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The Epidemic Of A Public Health Crisis Essay

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While the age-old adage may read that ‘bigger is better,’ America as a whole has taken this phrase to heart in regards to its general population. In a society where food is cheap, easy to come by, and engineered to be incredibly palatable, overconsumption and unhealthy eating habits leads to an excess of calorie and fat intake. Coupled with this, the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the average American often produces full days without physical exercise that, when combined with poor eating habits, leads to extreme weight gain and other subsequent severe health problems. America is in the throes of a public health crisis unlike that ever experienced in medical history: where the proportion of its constituents – both child and adult – that is obese is increasing at epidemic rates. First and foremost, the term “obesity” is defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as a measure of BMI, or Body Mass Index, which is “calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, rounded to one decimal place.” Adults are considered obese if this BMI value equals or exceeds 30 and children are based on age- and gender-specific CDC growth charts from 2000, where obesity is categorized as reaching the 95th percentile or above (Ogden, 2014, p. 6). Likewise, the term “epidemic” implies that “a disease has increased in frequency in a defined geographic area far above its usual rate” (Riegelman, 2015, p. 136), which holds true for the American adult demographic: the CDC
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