Executive Summary

11/06/02

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Rise of Health Consciousness Since 1945

Figure doing situps

Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, Americans have become obsessed with their bodies and appearances.  As more information about cancer and other diseases was revealed, many Americans chose to change their lifestyles to decrease risk of early mortality.  Despite this, approximately 58 million Americans, or about one-third are overweight.  300,000 deaths per year are attributed to poor diet and inactivity.  Nearly 70 percent of cardiovascular disease cases are related to obesity.  Due to these staggering statistics, home gym systems and gym memberships are all the rage.

This topic is vital to the curriculum because it examines American societal trends throughout the last four decades.  In the 40s amphetamines were prescribed to overweight people.  In the 50s, the sugar alternative, Saccharin was introduced.  In the 60s sugar free soda was introduced.  In the 70s, salad bars were introduced.  In the 80s slim fast programs take over.  In the 90s, appetite suppressant drugs were prescribed.

Other topics we will discuss are eating disorders, diet programs, medical technology, Mcdonaldization and obesity, body image, and marketing of fitness products.

*Facts from www.cnn.com and www.myscaledown.com.

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