Obesity dramatically lowers a person’s life expectancy through a variety of possible complications, not the least of which is coronary heart disease. According to a study by the Veterans Administration, a morbidly obese person aged 25 to 34 is twelve times more likely to die during that time of their life than an individual of average weight (Drenick, 1980: 444). Some statistics link obesity to at least 300,000 U.S. citizens each year. Obese people also suffer increased incidence of other illness, such as diabetes, develop problems in their bones, joints and back and experience the psychological problems brought about by public humiliation of not being able to keep up with the crowd. “The direct costs associated with obesity represent 5.7 percent of the national health expenditure within the United States. The indirect costs attributable to obesity are $47.6 billion and are comparable to the economic costs of cigarette smoking” (Wolf, 1998: 97). The purpose of the present research is to examine the causes of obesity and coronary heart disease, how they are related to each other and what can be done to reduce the possibilities of developing these conditions.
There are a number of causes of obesity. People whose parents are overweight and who live in poverty or are otherwise restricted by a lower income have a greater likelihood of also being overweight. This is caused not only by heredity and genetics, but also by family culture as the individual learns poor eating habits and by the available food supply, which tends to be less nutritious and have greater fat content. Despite claims to the contrary, heredity can significantly influence obesity tendencies. People who are genetically predisposed to obesity actually do have greater difficulty trying to lose weight and then maintaining a more healthy body mass. Several studies have been conducted that illustrate that

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