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Jasmyn Kelly Professor Provo ENG112 August 2, 2013 Northern Virginia Residents Expanding Unfortunately, this expansion is occurring

among Northern Virginians waistlines. A new report reveals that residents of Northern Virginia are fat -- and getting fatter (Ruberry). We are all aware that obesity is a growing epidemic in America. 1 out of 5 children in Virginia are considered obese (Foster). If you were to ask the average American how to prevent obesity, it is likely many would suggest following the latest diet trend, featured in a popular magazine. Unfortunately, diets are not a feasible treatment in the long term. Diets do not seek to address the cause of obesity; diets only serve to treat the symptoms. People need to make the conscious effort to change their basic habits, If you go to Wal-Mart, you will see someone circling the parking lot, and circling. Theyre looking for a closer spot to the front door so they wont have to walk. (Haygood 413.) In the Northern area of Virginia, more than 24 percent of the population is considered obese. Obesity is a rising problem that we can fight by coming together as a community and offering free recreational activities, making healthy food more cost efficient and offering free classes on nutrition and wellness. One way to reduce the risk of obesity in Fredericksburg is by offering the community fun activities, and recreation that is easily accessible and free. The benefits of regular walking for health, wellbeing and the environment states that walking 20km, not including normal activities,

each day lowers the risk of stroke, heart disease, obesity, and more. Fredericksburg does not have many outside or active, free events. Many organizations have the resources and the audience to help bolster active support in these programs and gain support for a committee dedicated to increasing health and promoting physical activity in Fredericksburg. Another way to decrease the growing percentage of people in Fredericksburg that are obese is by giving them healthier and yet cost efficient choices. The cost of natural foods in the grocery store can be double or even triple the cost of the unhealthy, alternative choices. At fast food restaurants a salad is priced significantly higher than many of the lower priced options, which are usually fried, fatty foods. Todays busy lifestyles need quick options, but when you consider a family of four or five could easily spend $35 or more on a quick fast food dinner of salads; the cheaper menu items become much more attractive and cost efficient. Their needs to be restaurants dedicated to providing healthy, fast food at affordable prices. This option could be difficult because the restaurant would need to make money to stay open but if it were supported by the government or given tax breaks as long as they kept their prices low and food healthy, it would give the population an option to eat healthy, even when they did not have the time to cook or the extra money to spend. Furthermore, free counseling and behavior programs would benefit the community immensely. Obesity is a symptom of a much larger issue, by offering the community access to free counseling, wellness classes, healthy cooking classes, we increase long term success. This would address why individuals may choose to eat unhealthy in the first place. Mental weight is harder to lose than physical pounds because just diet and exercise wont solve the problem; it has to be resolved from within. Groups in the Virginia area are supporting a bill that would require schools to provide an average of 150 minutes per week of physical education, not including

recess. The one-hundred and fifty minutes per week for physical education requirement doesn't mean only physical activity, but can include classes on nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices and other health education (Davis). Adversaries might say that the obesity rates are exaggerated. Insurance companies created the body mass index chart so they could charge people more for being over a certain weight. Everett Williams, Master Trainer, shares his experience by stating that the insurance companies raised his rates because he is considered obese, according to the body mass index chart. Williams had to send in a picture to show that he was just in shape and muscular, not obese. Also, there are healthy young girls who consider themselves to be overweight because the body mass index chart states they are slightly overweight. They become obsessed with the popular diets and pills that promise to help them lose weight. Their self-esteem becomes shot and they start to see a psychiatrist who prescribes anti-depressants, its just another way to take money from the average American family. The obesity rates are so much higher now because our definition of obese has become too broad. The obesity rates and the body mass index chart are schemes to make money. While admittedly the body mass index chart is flawed, the population is steadily becoming unhealthier. If the average young adult were asked what they consume on a daily basis they would name at least one fast food restaurant per day. Not only is this trend affecting our health but it is also consuming our money faster than we can make money. A college student has to attend classes, work part time jobs, stay on top of their homework, get enough sleep and on top of that find time to eat. They do not have the time to cook healthy alternatives; they run by the nearest fast food and pick something up to eat on the go. Then later on they do not feel like theyve even eaten because the mind does not recognize eating unless you are sitting down and

paying attention. Therefore, it leads to overeating, which leads to being at risk for becoming obese. In the United States 50 percent of women are considered to be overweight. Being fat isolates and invalidates a woman (Orbach 448-449.) The image of a perfect woman as being thin, manicured, well kept, innocent yet seductive are the images portrayed to young girls by the media. These images contribute to lower self-esteem and encourage young women to strive for unrealistic goals. Instead, we need to show young women how to take pride and nurture their natural God given bodies. Strong, healthy and confident women within the community need to gather together to support and educate young women on how to take care of their unique beautiful bodies. Obesity, is not just a womans issue, it is also a battle fought by many men and their younger counter-parts. The prevalence of obesity among American men has doubled in only 25 years, and its killing us(Journal of the American Medical Association). In Having It his Way: The Construction of Masculinity in Fast Food TV Advertising, an essay by Carrie Packwood Freeman and Debra Merskin, they talk about how in Fast Food commercials on TV they portray eating meat as an important part of masculine behavior and male bonding. This has detrimental consequences on the male psyche. Another disturbing outcome of using gender stereotypes to sell fast food is a resulting reinforcement of the male/female dichotomy that has been the basis for patriarchal oppression. The ads construct the ideal woman as a silent, passive, meat-eating, agreeable stranger who is young, pretty, thin, and fair-skinned with long hair and a voluptuous body willingly put on display for the male viewer (Freeman and Merskin 473).

Obesity is a major health risk, that as a community we can fight by coming together and offering free recreational activities, making healthy food more cost efficient and offering free classes on nutrition and wellness. It is my hope that the reader becomes more aware that Obesity is a rising problem and that they have now gained a better understanding of the options that could help to fight obesity in the community and can implement support for living a healthy, active lifestyle.

Works Cited "The Benefits of Regular Walking for Health, Wellbeing and the Environment." C3 Health. N.p., Sept. 2012. Web. 28 July 2013. <>. Allen, Arthur. "Fighting Back Against Obesity." Men's Health. Web MD, n.d. Web. 01 Aug. 2013. <>. Davis, Chelyen. "Groups Back Anti-fat Bills." N.p., 4 Feb. 2011. Web. 01 Aug. 2013. <>. Freeman, Carrie Packwood and Debra Merskin. Having It His Way: The Construction of Masculinity in Fast-Food Advertising. They Say, I Say with Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2009. 454-474. Print. Foster, Richard. "New Obesity Survey." Newsroom. N.p., 18 May 2010. Web. 15 July 2013. <>. Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. "They Say, I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. New York: Norton, 2012. Print. Haygood, Will. Kentucky Town Illustrates National Obesity Crisis. They Say, I Say with Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2009. 406-416. Print. Orback, Susie. Fat Is a Feminist Issue. They Say, I Say with Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2009. 448-453. Print Ruberry, Erin. "Northern Virginia Obesity Rate: More Than Half Of Adult Residents Are Overweight Or Obese." The Huffington Post., 04 June 2013. Web. 01 Aug. 2013. <>.