Overweight and Obese: America’s Scream for Change


            The following annotated bibliography is based on America’s health issues dealing with obesity in not only adults, but in children as well. Obesity is quite common, but very serious and should be taken as big deal. Centuries ago, being fat meant living the good life and you were wealthy. Now, that is not the case. Since the 1970’s, obesity has doubled in adults and children. Obesity is in widespread and continues to be a leading health issue in America, but what’s the reason? There is no simple answer to why there is so much obesity. Numerous factors contribute all comes from not taking care of ourselves and the way we eat some would say. Incorporating physical activity into everyday living and paying attention to what we eat are very important. A part of the problem is that many people run to comfort foods or cheap foods like McDonald’s and don’t even realize all the calories they’re consuming. America is a country that is always on the move and we are so busy, so fast food is a convenience. When you think about it, women are rapidly drifting out of the housewife world and actually working jobs, so there aren’t a lot of home-cooked meals made. Obesity is also correlated with economic standpoints. A lot of people can’t afford healthy living and organic foods. They think about quantity over quality. Children are becoming more and more overweight because parents don’t care about their children being active or what foods they consume. They don’t go outside and play as much. They spend more time playing video games, watching TV, and using social media. They over feed them the wrong foods as well, so a mix of not getting the appropriate exercise and consuming all these unhealthy foods is what is making children obese. Obesity is an avoidable situation that leads to many chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, and even some cancers. As I read essays and remarks from Radley Balko, Michelle Obama, and Michael Pollan, I learned their different arguments on obesity and health in America and what they believe the solution should be. As an American, I feel that obesity is threatening to our society. Obesity is a matter where we have to try to avoid by taking care of our bodies. Obesity is dangerous and some Americans are screaming for a change.

Annotated Bibliography

Balko, Radley. “What You Eat Is Your Business.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 395-99. Print.

In “What You Eat Is Your Business,” Radley Balko argues about how the government is spending lots of money on anti-obesity measures, but this is the wrong way to prevent obesity. According to Balko, “For decades now, America’s health care system has been migrating toward socialism. Your well-being, shape, and condition have increasingly been deemed matters of the ‘public health,’ instead of matters of personal responsibility” (396). He argues for less government intervention. Obesity should be in the hands of the individual instead of the public realm. To him, we are responsible for ourselves and ourselves only. Balko also states: “The best way to alleviate the obesity “public health” crisis is to remove obesity from the realm of public health. It doesn’t belong there anyway. It’s difficult to think of anything more private and of less public concern than what we choose to put into our bodies. It only becomes a public matter when we force the public to pay for the consequences of these choices” (397). Basically, Balko is saying that weight is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. If people were responsible for paying their own medical bills, then they will be forced to face their own consequences. Balko concludes by saying once obesity is in the hands of the individual, then will things get better for America.

Obama, Michelle. “Remarks to the NAACP.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 417-33. Print.

In “Remarks to the NAACP,” Michelle Obama discusses the importance of children living and maintaining healthy in the African American community. She stresses the fact that one in three children are overweight or obese, which puts them in great risks of having diabetes, cancer, asthma, and heart disease. She discusses the fact that the government is spending millions of dollars treating these conditions which is going to increase when these unhealthy children become adults. Michelle Obama states: “Our parents made us get up and play outside. Had to get up, get out, didn’t have to˗˗˗just couldn’t be inside. And we would spend hours riding bikes, playing softball, freeze tag, jumping double-dutch. Kids nowadays don’t even know how to jump double-dutch” (421). By this statement, Obama is making a reference to her childhood and current childhoods. Kids aren’t active like they used to be because they sit inside watching TV and playing video games. Along with Balko, Obama also believes that by offering people the best health care, it’s still not going to make a difference if people are still living unhealthy lives. The conditions are just going to get worse. According to Obama, “It’s about making those little changes that can really add up˗˗˗simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking instead of riding in a car or bus, even something as simple as turning on the radio and dancing with your children in the middle  of your living room for hours” (428). Obama thinks by making small changes and switching up daily routines is a great start on trying to be more active. Obama believes that not only should we make changes in what are children are eating, but we should make changes in our own lifestyles as well.

Pollan, Michael. “Escape from the Western Diet.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 434-41. Print.

            In Michael Pollan’s “Escape from the Western Diet,” he discusses breaking away from the western diet that we Americans love. Americans spend so much money on food daily and it’s so cheap and good, but it’s awful for us. It’s becoming more and more common each day. According to Pollan, “when most of us think about food and health, we think in fairly narrow nutritionist terms˗˗˗about our personal physical health and how the ingestion of this particular nutrient or rejection of that affects it. But I no longer think it’s possible to separate our bodily health from the health of the environment in which we eat or, for that matter, from the health of our general outlook about food (and health)” (439). Most people have a narrow outlook on health, simply believing that eating vegetables is good for you period. But, they should be paying attention to where the vegetable came from and what pesticides may be on the vegetables. In reality, those vegetables could be harming you more than if you decided to eat a burger.  Pollan doesn’t have a narrow nutritionist outlook. He looks at the general outlook of health. Pollan believes that if we eat food, not eat too much, and eat primarily plants then we will live a healthier lifestyle. 


Healthy Living in America (Unit II Collaborative Play)

Healthy Living in America

Character Guide

Radley Balko: “What You Eat is Your Business” Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason, a monthly magazine that claims to stand for free minds and free markets.

Jennifer Goodman: Deputy Director of scheduling and events in the White House.

Michelle Obama: An assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago, the dean of student services at the University of Chicago, and vice president of community and external affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center. This text comes from a speech she made to promote her, “Let’s Move!” campaign against childhood obesity at the NAACP national convention in Kansas City, Missouri on July 12, 2010.

Susie Orbach: Chair of the Relational School in the United Kingdom, is also involved in with Anybody, an organization “that campaigns for body diversity.” Orbach has worked as an author and a therapist for women’s health issues and even served as an advisor to Princess Diana when she was suffering from bulimia. Orbach has written several books on women’s health including Bodies (2009), On Eating (2002), and Fat is a Feminist Issue (1978).

Judith Warner: An author who has been featured in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine, with her column “Domestic Disturbance” on November 25, 2010 (2010). In addition she has written four other books. Not only does she write but added to her achievements she also hosted the Judith Warner Show on satellite radio.

David Zinczenko: A successful man and writer who is editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine. Also, he is the author of several books and is illustrated in many big newspapers in the world and has made appearances on talk shows. David strongly believes that obesity in children is just as much the restaurants fault as it is the customer.

Michelle Obama hosts an afternoon lunch in the White House garden and a conversation starts on America’s Health.

Jennifer Goodman: Good Afternoon and Welcome to the White House. Mrs. Obama would like to thank you for being here for this lovely afternoon lunch. She will join us momentarily when the meal is served.

Jennifer walks to the doors and allows the waiters to bring out the meal.

Judith Warner: Oh wow this is a nice set up.

David Zinczenko: It’s a beautiful day too.

Jennifer arrives back with the First Lady, Michelle Obama greets her guests and sits at the head of the table joining the conversation.

Michelle Obama: Welcome everyone! I’m glad that you all can join me for this beautiful lunch that my staff has prepared.

Radley Balko: What? No cheese burgers?

Group laughs

Susie Orbach: No way! Us girls have to watch our weight!

MO: That’s a good point Susie. That’s why I really wanted you all to come here today! “There is an issue that I believe cries out for our attention and that is the issue of childhood obesity in America today” (420).

DZ: I agree. “By age 15, I had packed 212 pounds of torpid teenage tallow on my once lanky 5-foot-10 frame” (392).

MO: I know when I was growing up, “our parents made us get up and play outside. We would spend hours riding bikes, playing softball, freeze tag, and jumping double-dutch” (421).

SO: I believe obesity isn’t something only children battle. “Fat is a social disease, and fat is a feminist issue” (449).

DZ: Yeah “I got lucky. I went to college, joined the Navy Reserves and got involved with a health magazine. I learned how to manage my diet. But most of the teenagers who live, as I once did, on a fast-food diet won’t turn their lives around” (392).

MO: “But let’s be clear, this isn’t just about changing what our kids are eating and the lifestyles they’re leading – it’s also about changing our own habits as well” (430).

JW: “You need to present healthful eating as a new, desirable, freely chosen expression of the American way” (402).

RB: In all honesty, to me “the best way to alleviate the obesity “public health” crisis is to remove obesity from the realm of public health” (397).

MO: I agree. “We can offer people the best health care money can buy but if they’re still leading unhealthy lives, then we’ll still just be treating those diseases and conditions once they’ve developed rather than keeping people from getting sick in the first place” (424).

RB: “We’ll all make better choices about diet, exercise, and personal health when someone else isn’t paying for the consequences of those choices” (398).

MO: “Look, no one wants to give up Sunday meal. No one wants to say goodbye to mac and cheese, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes forever. No one wants to do that. Not even the Obama’s, trust me. But chefs across the country are showing us that with a few simple changes and substitutions, we can find healthy, creative solutions that work for our families and our communities” (428).  And on that note, let’s eat!

Everyone begins eating.

Works Cited

Balko, Radley. “What You Eat Is Your Business.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in

Academic Writing. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 395-98. Print.

Obama, Michelle. “Remarks to the NAACP.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in

Academic Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 417-33. Print.

Orbach, Susie. “Fat is a Feminist Issue.” They Say, I SayThe Moves that Matter in Academic

Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 449-452. Print.

Warner, Judith. “Junking Junk Food.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves that Matter in Academic

Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 400-05. Print.

Zinczenko, David. “Don’t Blame the Eater.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in                                      Academic Writing. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton,     2012. 391-94. Print.

The American Dream: Is it Really Dead?

The American Dream: Is it Really Dead?


            In the following bibliography, I will be explaining what the American Dream is, how it is slowly dying, and what contribute to its death or demise. Since the early civilization of the American people, The American Dream has been the foundational principle for our lifestyles, but is this really dead for us? Growing up in America, we are told about “The American Dream,” the life that gives us our rights of equality, freedom, opportunity, a life of personal happiness, and material comfort. Every American knows what the American Dream is, but attitudes about it change as each new generation comes of age. The attitude of hope and faith in fulfilling the dreams and wishes we look forward too is swiftly changing to a focus on the material things in life. Economic hardships also impact our beliefs and faith in the dream. The perception and optimism about the American Dream differs among races and ethnic groups. Although we are told that if we work hard and play by the rules as long as God allowed us, then we would be able to go far in life, but that’s not the case for many Americans. As I read journals from Cal Thomas, Mara A. Cohen-Marks, Christopher Stout, and Brandon King, I learned their different opinions on the American dream and what should be the solution to the problem. I chose this topic because my faith is still strong in living the American Dream, and I believe that the true values of it are still alive, but our society’s viewpoint on it are completely skewed and misconceived.

Annotated Bibliography

Thomas, Cal. “Is the American Dream Over?“They Say, I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 568-71. Print.

Cal Thomas explains in his column, “Is the American Dream Over?” how the government is truly responsible for the prevention of fulfilling the American dream. According to Thomas, the government is so dysfunctional (blaming the Democrats) and that putting our faith into them to achieve this so-called American dream would be absolutely dumb or as he says: “…doing more than dreaming” (570). According to Thomas, Democrats are responsible for our economic and cultural downfall, and America’s liberal dream succeeded because of over-taxing, over-spending, and over-regulating the government. He defines the American dream for the modern period as a society that wants to gain greater prosperity and cares more about the material things in life. He suggests that the government is a major factor to the downfall of fulfilling the American dream. The American people are slowly beginning to not to have much to believe in. Times are hard and most people are worried about how the next bill is going to get paid instead of the “American dream.” Thomas puts the blame on the Democrats for us not believing in the American dream. He concludes that throughout generations we won’t be taught about the American dream or supported by our culture, but he believes that it will still be around. The idea will still be alive, but we need to do but trying to realize the crisis we are in. In Thomas’ views, “We must also understand what got us here and the path that leads upward” (Thomas 570).

Cohen-Marks, Mara A., and Christopher Stout. “Can the American Dream Survive the New Multiethnic America? Evidence from Los Angeles.Sociological Forum 26.4 (2011): 824-45. JSTOR. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.

Cohen-Marks and Stout evaluate perceptions of the American dream by examining different races and ethnic groups and how their optimism varies throughout every race in “Can the American Dream Survive the New Multiethnic America? Evidence from Los Angeles.”  The authors thoroughly explain and consider the similarities and differences in how racial and ethnic groups analyze their progress and prospects in reaching the American dream. According to Marks and Stout, “Analyzing decades of survey data, Hochschild (1995) found that faith in the American dream differs significantly for blacks and whites and along lines of income, education, and gender” (828). They suggest that Blacks’ long and rough history in the U.S. from being slaves, Jim Crow Laws, current racial profiling, and political disenfranchisement has the African Americans doubtful because of their “long turbulent history in the United States from slavery to Jim Crow laws to current concerns about racial profiling and political disenfranchisement” (829). African Americans’ economic hardships and social opportunities make it hard for them to even believe in the American dream. The authors suspect that Latinos and Asian Americans have the greater viewpoints on the American dream and is an idea that they try to work hard for and look forward to. Marks and Stout states,  “Many Latino immigrants who settle in to the United States provides better social, economic, and political opportunities than their home country” (Wampler qtd. in Cohen-Marks and Stout 830). Many immigrants come down from their countries and find America as a haven. It’s a country of freedom and lots of economic opportunity. This country offers a fresh start for them and they appreciate and value the idea of the American dream, even if they don’t obtain it in their lifetime.  Lastly, the authors suggest the following: “Previous studies have shown that perceptions of an individual’s achievements in life are often measured by assessing success relative to the person’s parents’ success and/or their progress on several social and economic measures” (Judge and Hurst qtd. in Cohen-Marks and Stout 830). Out of everything, where you come from is a contributing factor to the way you perceive the American dream and how well you or your family is doing in the economy.

King, Brandon. “The American Dream: Dead, Alive, or on Hold?“They Say, I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 572-79. Print.

In “The American Dream: Dead, Alive, or on Hold,” Brandon King defends the fact that American dream is very much alive and suggests what we as Americans should do about it. King redefines the American dream as “the potential to work for an honest, secure way of life and save for the future” 573). He says that many Democratic economists say that the American dream is dead, but to him it’s more alive than ever. When you analyze and dissect the true meaning of the American dream, you realize that the dream really meant going from “dirt poor to filthy rich and becoming more than you could ever imagine” (573). Most Americans now are happy with a stable income in the middle-class range and planning for their future of stability. King brings up another good point on how Americans are so caught up on wealth just pouring into the rich, that we are worrying ourselves and focusing on primarily inequality instead of achieving the ultimate goal. Based on previous research, perception is one of the top main factors in the American dream. Americans have to have more faith and determination according to him. Finally, King concludes by sharing the ultimate goal: “If the Great Recession has taught us anything, it is that planning for the future by saving more and enacting policies that sustain economic growth are what will keep the American Dream alive” (578).