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The Causes, Effects and Solutions to Obesity

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The Causes, Effects and Solutions to Obesity

in our Community

The overwhelming number of obese persons has now become a great concern in our community. In the past 20 years, there has been a rise in the number of obese people in St.Maarten. This can be attributed to the overwhelming number of fast food restaurants that have been established on our island. The lack of a structured physical education program in our schools also plays an important part in the growing problem of obesity among the citizens of our island.

According to Wikipedia, obesity is a medical condition where excessive body fat has accumulated to a point that it has become dangerous to a person's health. This may also lead to an increase in health problems. A person is also considered obese if his/her body mass index is over 30. (Wikipedia, 2010)

There are many factors that lead to obesity. Some of them are age, gender, genetics, environmental factors, psychological factors and illness. According to WebMD, obesity happens when a person puts on more calories than they are able to burn off. (Healthy Eating and Diet/Obesity, 2010, p.1).

When someone gets older, their metabolism starts to slow down, so it gets a little harder to work off the pounds that were put on the night before. This means that if you ate a hamburger at age twenty, it would be much easier to work off that weight than if you were age forty. It becomes harder to take the pounds off the older you are.

When we talk about the gender aspect of obesity, we mean that men and women are different when it comes to gaining weight. A woman would more likely put on weight faster than a man because of post menopausal reasons. This means that a woman's metabolic rate decreases; this is why the WebMD states that women gain weight after menopause. (Healthy Eating and Diet/Obesity, 2010, p. 1). In St. Maarten we find a lot of women going into the drive-thru windows of Burger King, Mc Donald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. It is important for them to understand that these types of fast foods are dangerous for them. Especially for women in their late thirty's, it is important for them to stay away from those types of restaurants.

Genetics is another important cause of obesity in St.Maarten. During my interview with one family who had lost their son to diabetes, it was obvious that there was a history of obesity within the family. Both parents including their youngest son were obese. After the death of their eldest son, they realized that there was a problem with their diet which included fast food, pastries and also lots of carbohydrates. Since they could not fix the issue of their genes, they knew they had to change their diet.

The environmental factors in St. Maarten definitely play an important part in the cause of obesity. The lifestyle that we choose is the way that we will ultimately decide our death. If we don't exercise and eat the right foods, then we might as well declare our lives as useless. In St. Maarten we are blessed to have many sports facilities and also places for people to walk or jog. You might not find a lot of people doing that because of the many cars that exist on the island. Some people would prefer to drive to their location rather than take the short walk to get more exercise. When going to the supermarket, many people find it hard to just take the short walk, so they would prefer to jump into their cars, even if it's just to get one item from the supermarket.

In the Daily Herald, Certified Physical Trainer, Les Brown states that children are not getting enough physical exercise. He states that there is movement, but the lessons are not properly planned. The activities need to be structured enough so that the children can gain from it. (Don't underestimate the importance of physical activity, 2010, p.1).

Another reason for obesity is the psychological aspect. Many people use food to deal with their emotional problems. If someone is feeling bored, sad or angry, they would either turn to food or alcohol to solve their problems. This is a problem that is very common among men and women. Whether there is a death in the family, the lost of a job, or some kind of sad situation, people seem to look to food for some sort of comfort. A person that is obese usually encounters discrimination because of their physical appearance. These people are usually shunned from society and are forced to stay indoors to avoid being discriminated against.

The last factor in obesity is illness. According to WebMD, many persons suffer from depression, hormone problems and hypothyroidism. (Healthy Eating and Diet, 2010, p. 1). This is caused by a hormone in the brain that causes a person to overeat. In St. Maarten, there are many cases of depression and hypothyroidism.



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