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Advertising and Obesity

Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat or adipose tissue in relation to lean body mass.[2] According to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), during the years between1988 and 1994, 45.3% of American white males and females, 60.1% of black males and females, and 64.5% of Hispanic males and females were obese.[3] Since obesity has been rising at an epidemic rate during the past 20 years in the United States, reducing its prevalence among adults to less than 15% has become one of our country’s national health objectives for the year 2020.[4]

This recent epidemic of obesity has created many health problems nationwide, such as increased rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, among others. Clearly, trying to attack this problem just on the individual level will not yield satisfactory results. Approximately 280,000 adult deaths in the United States each year are related to obesity, and obesity is also related to the causes of some cancers, such as colon, rectum, ovary and prostate. [5]Given the increasing prevalence of these diseases and the enormous growing social and economic costs of obesity, a part of the national budget needs to be set aside to provide educational and advocacy programs to help people and communities deal with this problem.

The diet industries participate actively in reducing obesity by promoting the use of diet pills, low-fat recipes, surgical treatments to reduce fat, and topically applied creams. Even though obesity is often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, the media have chosen to tackle the problem by promoting the quick fixes mentioned above, instead of by challenging the exercise and food choice habits that promote obesity. A…

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…l be a powerful tool to help resolve public health problems as well as social problems.

Sources Consulted

[1] Dam, Julie K.L., and Wihlborg, Ulrica, Weigh to go!, People Weekly, January 15, 2001.

[2] Stunkard AJ, Wadden TA. (Editors) Obesity: Theory and Therapy, Second Edition. New York: Raven Press, 1993.

[3] Center for Disease Control. HHS Issues Report on Community Health in Rural, Urban Areas. retrieved on October 10, 2001.

[4] Center for Disease Control. Obesity and Overweigh. retrieved on November 14, 2001.

[5] A Public Health Epidemic.

[6] Working Woman, September 2001, Special Anniversary Issue.

[7] Dam, Julie K.L., and Wihlborg, Ulrica, Weigh to go!, People Weekly, January 15, 2001.

[8] Weight Loss herbs: That Work and they’re SAFE! Prevention, August 2001.

[9] Understanding Adult Obesity. November 14, 2001.

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide – Eliminate the Pain or Eliminate the Patient?

Eliminate the Pain or Eliminate the Patient?

Proponents of euthanasia argue that “mercy-killing” is necessary because patients, particularly those with terminal illness, experience uncontrollable pain(1). They argue that the only way to alleviate the pain is to eliminate the patient. But is there a better way? This essay proves that there is a better way, and this medical opinion is backed up by the best medical opinion available.

The better response to patients in pain is not to kill them, but to make sure that the medicine and technology currently available to control pain is used more widely and completely. According to a 1992 manual produced by the Washing ton Medical Association, Pain Management and Care of the Terminal Patient, “adequate interventions exist to control pain in 90 to 99% of patients.”[2] The problem is that uninformed medical personnel using outdated or inadequate methods often fail in practice to bring patients relief from pain that today’s advanced techniques make possible.

Doctor Kathleen Foley, Chief of Pain Services at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, explained in the July 1991 Journal of Pain and Symptom Management how proper pain management has mitigated patient wishes for assisted suicide:

We frequently see patients referred to our Pain Clinic who request physician-assisted suicide because of uncontrolled pain. We commonly see such ideation and requests dissolve with adequate control of pain and other symptoms, using combinations of pharmacologic, neurosurgical, anesthetic, or psychological approaches.[3]

In treating “Total Pain” [4], it should be remembered that the social and mental pain suffered by terminally ill patients may exace…

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…tional Cancer Institute, “Questions and Answers about Pain Control,” (1992), pp. 43-51.

9. Matthew Conolly, M.D., letter to author, August 2, 1993.

10. Louis Saeger, “Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) in Caner Pain Management,” Supra Note 1, pp. 149-53.

11. Ibid.

12. Chuck Michelini, “Patients Put in Control of Their Pain Medication,” Medical Tribune (October 29, 1986): p. 46.

13. Gene Bylinsky, “New Gains in the Fight Against Pain,” Fortune (March 22, 1993): p. 116.

14. Matthew Conolly, M.D., letter to author, August 2, 1993.

15. Jane M. Anderson, “Pain Management: Challenging the Myths,” Medical World News (April 1992): p. 20.

16. David E. Weissman, June L. Dahl, and John W. Beasley, “The Caner Pain Role Model Program of the Wisconsin Cancer Pain Initiative”, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management v. 8 (January 1993): p. 29.

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