Obesity and Junk Food
Is anyone familiar with Tik Tok, one of the most famous social media apps today? There was a time I chose to entertain my insomnia by going through this app, and I came across a video that caught my attention. A young lady had posted a video reacting to people calling her fat, unfit, and unattractive. Well, the lady was very upset and was shading tears over the whole negativity that she had received from her online “friends”. I felt her pain, and that I kept reflecting on the issue of having a perfect body. I realized that there is a thin line between having a perfect body and a healthy body.
That’s is why I am here to talk about obesity. Body shaming is among the social issues that are on the rise in today’s society. Therefore, talking about matters to do with obesity and reducing body weight even for health reasons can attract an audience that is hostile who strongly disagrees to the point of perhaps committing the ad hominem fallacy, which is attacking the person rather than the argument. I have no problem with people’s body size. We are all beautiful the way we are. However, are we all healthy the way we are? Obesity is the number one killer for people who neglect the dietary needs of the body. Therefore, as much as we say “my body my choice”, we need to reduce the consumption of junk food to prevent being overweight, which leads to obesity.
Many people believe that obesity is caused by a lack of exercise and has to do nothing with consuming junk food. Well, I do not disagree with that because exercising is also very important in maintaining a healthy body, but what is the point of doing ten or twenty star jumps or running a kilometre a day or after a couple of days and eating French fries, burger, and pizza all in a day. It is not enough to burn all the unhealthy sugars and fats you have consumed in one meal. Furthermore, you may think that your body is in good shape, yet your body mass index (BMI) is alarming, so you may not see the need to exercise. Someone might appear slender, but their BMI shows a possibility of being obese (WHO, 2021). Preventing obesity is not necessarily about watching the bodyweight but watching the diet. Relying on exercise alone might be a challenge for some people.
Obesity is a disease that affects people of different ages, including young children and the elderly. These groups cannot engage in a lot of physical ability. Feeding young children and the elderly with junk food will make them risk being obese. It is best to watch the diet of these populations rather than expecting them to exercise. Parents, therefore, have an important role in helping watch the health of their children by watching the diet they consume regularly. And remember teaching them early works best.
Some of you may be looking at me wondering that food is food, junk or not! You are right, food is food, but healthy food is best. There is no point in enjoying a meal today that will render you bed-bound after years because your heart cannot support your body or because you feel so exhausted to make a few steps. Junk foods are foods and drinks that lack healthy nutrients like fiber, vitamins, proteins, and minerals. The only things you get from consuming junk are saturated fats, sugar, added salt, and kilojoules (WHO, 2021). None of these ingredients is healthy for the body. On the contrary, they are a body’s slow poison.
Junk food drains the health of your body slowly by slowly, and some realize the danger they are in when it is too late. Saturated fats, for instance, will slowly settle on the body’s blood veins, making it hard for the normal circulation of blood and air. When you realize that you easily get tired after climbing a fleet of stairs or walking a short distance, you would want to have your BMI checked, but even before doing that, you need to replace that pizza that you were planning to have for diner today. You don’t want to suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure that is life-threatening just because you could not afford to eat steamed vegetables for lunch or an omelet for breakfast. Junk is not a requirement for any dietary needs. Consuming junk is like a drug addiction that kills you slowly while you enjoy the temporary high.
It is easy, fast, and convenient to find and prepare junk food, I know, but it does not take a week or a day to prepare healthy food. We can sacrifice some minutes and hours to prepare a meal that acknowledges the body’s dietary needs. Let’s put it this way. It is easy preparing any meal as long as it is for the good of our well-being. Nutritious food like proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber are necessary for helping keep the body fit. Therefore, it is worth it to spend some time preparing healthy meals rich in healthy nutrients that protect the body from obesity and other diseases like heart attacks (Fruh, 2017).
Furthermore, I don’t find walking, riding, or driving to a convenience store is a task too hard.
Almost all convenience stores have stocked their shelves with fresh produce like milk, eggs, meat, and fruits and vegetables. Convenience stores and grocery stores are found all over our estates. Therefore, it is easy to access fresh produce. People can also turn their backyards into small kitchen gardens and plant fruits, vegetables, cereals or domesticate animals or chicken as a source of food. Furthermore, just like you can preserve noodles for weeks before cooking, fresh plant and animal produce can also be preserved. There are different ways to preserve food; refrigerating, sun drying, smoking, or roasting. One can also precook these foods before preserving them to make them easier to prepare when needed.
Obesity destroys life, but the good news is that it is easy to keep it at by simply keeping off junk food. Exercise can help us keep the BMI n check, but not everyone can exercise enough. Therefore, it is better to stick to a healthy diet since it is something that everyone, young and old, student or employed, can do. There is a big difference between healthy food and junk food. Healthy food contains proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber that helps the body to maintain a healthy weight, despite one’s body size, which prevents obesity and other health risks. And although junk foods are easy to find, like in first food cafes, many convenience stores have started stocking their shelves with fresh plant and animal products. There are many convenience stores found in different places within our neighborhoods. Grocery stores are also the best places to find fresh animal and plant products that are sources of healthy foods. A home backyard is also a place that can change your food choice when used for planting or domesticating animals. And what’s best is that we can preserve these products for future use.
The next couple of days, when I went back to Tik Tok to see how my new “friend” was faring on, I saw that she had joined a body workout challenge after she admitted that she was struggling with excessive body weight. Aside from that, she had started a dine-with-me movement where she encouraged people to eat foods rich in proteins, fiber, and vitamins. I hope she sticks to her dietary goals to keep her BMI in check. I hope that by now, you all understand that I have nothing against people’s body sizes but am only concerned with how we can all maintain a healthy body that is safe from diseases. And I also hope that we are all going to show true love to our bodies by eating healthy meals that have the nutrients that our bodies thirst for every day.
Fruh, S. M. (2017). Obesity: Risk factors, complications, and strategies for sustainable long‐term weight management. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(S1), S3-S14. https://doi.org/10.1002/2327-6924.12510
WHO | World Health Organization. (2021, June 9). Obesity and overweight. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight