Nutrition: Foods Containing Calories

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Topic: Health & Medicine
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Introduction

Obesity is a major health issue today. Obesity is a condition characterized by excess fats in the body. The accumulation of excess fats will have negative implications on a person’s health. Obesity and overweight can cause severe health complications. The situation has become complicated because obesity is causing deaths in both children and adults.

Many people argue that the consumption of excess calories is the only cause of obesity. However, different factors or conditions can cause obesity, such as lack of exercises, genetic makeup, gender, some illnesses, environmental factors, and age. This argumentative paper examines some of the other possible causes of obesity. This is the best approach to dealing with obesity.

Reasons why Foods Containing Calories are Not the Only Cause of Obesity

According to Murphy (12), “many people believe that obesity is only caused by increased intake of foods containing more calories.” To begin with, it is agreeable that excess calories in the body can make a person obese. It is impossible for the human body to burn most of these excess calories. This scenario occurs when a person eats too much food without taking enough exercises.

Most of the obese or overweight individuals consume foods rich in energy such as starch, fats, and sugar. According to Murphy (18), “most of the available foods contain excess calories and fats.” This situation explains why every person should be careful about his or her diet. However, it is important to understand that “dietary intakes” cannot be the only cause of obesity.

As described earlier, various factors are capable of making a person obese. Lack of adequate physical exercises is a good example. Physical exercises are necessary because they help the body to burn calories in the body.

A healthy person maintains his or her weight by striking a “proper” balance between consumed and “burned” calories. Physical exercises also help the body to burn most of these excess calories. This makes an individual healthy and physically fit. An active person requires an increased number of calories in the body.

On the other hand, a dormant person will require lesser calories to maintain his or her weight. Exercises will decrease a person’s appetite, thus reducing the level of calories in the body. Physical exercises will also increase the body’s ability to digest food. It also improves the metabolism of fat deposits. According to Blass (27), “most of the reported cases of obesity can be attributed to the decreasing level of human exercise and physical activity.”

Many people have presented different arguments to establish whether the surrounding environment can “actually” cause obesity. The word “environment” refers to anything that surrounds human beings. Various environmental aspects determine what a person eats. People will always embrace certain lifestyle behaviors. As Blass (49) observes, “many people in the United States consume plenty of fatty foods and beverages.”

This has become a unique behavior in the country, thus contributing a lot to the increasing cases of obesity. However, some people have argued that the environment cannot make a person obese. The important thing is to acknowledge that some societies encourage people to take exercises and consume balanced diets. Such behaviors are essential to a healthy lifestyle.

The environment will determine what a certain group eats. Environmental factors will also dictate how a person engages in various activities and exercises. A less active individual has a higher chance of becoming obese.

A person’s age is also another possible cause of obesity. As Murphy (93) argues, “age tends to decrease the body’s ability to digest and metabolize food.” The elderly require little calories to maintain their body weight. An older person will continue to consume the same foods.

The individual will also become less active “People tend to become obese after accumulating more calories in their bodies (Murphy 95)”. This situation explains why many people become obese after celebrating their 40th birthday. The elderly should take the best measures to reduce the chances of becoming obese.

Gender is also another possible cause of obesity. According to Blass (41), “women have a higher chance of becoming overweight.” Studies have also indicated that men will burn more calories compared to women, even at rest (Murphy 74). The metabolic rate of men is stable compared to that of women.

Additionally, a woman’s metabolic ability decreases after menopause. This is a clear indication that women will gain much weight than their male counterparts. Chances are also higher for women to become obese after menopause.

Recent studies have also examined how some illnesses and conditions can increase a person’s chances of becoming overweight or obese. There are some illnesses that affect the body’s metabolic system. This reduces the number of calories “burned” by the body.

“The level of calories increases, thus making the individual obese (Blass 84)”. Some of these illnesses include depression and hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a disease characterized by slowed metabolic rate. There are certain brain diseases that increase a person’s appetite. Increased appetite will automatically result in overeating.

Researchers have also identified a connection between a person’s genetic makeup and proneness to obesity. “A person’s genetic makeup can influence his or her metabolic patterns (Murphy 92)”. A reduced metabolic rate will eventually result in obesity. A person’s genetic makeup can determine if he or she becomes obese. For example, if a person’s biological mother is overweight, chances are high that her children will become overweight.

This is also the same case for “slim” biological mothers. The interesting fact is that a person whose genetic makeup predisposes him or her to overweight might not necessarily become obese. The best thing is for people to embrace the best health practices and take plenty of physical exercises. This is true because all the above factors will determine whether a person becomes obese or not.

Some drugs can also increase the chances of becoming overweight or obese. Some of these drugs might include steroids, painkillers, and antidepressants. “Most of these drugs increase a person’s appetite, thus resulting in weight gain (Murphy 102)”. This situation explains why doctors and caregivers should reexamine those individuals under medication. The approach will reduce their chances of becoming obese or overweight.

Conclusion

The above argument explains why obesity does not result from an increased intake of calories alone. Although an obese person tends to have more calories in his or her body, chances are very high that any of the above factors can result in the condition.

This discussion explains why researchers should continue with their studies to come up with new evidence to support these claims. An informed society will know how to address each of the possible causes to stay away from obesity.

Works Cited

Blass, Elliott. Obesity: Causes, Mechanisms, Prevention, and Treatment. New York: Sinauer Associates, 2008. Print.

Murphy, Wendy. Obesity: USA Today Health Reports: Diseases & Disorder. New York: Twenty-First Century Books, 2011. Print.