Obesity: A Media Created Epidemic Essays

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"What? Me worry?" - - Alfred E. Neuman

Is obesity really a serious health concern or is the “epidemic” merely a result of highly fabricated, misleading ideas of politicians and the media? The article, Obesity: An Overblown Epidemic? By W. Wayt Gibbs featured in the May 23, 2005 edition of Scientific America, raises this question. Most health experts and average people believe that obesity is one of the most prevalent health concerns today, resulting in increased risk for other major health issues; such as; heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and the chance for early loss of life. However, other researchers are suggesting that the consequences of being overweight are being blown out of proportion. Naturally, they do
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Gibbs also quotes Katherine M. Flegal, a research scientist at the CDC, as saying “underweight, even though it occurs in only a tiny fraction of the population is actually associated with more excess deaths than class I obesity.” On the contrary, authors S. Jay Olshansky and David B. Allison, insist that the continual rise in life expectancy would eventually cease due to obesity related deaths. In addition, media and news correspondents reported that obesity could cut short a life by up to five years. Gibbs states that to come to their conclusions, Olshansky and Allison used research that was outdated and did not reflect any of the modern medical therapies. When it comes to the topic of obesity, most experts and critics will readily agree that it can lead to more severe health issues. Where the agreement usually ends, however, is on how much obesity really contributes to illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Whereas some are convinced that obesity is a major cause in such diseases, others maintain that it is only one factor, of many, that lead to other diseases. As for heart disease, experts recognize that it is more common in overweight people than people in a healthy weight range; however, they have noticed a drop in the occurrences of high blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, the decline was more drastic in overweight people versus those with a healthy weight. In contrast, other researchers suggest that being fat is just an

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