The Obesity Epidemic Essay

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Obesity has become increasingly more prominent in American society. The Unites States has even been termed an overweight nation. Some twenty to thirty percent of American adults are now considered obese (Hwang 1999 and Hirsch et al 1997). With this in mind, Americans constantly look around themselves determining their weight status as well as that of those around them. While some Americans do fit the healthy category, others enter the underweight, overweight, and even obese categories, all of which can be unhealthy.

Obesity can be termed deviant for a variety of reasons. Not only is it unhealthy, but it is also a widely unaccepted behavior in US society. The obese are labeled “…obscene, lazy, slothful, and gluttonous” (Adler and
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Allison et al claim that the number of average annual deaths attributable to obesity is 324,940 in the United States alone. Among these deaths and health problems, direct health care costs solely due to obesity (excluding obese who are sick or have died due to smoking, genetic, and other health factors) includes nearly 5% annually.

Treatment often consists of combinations of diet, exercise, behavioral modifications, and some medications (1999). It is important for these obese individuals to receive the treatments available to them. Allison et al state that obesity is a major cause of mortality in the US and it substantially increases morbidity and impairs quality of life.
As treatment options increase, obesity also becomes less acceptable. As of late, people have begun resorting to procedures such as liposuction to reduce fat content on the body. While these procedures in themselves may not be accepted, they reduce the risk of the obese being labeled deviant for their status.

Adler and Adler (51) state that being labeled deviant means that one has violated societal norms and has been labeled for his or her actions. Norms are codes of behavior that guide people into what is socially acceptable. Further, obesity can be termed a folkway, or a norm that is based on custom, tradition, or etiquette and that does not

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