A College Perspective on Obesity

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Posted Sat, Nov 7, 2015

Epidemic: Prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity through improved eating and physical activity behaviors. (Photo provided by CDC/ Amanda Mills)

EPIDEMIC: Prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity through improved eating and physical activity behaviors. [Photo: CDC/Amanda Mills]

DENVER— The movie “Fast Food Nation” (’06) and “Super Size Me” (’04) has one thing common — obesity.

Obesity is a complex condition containing an unnecessary amount of body fat with a high-body mass index (BMI).

According to the website ProCon.org, the United States is the second most obese developed country in the world. A report in 2013 specified that 31.8 percent of Americans were obese, more than the mid-1970s when it was 14 percent. Sadly, it has accounted for 10 percent of deceases and healthcare expenditures in the United States.

University of Colorado Springs sophomore Devyn Palm-Trujillo says that needs to change.  “I think it’s embarrassing. How advance the U.S. is, and the potential in all of the technology and opportunities that America has, it shouldn’t be number two in the world. [So] if we are one of the most educated countries, then we have the potential to be the most educated in health and living as well. I think it’s unacceptable.”

Obesity percentages among U.S. adults by state and territory in 2014. The Midwest had the highest rate of obesity at 30.7 percent, followed by the South at 30.6 percent, the Northeast at 27.3 percent, and the West at 25.7 percent. (Photo provided by the  Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDC)

BON APPETIT: Obesity percentages among U.S. adults by state and territory in 2014. The Midwest had the highest rate of obesity at 30.7 percent, followed by the South at 30.6 percent, the Northeast at 27.3 percent, and the West at 25.7 percent. [Photo: Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDC)

CHRONIC DISEASE?

Being overweight, or obese, has always been a tricky subject for people to understand — even more so when the American Medical Association (AMA) acknowledged it as a disease in 2013.

The website ProCon.org stated, “The FDA, the American Medical Association (AMA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and the Obesity Society considering obesity as a disease with The WHO calling it a chronic disease.”  While, others have call it a complex multifactorial chronic disease, or a chronic debilitating and potentially fatal disease.

Moreover, research says, obesity is an ailment of unusual active functioning involving any structure of an organism with a specific sickness described by signs and symptoms attributable to inheritance, infection, diet, or environment. Obesity, like alcoholism, depression and anxiety, is a sickness because research says there are hormone imbalances, neurotransmitter deficiencies and nutritional exhaustion that contribute to it. Lastly, most individuals can make a distinction between smoking and lung cancer, or the intake of alcohol and liver disease because one is an action while the other is an illness.

“After a certain point when you are so overweight it’s no matter what you can do unless it’s something drastic you can really change it easily,” Palm-Trujillo said. “So, I think at that point it becomes a disease and after that it consumes your whole body so if you were to have kids that would keep carrying on to generation to generation even its not on the proper health term as a disease. I still consider it as a disease at a certain point of being that overweight and unhealthy.”

A LIFESTYLE

However, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or Obamacare, suggested that being overweight or obese is “a behavioral risk factor or choice along with alcohol and drug use, tobacco, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, untreated mental health problems and risky sexual behavior.” Which means you are particularly likely to have health problems related to your choice in being obese.

MSU Denver student Christen Mickey agrees. “It’s a lifestyle,” Mickey said. “Um, yeah I am sure genetics plays a part in it, but for the most part it’s about how you live your life. I am sure (an underling medical condition) can happen too (in the case of) extreme obesity like 500 pounds, but if you’re just obese that is a lifestyle.”

MSU Denver scholar Matthew McKenzie agrees with Mickey, but took a different approach.

“I would consider it more of a psychology thing,” McKenzie said. “Psychology things aren’t necessarily choices, but it’s a mindset you can choose to overeat, you can choose not to take care of yourself. Some people are born heavier than others, like I am bigger bone, so naturally I won’t be super skinny, but I am not obese. So I choose to take care of myself.”

MSU Denver student Salvador Ramos, agrees with McKenzie and Mickey. It’s not 100 percent choice because they could have a conditions that is causing that (like) you can have (something) medically that can cause you to be obese and (then you have a person) like me who doesn’t, so if I were to get obese that would be totally on me, so I say it’s both.”

There are a lot of health problems that come with obesity but heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are the ones that people associate it with more. (Photo provided by the CDC)

HEART OF THE MATTER: There are a lot of health problems that come with obesity but heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are the ones that people associate it with more. [Photo: Center of Disease Control]

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

It’s true that people have been known to swing on both sides of the obesity spectrum, because the choices you make not only affects your outside image, but your inside as well. Diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure come with obesity. But, if someone has a history of obesity in their family due an underlining medical conditions they can prevent it.

“It’s obviously preventable,” Palm-Trujillo said. “A lot of diseases are preventable, but a lot of them aren’t. Like the ones that people can’t help with getting. But obesity comes from making certain life choices, such as eating poorly, not exercising, not taking care of yourself unless its carry down from a generation. Someone isn’t randomly going to be obese because that comes about with personal choices.”

Moreover, people can battle obesity with prescription medications and weight-loss surgery, but they can have serious consequences. So, the noble thing is that you can avoid the health problems linked with obesity with dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes. Lastly, taking care of yourself is important because how long do we really have?

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Dylan Palm-Trujillo

About Dylan Palm-Trujillo

Dylan Palm-Trujillo is a Freelance Writer/Photographer for the Metropolitan and Metro Post -Telegraph. He has had work published by Westword Denver and Johnstown Breeze while being a student at Metro. Moreover, he has done a PR internship as well as a reporting Internship. Further, he is a Metro State Student currently studying Convergent Journalism and expects to graduate in the fall of 2015.

View all posts by Dylan Palm-Trujillo

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