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The Land of the Fueled

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The Land of the Fueled

And the Home of the Fat

“The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now…” British Author J.G. Ballard said this of America in a 1983 interview. Though this quote was taken over twenty years ago, it resonates now more than ever. The United States of America has long been viewed as the world’s most resilient and sturdy country. No matter the stance of outsiders America has its problems just like the rest of the planet. Two major predicaments the United States is confronted with presently are obesity among the people, and increasing gasoline prices; because these are challenges there are ways to overcome them.

To start, Obesity is a major problem in America today. This is an issue that the country has been avoiding for a while and now having to face. Calculating Body Mass Index is the most common way of evaluating obesity. This measurement is a persons weight in proportion to their height. To be considered overweight one must have a BMI of twenty-five or greater (The Endocrine Society and The Hormone Foundation). The average American woman is five feet four inches tall, if she weighs one hundred fifty pounds her BMI is twenty-six, thus she is overweight. This is not an ailment discriminatory of race or sex. The statistics are extremely close in all categories this can

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be broken into. Americans are fat yet they aren’t trying to prevent it. For example, in 1991, ten percent of Americans were overweight. This value has multiplied to over twenty five percent in 2004 (National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases). More shocking than the previous the piece of information is the fact that over fifteen percent of children in America are overweight (National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases). Weight gain and obesity are caused by consuming more calories than the body needs; most commonly by eating a diet high in fat and calories, being sedentary or both. However, the imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned can also be caused by a number of different obesity related factors. Including issues like genetics, hormones, behavior, environments, and even culture (Fuchs, 32-38).

While having no trouble filling up their stomachs, Americans are having much difficulty filling their gasoline tanks. Anyone living in America has noticed the rising gasoline prices. There are a number of factors that contribute to this phenomenon. A big portion of what Americans pay at the pump are government taxes. These taxes should decrease as citizens are paying more for gasoline due to shortages but there are other needs that have to be met. Corruption in the government can attribute to this ideal. For instance, in 1980, Ronald Reagan proclaimed in campaign commercials that Americans should throw energy resource maximums to the wind and go back to leisure activities of spending, driving, and wasting. The former President, even went as far as to order the solar energy panels recently installed on the White House removed and trashed, to show that he wasn’t scared of oil shortage (Heinberg, 75). Another speculation is that the energy company’s greed in North America has been driving them to practice price

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gouging (Fuerth and Neff, 413). For example, natural gas prices would rise in winter, when consumption is highest, and fall in the summer months. Similarly, gasoline would cost more before a summer long weekend when people drive more to go to places. Oil prices also increase during war situations. Currently the United States is engaged in war and peace movements with Iraq and affecting much of the Middle East in a negative way. This is where America gets a large majority of oil and when ties to this region aren’t sound loses will incur. This is a problem that will not cease until Americans give up the need for fuel.

Although obesity and increasing oil prices are distressing America, there are ways to combat these disputes. In the case of obesity there is much that could be done, if Americans are willing. For most people obesity is a treatable and manageable condition. First every person must evaluate their

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