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OBESITY IS THE RESULT OF MODERN LIFESTYLE

BY

FATIN NAJWA BINTI ABDUL NASSER

0719568

KULLIYYAH OF SCIENCE

BIOMEDICAL

MADAM RUHIL AMAL

GROUP 41

INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY OF MALAYSIA

19TH OCTOBER 2009

ABSTRACT

In attempt to figure out the exact reason that causes obesity, this term paper explores and compiles the findings and discoveries of several past researches on how modern lifestyle can result in obesity. Furthermore, these findings were compared to the positive and negative aspects of another insignificant factor namely genetic inheritance in order to determine whether or not modern lifestyle is the actual causative reason towards obesity crisis. It was discovered that modern lifestyle is obviously the factor that causes obesity cases to keep on rising from time to time. Still, some parties may argue on how obesity is inevitable, when the real fact is; it is our lifestyle that determines whether we will end up being an obese individual or not.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

Introduction

Argument 1

Argument 2

Counter-Argument

Refutation

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Conclusion

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References

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Attachment: Checked drafts

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INTRODUCTION

While just wandering around the mall, watching shoppers stroll everywhere during Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday season, I was struck with just how serious obesity problem is becoming. This has brought me back to one of my readings which stated that; Since 1994, when the Department of Agriculture issued the New Food Pyramid (a low fat, grain-based diet), the number of overweight and obese people in many countries has continued to increase. Try as they might, the medical professions have yet to come up with a successful strategy for long-term weight loss. In fact, depending upon how one reads the medical literature, conventional medical diet strategies have a success rate at the level between 3 and 6% only (p. 66).

To come and think about this, the fact issued is relevant enough, considering on what our society is becoming nowadays. A simple statistic goes, in every four people, there will be at least one obese individual standing at the end of the corner (Brownstein, 2008). If we care enough to study the medical report in most of the health care centers, it is proven that obesity has conquered the medical bills with the all-time arising reported cases of diabetes, stroke, heart attack, hypertension, high cholesterol level and some others. In fact, ABC News recently reported that 30 percent of medical costs in USA are resulting from obesity (Anderson, 2008). This agrees to the fact that death rate caused by obesity is keep on increasing gradually from time to time. (Schwartz, 2008) When this issue is majorly being discussed, modern lifestyle is said to be the most interconnected factor that leads to obesity. Well, it is not a shock after all as our lives nowadays are too pampered with the culprits of obesity. For instance, there is a coke machine in every two blocks of schools and every time we pump gas, there is a display of hams and donuts at the counter where we pay the lady (Kevin, 2007). Fast food restaurants are all around the places it
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seems like an inevitable thing for us. In addition to that, lets take a peek into the lifestyle of youngsters nowadays, even adults. They are fast food and hang out lovers. They find it so nice roaming here and there drinking soft drinks, listening to music while munching some really crunchy chips, and eating chocolates during all the free time they have. This is the new reality of human existence all over the planet. Most of us will think that it is okay to adopt this kind of lifestyle without realizing that bit by bit it brings harm to our body system and at the same time affecting the whole population towards obesity, just by introducing the modern lifestyle which the next generation will tend to follow afterwards. The controversy arises, whether or not obesity is the result of modern lifestyle. Is it true that people nowadays suffer from obesity mainly because of the lifestyle they adopt, not because of the other possible minor factors? Studies and researches on this issue have been widely discussed and the results are encouraging that it is the modern lifestyle that leads to obesity. This is why, despite others opinions that go against this issue, I still believe that obesity is certainly the result of the modern lifestyle because of the food we consume, daily routines people lead and poor diet that we have.

ARGUMENT 1 There are many studies currently in progress which revolve around the causes that may lead to obesity. One of the issues being studied includes the effects of foodstuff we consume these days towards our health. Back in the 50s, the food pyramid had protein as the center food, surrounded by many greens and very little starch (David, 2007). But now, a drastic revolution is happening where we can find starch and carbohydrates being the main elements in the food pyramid, followed by the next obesity culprit; sugar. From this fact alone we can detect the root of the crisis. People often do not realize that it is the food they consume everyday that can actually bring harm to their body. In addition to that, the term fast food nation is the best term to describe the eating habit of our society nowadays (Meyer, 2007). Look everywhere around us; McDonalds is every kids preference for lunch, Burger King is becoming a very famous meal among teenagers, and eating super-sized portions of greasy and processed food is normal to our daily diet. Fast foods for all their advantages in sparing us our so-called-precious-time preparing for home-made meals have many drawbacks too. One significant problem with fast foods is that they are very high in calories even if they are being consumed in a small portion. Furthermore, according to an endocrinologist in one of his articles, fast foods like McDonalds, Burger King as well as processed foods are harder and slower to digest, and also sometimes can require us months to do so. (Baulk, 2006) Staying in the topic on how food consumption by modern people can lead to obesity, people today have gotten used to consuming frozen, processed foods along with carbonated, caffeinated, alcoholic drinks or as far as Malaysians go; cendol, teh tarik and ABC. These are all

fattening as all of this kind of foodstuff contains a lot of sugar, complex carbohydrates, trans-fat and so forth. Sometimes, a very small size of chocolate bar can cost us up to thousands of calories. Thus, people who are ignorant towards this matter will continue their eating habits without considering that overlooked issue like this is actually the one that causes them to suffer from obesity later on. For instance, trans-fat is one of the compulsory ingredients in every single burger served by fast food restaurants (Mohd Ghazali, 2006). While sugar and caffeine are there in every cup of coffee or latte we sip at Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and they mostly come in large amounts too. Whats frustrating is that it seems like an unavoidable thing for us since it is becoming a public trend in this modern age. Although obesity is not a new-found problem in the whole wide world, but it can be clearly assumed that it is majorly caused by the modern lifestyle, particularly the food offered by the modern world nowadays. This is because people who lived in about 5 decades ago or earlier were not facing, if not all, such a serious issue of obesity like the one we are facing in the present time. Hence, it is wise for us to move one step closer into understanding the problem before making attempts to solve it. A statement quoted from Newsweek goes; There are actually more overweight people on Planet Earth now than there are hungry or starving people. In fact, there are probably twice as many chubby humans as there are malnourished humans; first time that ever happened! (p. 44).

So, finding the solution to this problem is not for research purposes only as it is now has becoming a need for population benefits as a whole.

ARGUMENT 2 As we are all well aware of, the world today is very different from what it was many years back. People daily routines have also undergone various transformations ever since. Advanced technologies caused workforce demands to be escalated (Hasnat Khan, 2008). But the problem is, it started to look like every human being is becoming workaholic nowadays. Poor time management is the common reason given on why they have to eat out, to have fast foods for lunch and to have inadequate amount of rest. Our body requires ample amounts of energy to function optimally. Today, however, we enjoy eating foods that deprive our body from gaining the sufficient amount of energy and worse, sufficient amount of rest as well. When this happens, we will turn into a lethargic individual and will also make us more susceptible to illnesses and diseases. A rare finding that most people are unaware of is on how stress can lead to obesity. Workaholic individuals habitually will ignore their bad sleeping time just as to finish their work. Inadequate amount of rest and sleep will stimulate our body to release the hormone, cortisol (Tortora & Derrickson, 2006). There have been numerous studies on the release of cortisol during acute and chronic stress, along with the physiologic effects this hormone has on our body. This is the first study to found out that even in non-overweight women, this excess cortisol contributes to the deposition of visceral fat particularly in the abdominal region (Wilkin, 2006). This minor finding may be neglected by a few parties but by having to live in a workaholism society like today, we have to take this fact into account too as slowly, everybody will be affected by it whether they realize it or not.

Advanced technologies offered by the world now have turned us into a lazy society. Back in the past, we used to walk all day because we had to walk all day. Now, except for people who live on islands and find it impractical to own a car, most of us never walk anywhere, anymore. So there is no way to work off the added calories that jump into our mouths from the display shelves in every mall, restaurants and just about everywhere. At the same time, people tend not to be as physically active too. Entertainment has gone from playing sports in the park to playing video game sports. And urban sprawl has made driving rather than walking or cycling the standard method for getting around (Samad Ali, 2009). Fast food restaurants on the other hand are very smart in playing their marketing strategies by offering customer-friendly services like Wi-Fi so that customers will stick around their places and eventually putting more and more calories into their mouths. Daily routine is very much related with obesity issue. Some people may choose to lead a healthy lifestyle but the problem is, with too much accessible conveniences offered, it seems like an impossible thing for us to get out of. As an individual, we are the ones who have to take care of our own health. We cannot just put the blame on the environmentally revolution while we do nothing else but chomp on that ever so tasty double-sized burger without thinking of any means that can maintain the good health such as exercising or working out. The theory is simple; the more we eat, the more we have to think on how to get rid of the extra kilos we will gain afterwards. We are the ones who should control the lifestyle of ourselves, not simply be influenced by the fads and trends which can bring harm to our own self.

COUNTER - ARGUMENT When most people advocate that modern lifestyle is the main cause which leads to obesity, there are still a few parties who opposed to this claim. These individuals are from the type who support that being obese is a result of genetic inheritance; that it is unlikely for us to become an obese merely from the lifestyle we lead. They are of the belief that genetic is the main aspect causing obesity because genes control a number of body processes such as fat storage, hormones production, blood glucose metabolism and many others (Bartiromo, 2008). Hence to them, genetically, if the parents are in obese category, then it is presumed that their children will eventually suffering from obesity too. Evidence that such individuals use to support their claim includes the ability of genes to capture, circulate and accumulate energy in human body. This is closely connected to obesity in such a way that our body weight can be influenced by these factors. Some people are simply born with a faster or slower metabolism than the others. This is why several people can eat and eat without the need to worry that they will gain an ounce later on, while the others feel as though if they just look at food without eating it, they can gain weight already. This is possibly the reason why genetic is said to be the reason for obesity. Moreover, there has been clinical evidence also to support this matter. As seen in health centers all over the world, arising medical cases reported on stroke, high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes and the like are increasing by time (Terry, 2006). This indirectly interpreted the result of obesity too because obesity plays quite a role in affecting the vulnerability of individuals towards those diseases. Plus, it seems like the diseases run in the

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familial pattern nowadays, suggesting that obesity, in this particular matter, has genetic cause. This fact adds up to the growing evidence points to heredity as a strong determining factor of obesity.

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REFUTATION Despite these claims, genetic factor still cannot surpass the impact modern lifestyle leaves towards obesity issue. A question for all of us to ponder is; If obesity occurs with a familial pattern, is it because of genetics or is it because of people in the family institution share the same habits and eating patterns? (Paul, 2003). In other words, do individuals in a family institution inherit the behavioral patterns or the biological patterns that will make them become overweight? The answer is certainly behavioral pattern. It is true that obesity tends to run genetically in families, however, family members share not only genes but also diet and lifestyle habits which obviously have such a great involvement in relation to obesity. To blame it entirely on genetics and give up on our diet and lifestyle care is ridiculous. If we sit on our butts all day eating those fast and junk foods, it is no wonder we are in the size we are now. The same goes if all members in the family enjoy being couch potatoes without considering to initiate such healthy outdoor activities like jogging, gardening, cycling or even indoor doings such as doing work-outs, dancing and to the most informal form of getting active it may be, cleaning the house. Because whether we realize it or not, all of these activities can result to a change in our energy balance, so that we tend to use more calories instead of just storing those (Tortora & Derrickson, 2006). According to one of the cohort studies done to a family institution in order to test on how modern lifestyle may lead to obesity compared to genetics, it is proven that genetic has got nothing much to do towards the cause of obesity. In this cohort study, an obese parent adopted a child to live with them since the child was a baby. Time after time, the child is slowly adapting to his parents lifestyle and finally became an obese too (Thomas, 2005). From this situation, it is

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clear that it is the lifestyle of an individual affect whether or not a person will become an obese. This is because the choice is in our own hands. Even if we are coming from an obese family, it is not the guarantee that we are necessarily will have to end up being like them. We are the ones who have to control our diet and lead a healthy lifestyle without being carried away with the trends of fast food nation and hang-out lovers like most of the folks nowadays have become accustomed with. The bottom line is, we need to know and understand our body better than anyone else does. If we are of the category of people who were born with slower metabolism rate, then it is essential for us to maintain a proper diet and be physically active in our daily lives because, unlike those with faster metabolism rate, we need to work off the intake calories in our body more than they will have to (Colligan, 2008). We cannot simply blame genetics and do nothing else to get rid of the inborn inheritance which can be clearly overcome with.

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CONCLUSION In conclusion, I believe that modern lifestyle trumps genetic factor in relation to the main causative reason that can lead to obesity. With the combination of unhealthy diet and advancement in technologies, modern lifestyle undoubtedly is said to be the root of obesity crisis. Although some people may have their qualms on this view, scientific researches through clinical and social importance has proven the fact that it is the time revolution that causes us to go along with the fads and trends of the modern society without contemplating the effects and consequences it may bring us soon after. Obesity today is not an unimportant issue to be taken lightly anymore. It is now has becoming one of the world biggest problems and day by day it results in death among the population (Sparkes, 2007). Plus, knowing now that it is the lifestyle people lead which result in obesity, it is sort of dangerous to live and blend in the obesity society as slowly, we will be liable to become one too. Therefore, instilling awareness among society is a wise step to take since self-awareness is always the best anticipation to control this problem. Being obesity is not all about the foodstuff we consume; it is actually more towards our attitude in loving and taking good care of our own body and healthiness. Of course everybody around us can give advices and guidelines on how to do so but if we deliberately refuse to follow what is being advised to us pertaining to this issue, then it is our own fault if the occurrences of obesity seem to be continuously running in our population. To prevent is always better than to cure. Needless to say, it aint easy to combat all of the obesity culprits nowadays but with selfawareness implanted within ourselves, bit by bit obesity can be, if not fully eradicated but decreased in the amount of people who are suffering from it.

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Lastly, as Muslims we must live moderately in everything (Al-Wajeez, 2006). We should avoid ourselves from spending time, money and energy on unnecessary purposes, similarly we should prevent ourselves from eating excessively and cause harm to our body (Abu Abdullah, 2004). Our body is a precious gift granted by Allah s.w.t. and it is our responsibilities to take a good care of it so that we will not be questioned by Him in the life Hereafter. Besides that, hanging out without doing any beneficial activities is such a waste of time, money and energy too. As a responsible individual, we should know how to manage our time and being wise in scheduling our daily routines. Another thing for us to bear in mind is that we should control our desires without letting them to have control upon us instead. We must take our Prophets example to heart, and live life as he lived his. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w always lives his life moderately and healthily, be it on what he eats everyday to what activities that he does daily which are never a waste to his time and energy (Ahmed Daud, 2005).

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REFERENCES Abu Abdullah (2004). Habbatul Barakah. Retrieved June 18, 2009 from http://calgaryislam.com/imembers/displayarticle191.html Ahmed Daud (2005) . Sweet Sunnah. Retrieved June 10, 2009 from http://www.sweetsunnah.com/ Al-Wajeez (2006). Hadis 40 : Rujukan pantas kehidupan Islami. Retrieved August 18, 2009 from http://books.google.com/books?id=pHoebfbKSr0C&d.html Anderson,R. (2007, June). Obesity is not just Americans problem anymore. ABC News. Retrieved August 12, 2009 from http://www.abcnews.com/obesity_news/14669258 Baulk,S. (2007, March). The real facts about calories. Readers Digest. p.122. Bartiromo, M. (2008, February). Obese genes? Newsweek p.36. Brown,T. (2008, February). Season of abundant food no more. Newsweek. p.44. Brownstein,A. (2006, January). Obesity and genes. Discovery Health Online. Retrieved August 15, 2009 from http://www.discoveryhealthCME.com/news130410814.html Colligan, D. (2008). The goods and bads of calories. QA Health Online. Retrieved August 4, 2009 from http://www.healthanswers.com/print/fat/calories/SA00040/ David,S. (2007). Common factors that contribute to obesity. BBC News. Retrieved August 15, 2009 from http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/ obese/diet-sport-obesity-michigan.htm Hasnat Khan. (2008, May) Upgrade yourself. Readers Digest. p.23.

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Kevin,S. (2007, July). Modernized human nutritions. The American Journal Institution. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/physiological_research Meyer,M. (2007, January). Growing : Now and then. Newsweek p.89 Mohd Ghazali (2006). Secret ingredients in halal food. Consumer Rights in Food. p.234. Paul, B. (2003). Does genetics cause obesity? International Journals on Obesity. Retrieved August 13, 2009 from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/html Ross,P. (2007, March). Fighting fat: New frontiers. Newsweek p.66. Samad Ali (2009). Technology kills. The Star Online. Retrieved September 2, 2009 from http://thestaronline.com/news/highlights/530298.html Schwartz, B. (2008, June). Fat nation. Readers Digest. Retrieved July 28, 2009 from http://www.rdasia.com/obesity_articles/6890674.htm Sparkes, K. (2007). Global research. Journal Collection of Thomas Jefferson University. Retrieved July 3, 2009 from http://www.physorg.com/news130410814.html Thomas, B. (2005). Parental control towards obesity problem. Science News Online. Retrieved August 15, 2009 from http://esciencenews.com/articles/howparentsaffectobesity/html Tortora, G., & Derrickson, B. (2006). Metabolism and nutrition. Priciples of Anatomy and Physiology. p.1065. Wilkin,T. (2006). The world is fat. International Journal of Obesity. Retrieved August 18, 2009 from http://www.goldenhelix.com/SNP_variation/html

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ATTACHMENT: CHECKED DRAFTS

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