is why places like Iraq have higher obesity rates for women. Though, it is still unclear whether obesity is the outcome of genetics or unhealthy eating (Grainne Fleming).

In 2013 the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity as a disease. The dispute between this is whether or not obesity should be classified as a disease. A disease is defined as a disorder in the mind or body that has symptoms or signs leading up to it (D. L. Katz,2014). (AMA) classified it as a disease in the hope of doctors acknowledging it more often to help their patients (AMA,2014). Obesity can lead to many types of illnesses and diseases including but not limited to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (Stanford,2004). Since obesity is the starting point to several notorious diseases and illnesses many believe that it should be classified as a disease in itself to put more awareness on how damaging obesity really is (AMA,2014). This also links back to nature vs nurture, this is like the nature side in which people believe that it is in that individual's genes.

There are also many that believe that obesity is self-inflicted in most cases. lifestyle choices like not doing any physical activities and eating fatty foods instead of healthier ones are the main reasons people are getting obese (Adrian,2012). Most of the time there are ways to avoid obesity it all depends on how you live your life and if you are taking steps to better yourself (Penny Gordan-Larson,2018). If obesity is a disease then why certain types of addictions. where is the line about what and what isn't a disease? (Michael Tanner,2013) classifying something as a disease might seem insignificant, however, there is a bigger picture to this, Insurance. Medical insurance in the U.S is expensive, but not many cover surgery that people with obesity get, stomach stapling. since they declared obesity as a disease medical insurance has gone up and the (AMA) budget has increased thus making taxes go up (Michael Tanner,2013). This causes a butterfly effect that affects most people.

sociology is a science that studies social institutions and the aspects of human relations (Howard Aldrich,2016) Sociology can study, anything from religion to race, from crime to social status, from wealthy to poor. A sociologist would study these matters so that they would know how it affects and shapes social structures (Oxford). Sociology also looks at a cause, consequences and, the effects that it has on our society. Learned theory best applies to obesity. The learned theory is when youth witness behavior from there guardian or media and try to replicate it whether it is negative or positive (Keefe, 2018, Discrimination). This is where obesity comes in, The role of a parent/guardian is significant when studying food intake. Overweight guardians tend to serve larger portions adding to kids' weight (Nguyen, Larson, Johnson & Goran, 1996). Why would children want to copy their guardians? Some children want to live up to there parents' expectations for those reasons they do what they can to copy them. other times they do it with uncautiously, this could be even more harmful since they can't acknowledge that they have a problem (Carrie Shrier,2014). If a child-parent is overweight it's more then likely that the child will start eating the portions that the parents are eating. in 2005 the cost of obesity was as high as $190,000,000,000 (billion) since then, obesity was skyrocketed while tobacco has decreased, soon obesity will surpass tobacco as the leading cause of death (Harvard T.H Chan,2014). It is also proven that individuals with obesity earn less, this is because of a number of reasons, mainly most obese people come for a low-income household(World Health Organization-WHO,2015) A lot of people cannot afford healthy food because of how expensive it is getting, fast food has become a cheaper alternative, however it comes with its own set of risks (WHO,2014) Fast food is mainly fatty food that is a main cause of obesity along with all the other health risks like clog arteries, because of this obesity is becoming a norm when more than a third is already obese (WHO,2015)


*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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