As the rate of obesity and related deaths sky rocket in the United States, Americans need to be more conscious regarding their health, daily exercise, and nutritional habits. Although a small number have begun to incorporate some sort of diet and exercise into their daily schedule the majority still do not see this as a priority. With the studies surrounding this epidemic comes a huge debate over how much actually is obtained through heredity vs. environment, and how it can be managed. Although, there are many new and fast acting diet and exercise regimens advertised to help these over weight individuals, not many work, “The ultimate cure for obesity is exercise” (“Fit or Fat“ 30).
In addition, many diuretics (specifically ephedrine) have swept the Nation, all of them claiming to be the miracle cure for weight problems. However, most of these new drugs have been reported to have severe side affects. Many of which are being ignored because of the extreme pressure to be thin. The reality is that Americans need to accept that the only way to stay healthy is by eating properly, and leading an active lifestyle.
Regular exercise is a primary element in achieving this goal. As individuals gain weight and become obese even everyday activities are more difficult. Overweight people tend to be much less active than someone who is fit is, they are happiest expending the least amount of energy as possible. “They’d rather lie down than sit, and they’d rather sit than stand,” (Mirkin 201).
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This becomes a never-ending cycle, until a conscious decision is made to change. When at least thirty minutes of exercise is incorporated into their day the energy level is jolted and that is when the weight will start to come off. Exercise controls weight, increases energy, and elevates and improves a persons mood. It is a natural appetite suppressant, and alters many chemicals in the body that merely alleviates the feeling of hunger. The more regularly someone exercises the less they crave food and the less they gain weight. (Mirkin 202) Working out also alters the person’s metabolism, and helps them burn calories. It is being used for more than just weight loss; psychiatrists have successfully been treating individuals with mood disorders, by using it as therapy (Mirkin 201).
Even after ten minutes of exercise the mood levels start to rise, this increase will last during exercise and up to seventeen hours afterward. The most efficient way to raise the mood levels is to do exercise that is used for weight loss, and studies show that intense exercise raises levels higher than slow walking, or low impact exercise (Mirkin 202).
Along with frequent exercise, an individual needs to develop healthy eating habits. A healthy diet protects overall health by giving the body needed nutrients, supplying the body with enough calories for daily activities and exercise, and lessens the amount of fat deposits on the body. There are two important elements to achieving a healthy diet: how much you eat; and what you eat. The recommended amount of calories for an adult to consume while on a weight loss program is around 1,000, but no less. If the amount of calories consumed is less than 1,000 then the metabolism will slow down, decreasing the weight loss (Mirkin 161).
Your diet must include a variety of foods to allow you to obtain the right nutrients to stay healthy. All four-food groups must be consumed; this includes, meat, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and sparingly fats.
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Many adults claim that it doesn’t matter what they eat, or how much they exercise they are doomed to be obese. There is some truth to this statement. Heredity has been proven to be one of the many factors in weight gain and obesity. If being overweight is hereditary and the whole family has a weight problem then the offspring do have that same probability. A common term said by children, teenagers, and adults is “My parents are fat. I’m doomed to be fat,” ( Mirkin 80).
“Only seven percent of children of normal-weight parents grow up to be fat. But if one of your parents is fat, you have a forty percent chance of being fat yourself. If both parents are fat, the odds go up to a really depressing eighty- percent,” (Mirkin 80).
Certain eating habits within the family will also play a major part in weight. The pace of eating and exercise is first set in the household. The habits that children learn in early childhood are more than likely to remain permanent. To break these habits, it is very difficult and takes a strong willed person to overturn this lifestyle and restructure their lives. This pattern within the heavier set families will pass from generation to generation. For example, if a child is fed greasy food all the time, or if food is a reward for doing something good, they will carry that with them and the pattern will repeat for their children. The environment that children grow up in takes the upper hand in shaping dietary habits.
On the other hand, there have been studies done that show, heredity is only a minor factor in weight and obesity. There have been many studies done on mice showing that fat mice have fat offspring and skinny mice have skinny offspring, but this can all be altered with the right diet and exercise (Mirkin 81).
Scientists have been studying twins for many years, determining how important enviornment plays on their weight patterns. They have also been studying children that have been adopted to see if they resemble their biological or adoptive parents. The results of these studies have come out “contradictory and ”confusing“, proving that humans are more complicated than mice (Mirkin 80).
At the same time as, many results have come out clear, showing that heredity goes hand in hand with the environment the kids are raised in.
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Regardless of current size and shape Americans would like to believe that losing weight is fast and easy, this just is not the case. Low-Carbohydrate, high-protein, and meal skipping are quit popular among Americans today. These diets are by no means healthy, and once the diet has ended weight comes right back. Diets that are low in carbohydrates often dehydrate the person and weaken them severely, causing them to be too tired to exercise (Mirkin 151).
This kind of diet is also very hard to maintain causing the “yo-yo” effect, this is when an individual will lose and gain weight persistently. To replace the carbohydrates that a person takes in, they rely on high-protein diets to satisfy their hunger. Most of the protein someone consumes come from red meats, which is very high in fat and can lead to high cholesterol. This diet is very strenuous on the kidneys because the body cannot store protein, causing the kidneys to work extra hard to rid the body of it. Instead of limiting carbohydrates many individuals are just skipping meals to avoid extra calories. One of the main problems with this approach is that the diet encourages fewer large meals instead of many small ones. “Frequent eating is much better for you than limiting your meals, as long as you’re not taking in more calories,” (Mirkin 157).
Dr. William F. Kremer and Laura Kremer, two physicians, recommended skipping breakfast. They contend that a four hundred-calorie lunch and five hundred-calorie dinner is enough to get the dieter through until lunch the next day. Dr. Gabe Mirkin writes that the liver only stores a twelve-hour supply of sugar, there is a chance that the brain will run low on fuel if breakfast is skipped. Fast acting diets are only one perspective of the lose weight fast gimmick.
Americans always looking for the easy way out are now relying on diet pills to do the work for them. Many folks start taking these pills hoping for the weight to come off with no work needed, and don’t consider the side effects. The most popular drug being touted as the “wonder pills” is called ephedrine. “Ephedrine is an herb that contains a potent substance called ephedrine. It is a thermogenic agent, decongestant,”(Mitchell and Dodson 65).
A combination of ephedrine, green tea, and kola nut, are used to increase the metabolic rate thus helping with the weight loss process. Mitchell writes that, “At least forty people have died and more than 800 have become ill after taking diet products that contain ephedrine, including the sudden death of a college student in 1997”(68).
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Dodson adds that the amount of the drug that is taken also plays a major role in side effects, and in December of 2000 scientist noted, that on the bottles containing the drug ephedrine the amount on the labels were not accurate. They said that the active ingredient varied from the stated amount by twenty percent of more, depending on the brand (69).
This over-the-counter drug has many side effects including, insomnia; dry mouth; headache and dizziness; an increase in blood pressure; metabolic rate, perspiration rate, and urine output. In some severe cases they have found it can cause paranoid psychoses, coronary spasm, convulsions, respiratory depression, comma, and death (Mitchell and Dodson 69).
Although diet pills have many side effects to them, the Council for Responsible Nutrition recently announced their conclusion from a study that analyzed clinical trials of ephedrine. In the outcome, they concluded that “ephedrine did not cause any adverse reactions at the 90-mg-per-day dose and only minimal side effects at 150 mg per day,” (Mitchell and Dodson 69).
According to John Cordano, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the FDA’s reports of side effects were incorrect. The problems with ephedrine study is that they were lacking information; they tested ephedrine with other drugs and in a dosage that was to high causing many side effects to erupt. When taken at a correct dosage, the product is claimed to speed up the cardiovascular and central nervous system. This process also known as thermos genesis burns fat and provides energy (Mitchell and Dodson 69).
The quest for the perfect diet, exercise program, miracle pills, and body will always be a challenge facing the American population. We have come to expect that there is a fast and easy solution. Although the current rage and options change everyday the bottom line is a consistent exercise program and healthy diet are the only successful long-term solutions.
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