OBESITY: Overcoming Personal Challenge 

January 23, 2020 | PBAT MAGAZINE

By Said Alava-Loor, Betsy Nunez, Brayan Pulido & Hugo Wu

If you ask people “Do you like going to McDonald’s?” The average answer will be yes, everyone loves going out to eat, the french fries are good and the chicken nuggets are just right. The food at McDonalds is fast, affordable, and it's just delicious. After a tasty meal at McDonalds customers leave and that was it. 

Not a lot of people think about what they just ate or how they are going to burn all the fat that they consume. This is a common habit of millions of Americans, is it healthy? No. Do you have to eat this? No. But in reality, who has the time to make a meal. So people just eat and fuel an industry with a worth of over $500 billion. What these brands are related with the most is causing Obesity. 

What is obesity?obesity in its most simple of terms in when an individual is overweight, they have a high amount of fat in their body, exactly 36%. Obesity is the overexces of fat in the body, be it visceral or subcutaneous. Obesity is caused by a high percentage of fat in the body. 

For someone to be labelled as overweight their fat percentage should be higher than 30%. Having a high fat percentage, be it visceral or subcutaneous could have harmful effects. This fat can be divided into two types of fat. The type of fat depends on where it is, if the fat is between organs its called visceral fat. If the fat is under the skin, it is called subcutaneous fat, which is also bad but it does not cause as many diseases compared to visceral fat.

Talking about diseases, the diseases that are a product of visceral fat can be heart attacks, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, raised blood pressure, strokes, breast and colorectal cancer, and even Alzheimer’s. Aside obesity affecting the body, it also affects the mind. People who are overweight may have a lower self esteem and anxiety, and can develop more serious disorders like depression. Obesity causes harm in people.

 

BREAKFAST: Personal Stories of Writers

Said: I am a 17, male, Latino, student at Flushing International High school. Obesity hits close to home, I used to weigh over 200 pounds, 228 pounds to be exact. I have been struggling with obesity for years, as far as I can remember I have been a chubby kid. And at that time it was okay, I really didn’t care about my weight, however eventually when I got to high school. that's when I began to take notice of it, I was not confident, I was hiding that by telling everyone how I didn’t care about my weight,  joking about myself, and wearing a black hoodie. This black hoodie I wore almost every day to school. The first year of high school I was distracted playing video games, I disliked how I look and didn’t do anything to change it. Then I went to Ecuador during the summer I lost weight, 20 pounds. And then I gained some weight and became the heaviest I’ve ever been. 

I again started to lose weight and I am still in the process, now that I have lost over 40 pounds, I feel more confident about myself, I feel better, I perform better, overall things are better, of course there Is still a journey to complete. Obesity is a personal  topic for me. I chose to discuss and explore this topic because as a big portion of the US population faces this problem in human health. I want to help, I want to tell others what this problem is, what causes, what are its effects, how people feel, this project is a mask to share this ominous warning and comprehensive solution to one's personal health, and personal life improvement.

 

Betsy: I have 18 years old, female Latina from Dominican Republic, student of Flushing International High School. I decide to do this topic because I want to know about it, I want to know how people get fat, how can we stop obesity, how can we help people, and all about obesity like what is affected, what could be affect by the obesity, if someone are obese are in risk or no, and  is a good way to

control the obesity or just lost all the weight. By myself personal and also saw a lot of people that had gained weight by depression or loneliness, and that’s produce anxiety, and I know how bad is it, so that’s a disease (obesity) that produce more than one disease if we don’t take care of it early also if you have a specially disease so you can’t gain weight it can affect your health. 

Also because my family was affected by that, for example, my grandma has just a problem in the column and something else and the doctor said that she has to go on a diet to lose weight to get a normal weight for her age. My mother also had kidney problems and the doctor said she can't drink soda and many more things from which she can gain weight. A little more to add is that I want to know why are people that eat a lot and don't gain weight but there are people that eat normally and get fat faster, so how is  the organism to do this.

 

Hugo: My father used to be 300 pound when my family still in China.  My father used to eat a lot, and eat 4 times a day. Obesity struggles my father a lot, because obesity also bring a lot of diseases. Therefore when the diseases come and find my father for example hypertension, hyperglycemia and early diabetes, and diabetes is hereditary from my grandmother, which means  Also obesity bring him disability for example like can’t run fast or long, inconvenient to move. Therefore my father brought my family to exercise like running, traveling, biking so stuff like that.  

But after my family migraine to America, he still didn’t make it to 200 pound.  But I have to separate with him because of work.  Then after 3 years later when he came back from work  he lose his weight from 300 pound to 200 pound. And now his hypertension, hyperglycemia is normal, diabetes is close to cure, slim body and healthy body.  Then he said eating habits is very important, because the place he worked use a lot of physical strength, also cause a lot of time, after he got home is like 12pm at night, which means no time to cook, but he almost never eat fast food and he saved it and eat his dinner the next day. 

 

Psychological Stress

Besides being unhealthy physically, people can be affected in obesity in many other ways. Currently people are judged as being fat, leads to the negative psychological side effects. Often kids and overweight adults are being ridiculed and being the butt of the jokes. 

This social pressure of being thin has lead to dangerous disorders like anorexia, bulimia, or being eating disorders developing frequently in teenagers, specifically over one third of teenagers. This all can be fatal for the ones affected by it, especially in the developing face of a teenager when they are going through puberty, which can be said that the process alone is a challenge of its own. 

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FIHS Cafeteria Vending Machine

 

Lunch: Lesson from the Gym Teacher

Our team interviewed Mr. Chris, the Gym teacher of Flushing International High School, because as a gym teacher he may know something about this topic. We wanted to hear his perspective to obesity. He says ”some of the factors are that there is a lot of screen time, where students at a young age- they are playing video games or in their Ipads and they are not going out or exploring… doing things 20-30 years ago kids did.” 

 

We are going to make a comparison between the end of the 2010s and the end 1980s. How the “screen time” has changed between the years. Quick definition, screen time is the amount of time spent using basically something with a screen. The first video game was invented in 1972, animated series where also big during the same time, the first cellphone was made in the 1980s and even then it was expensive, more affordable cell phones wouldn't come until the 1990s. people in the 1980 had arcades, had phones, and movies like the Breakfast Club, or Heathers, they had blockbuster. They had access to what we have access now, everything is similar, what has changed is the accessibility. You have the access of libraries of thousands of movies and tv shows with netflix. Video games can be played in consoles, computers, and phones. Any kind of visual entertainment can be reached with a cellphone, this has made our lives easier, but it has also made us lazier, it has made people fall under a sedentary lifestyle. 
 

We are going to make a comparison between the end of the 2010s and the end 1980s. How the “screen time” has changed between the years. Quick definition, screen time is the amount of time spent using basically something with a screen. The first video game was invented in 1972, animated series where also big during the same time, the first cellphone was made in the 1980s and even then it was expensive, more affordable cell phones wouldn't come until the 1990s. people in the 1980 had arcades, had phones, and movies like the Breakfast Club, or Heathers, they had blockbuster. They had access to what we have access now, everything is similar, what has changed is the accessibility. You have the access of libraries of thousands of movies and tv shows with netflix. Video games can be played in consoles, computers, and phones. Any kind of visual entertainment can be reached with a cellphone, this has made our lives easier, but it has also made us lazier, it has made people fall under a sedentary lifestyle. 

 

Mr. Chris also stated that “kids, students, and children at a young age get involved in this technology and that takes something away from being active”. More technology has taken some of the stuff of being active, but also looking at a survey that we did for over 50 students in Flushing International High School. It shows that 50% of students go to a gym. The glass is both half full and half empty, so it does not click that if people have gotten lazy, then why are they going to the gym, after what you just read, doesn't that mean that less people should go to the gym. So students are still active outside of class, and this is not even counting the amount of students that participate in after school sports clubs. 

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FIHS Survey

 

 

Then, if students are not lazy, what else can affect them? Food. when asked if mister Chris though that the school was healthy he answered with “I do, I think that all food groups are represented in the plate.” The school menus offer, daily: fat free milk, Tuna or Turkey sandwiches, a variety of dipping sauces and dressings, and having what I like to call a salad buffet. It does not sound bad, but to be honest from a student's point of view it does not look that appetizing, and for students who are lactose intolerant, well they are out of luck, because the only thing they got is water, and for a school with international in the name, it sure does not know that people from South America, Asia, and Africa are mostly lactose intolerants. That lack alternative for lactose intolerance may explain why 60% of students drink in flushing international sugary drinks, however that's up to debate.

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FIHS Survey

More Thoughts from the Pros

Miss Polanco is also an FIHS GYm Teacher. She believes that obesity is a condition which is defined as the people that are overweight like extra fat, She thinks that the responsibility lies in us, both in food control and also having a motivation to exercise, with time, effort and dedication. She has not been affected by obesity but if her family has been affected.

 

Shereen Abbas: She worked for a weight loss center for 8 years.  The customers are mostly 30-50 years old women who want to lose the baby weight, and they are all from different types of races, mostly from the middle class that can afford the food. She says she helps people lose their weight from 10-15 pound, the reason of losing weight are health reasons, lower the risk of diseases, can be able to walk better or to be able to play with their kids, so they just want to get back to what they want before. Her company buy food from the other companies, then her company will help the customer learn about the food, also teach them about food.  And as the time passes, they learned the healthy eating habit which means they will plan their own healthy eating habits.  

Ms. Rosmery is the Assistant Principal of FIHS. She wants to stop the obesity is a big gap in the education aspect of nutrition and she wants to stop this by eating healthy food also the nutrition  And the valences nutrients so that  you get all the environments and proteins that you need but also eliminate the amount of carbs or unhealthy. 


 

Dinner: So What Can You Do?

The conveniences of fast food is incredible, just go to the McDonalds or Dunkin' Donuts that is just around the corner and eat to your heart's content, after all the 7 McFlurries you wanted to eat as a kid won't eat themselves. Don't want any of those two options. What, something more healthy? Okay, you will just have to walk 7 miles to the nearest Healthy restaurant to pay $17 for a vegan hamburger that tastes like puke, and the taste is no exaggeration. 

Usual prices for meals in fast food restaurants don’t go over $10 and with burgers for $1 it is easy to see people being persuaded to become loyal customers to a franchise that gives them cheaper meals. It seems fair, cheaper product, more customers. What these brands don't tell you or you don’t understand is that one, the products are cheap to make, these products are filled with trans fat. To give a little bit of context to why trans fats are bad, there are two cholesterol levels. The good one, HDL, and the bad one that nobody likes, LDL. What trans fat does, it that it decreases HDL levels and increases LDL levels. Aside from that Trans fat could lead to higher chances of heart diseases or strokes.

How can people prevent obesity? This question has two answers. The first answer is one that doesn't depend on you, but your genes. The answer is to have a fast metabolism, bummer right?  

 

Okay, now that the easy answer is out of the way, the real answer is to eat healthy. Is easy to say it, is difficult to do it. There are steps to being fit. First is educating yourself on what's healthy, what foods are good for you, and what food contains vitamins, fiber, and protein. If this is too complex to understand, and it gets confusing. A good rule of thumb is don’t eat in a fast food restaurant and don’t eat more of what you need. 

Aside from all of the technical procedures, being fit takes will power and being determined to stick to a routine and hard work. It may seem like a hassle but it's worth it. Second step is to make a routine, you wake up, make a healthy meal, work out either in the morning or whenever you can. This is also great advice for life, having an agenda is important, organization is key in a successful person's life. what is important about this step is sticking to a routine and doing it.

Suggestions for people who want to diet, there are a lot of sources that can help you with your journey to lose weight, the road will be tough and full of challenges, but it's possible and there are thousands of people who have done it, if you manage to do it, the benefits will outweigh the pain and limitations you had to go through. To begin, it would help to talk to a nutritionist or expert. In the end obesity its a problem that people face, faced, and may face. This has been a problem all through time, there are many ways people can face it. 

DESSERT: YUMMY DATA FROM OUR SCHOOL SURVEY

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FIHS Survey

 

Work Cited

Alava-Loor, Said, Nunez, Betsy, Pulido, Brian, Wu, Haolin.


Fast Food Industry Analysis 2020 - Cost & Trends, www.franchisehelp.com/industry-reports/fast-food-industry-analysis-2020-cost-trends/.