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Artifact Annotations

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Weight Discrimination: The Effects of Obesity on Employment
This was a paper written by Andrea E. Chernov on the discriminations of obesity within the workplace. It explains the several reasons why there is discrepancy when it comes to employment of people who are overweight. It ranges from visual reasons to monetary reasons such as insurance. It was written in the past decade so it is pretty relative and up to date in the matter; it also comes from the University of Hawaii’s academic writing journal which covers various matters and issues. The audience for the journal is usually fellow colleagues of theirs who read their journal. This article really helped me when it came to the social aspect of my argument by providing how there is stigmas appearing in different areas when it comes to overweight people. I find it credible as it comes an accredited institution of higher learning.
Chernov, Andrea E. “Weight Discrimination: The Effects of Obesity on Employment.” University of Hawaii, Honolulu (2006): n. pag. Web. 8 May 2011. .

Find Yourself Packing It On? Blame Friends
This was an article written by Gina Kolata who takes a look at study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. She looks at their findings that obesity can travel from person to person especially if that person is a friend and even worse a close friend who has been gaining weight. This article was published in The New York Times a highly popular news source for not only New York but for the rest of the country. Gina is targeting an audience of everyone as it is published in the paper. The article can be attributed as a good and bad thing as I started in my argument because it encourages people to help their friends lose some weight and stay healthy but also could encourage them to alienate their fat friends in fear of gaining weight. This article like the previous one helped me in my social aspect of my public argument as I added that part recently after I looked at the societal aspects when rewriting my paper.
Kolata, Gina. “Find Yourself Packing It On? Look Around at Your Friends.” New York Times 26 July 2007, Print. (LexisNexis)

Society adapts to increasing obesity in Switzerland
This YouTube video really hit the main point of my argument when I was scouring google for sources. It displayed my main idea that society is having to change to accommodate the weight boost in the recent years. This video was put together by swissinfo a group and television channel in Switzerland who puts together information and videos about whats happening in their country. This video shows several things that have changed with the growing obesity epidemic such as MRI machines, incinerators, ambulances, and clothing. It is credible because it is publicly broadcasted in Switzerland on television which you wouldn’t want unfactual things broadcasted on one of their news channels. As I said before it helps my argument because it is the main point I am trying to convey that society is increasingly changing to accommodate obesity.

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Gastric Bypass Surgery

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Americans see thousands of ads about the next revolutionary weight loss book, diet, pill, program, exercise method, and countless other alternatives. With over 300,000 Americans dying each year and a $117 billion bill in health costs, it makes sense that attempts to provide solutions are increasing (Greenblatt, 2003). Surgery, however, appears to be the only true dramatic option for those seeking to lose significant weight. The most common method, gastric bypass surgery, is discussed by celebrities and late night infomercials alike. With claims ranging from miracle panaceas to terrible side effects, it can be difficult to decipher reality from puffery. In order to better navigate the truth, various several autonomous and reliable sources were consulted, ranging from medical journals to research studies to magazine articles. After examination of more credible sources, it is clear that the benefits outweigh the costs for gastric bypass surgery; however, it is a financial burden and there are not enough doctors to meet the demand. Therefore, traditional methods may be necessary, if surgery is not possible.

Due to the somewhat complex nature of the surgery, a thorough description is often disregarded in its various advertisements. According to Marc Ambinder, an Atlantic journalist who underwent the surgery, gastric bypass surgery is a procedure that re-directs the digestive system to the upper part of the small intestine, bypassing most of the stomach and duodenum (Ambinder, 2010).

Another less extreme but equal in price surgery called the Lapband procedure uses an adjustable band that restricts the amount of material that can pass through the stomach opening.

The most common of all gastric weight loss surgeries is, however, still the gastric bypass surgery. There are two types of gastric bypass surgeries: open and laparoscopic. Despite the significantly reduced cost of open surgery, on average $4,800, it is used in only 3% of bypass surgeries (Livingston, 2011). This is likely the result of its increased complications, hospital stays, intensive care unit admittance, and overall total cost, when compared to laparoscopic surgery. A laparoscopic procedure involves the use of small cuts and optic tools instead of opening the entire abdomen region, as the open method does. Therefore, the laparoscopic technique is much less invasive and risky than open surgery, making it a more logical and safe choice for most patients (Ambinder, 2010).

Not every individual can be considered for gastric bypass surgery. Because of the risks and limited supply of specialized doctors, surgeons typically only accept morbidly obese patients for the procedure. An obese person is defined by charts according to his or her height and weight. For example, a 5’ 6” male is considered overweight if he weighs 163 pounds or more. This male would be considered morbidly obese if he weighed 263 (100 pounds more than what is considered obese) pounds or more (Greenblatt, 2003). Thus, claims that the procedure is a panacea are false. Only morbidly obese individuals can receive this treatment type.

For those who qualify, gastric bypass surgery has numerous benefits. Of course, the main advantage is dramatic weight loss. On average, patients can expect to lose 100 pounds, depending on several factors including amount overweight, height, life changes, and genetics (Greenblatt, 2003). The direct benefit of weight loss is the paramount reason for undergoing gastric bypass surgery; however, there are several indirect benefits of the surgery. Overall, patients’ health improves with lowered obesity-related problems such as heart attacks, trouble sleeping, and breathing problems. In many cases, the procedure has even cured type two diabetes (Ambinder, 2010).

The extreme weight loss resulting from the surgery can also provide important social benefits. Since society does not regard obesity favorably, it can be difficult, as a morbidly obese individual, to navigate social situations and work. There is constant pressure to shed pounds that may or may not be easy to do. However, the procedure can make a significant step to reduce social segregation and return much needed self-respect and dignity. Marc Ambinder summarizes this sentiment when he says, “Walking by my office, a colleague calls me a ghost of my former self…I had the resources to conquer obesity and all its attendant miseries with major surgery” (Ambinder, 2010).

After experiencing the social and weight loss benefits, many patients gain the unusual but useful advantage of increased cognitive abilities. According to a study by psychology professor John Gunstad of Kent State University, individuals who lose significant weight, often through surgery, can make mental advancements. Gunstad studied a group of 150 overweight individuals of which 109 had some form of gastric surgery and the remaining 41 did not. The 109 persons who lost considerable weight (an average of 50 pounds) improved their memory and organizational skills. The others experienced slight declines in their cognitive abilities. Gunstad states that, “it’s a logical conclusion that as the body becomes healthier, the brain would become healthier also” (Hellmich, 2011). Thus, improved mental condition can be added to the list of benefits for gastric bypass surgery.

With so many advantages to the bypass procedure, it may be surprising that the government, insurance companies, and obese persons are often not willing to invest in the procedure. Not everyone participates because, as with most dramatic solutions, there is risk and cost involved. The Mayo Clinic states that side effects include “gallstones, bleeding stomach ulcers, kidney stones, damage to the intestines and stomach, low blood sugar, pneumonia and death from blood clots in the legs or reactions to anesthesia” (Butler, 2010). In Knuth’s case, the surgery meant 62 doctors visits and chronic, nearly life-threatening conditions that require specially formulated vitamin supplements and diet programs. While similar complications are common in all surgeries, a minor but more frequent side effect, malnutrition, is specific to gastric bypass surgery. The body cannot absorb all the nutrients it needs in such a small space and is starved for important vitamins and minerals, which can lead to diarrhea, skin inflammation, and even lasting nervous system damage. However, these side effects can be avoided through special diets and supplements prescribed by the surgeons that perform the surgery (Butler, 2010).

Another concern for patients considering gastric bypass surgery is relapse rates and addiction transfer. Some individuals substitute their addiction for food with another addiction such as drugs or alcohol. The rate to which this occurs is debated and is said to be anywhere from 5 to 30 percent. To prevent addiction transfer, patients should first deal with the fundamental emotional problems through therapy or counseling before considering the surgery. The other problem, relapse, is estimated to occur in about 10 percent of patients, according to Weight-control Information Network. If food is consistently forced into the smaller stomach, it can eventually stretch, allowing room for additional weight gain (Butler, 2010). Yet, this is a relatively small percent, and it can easily be prevented by diet change, which is essentially forced through the bypass surgery.

Perhaps the most important side effect is the financial burden. No surgery is cheap. Gastric bypass surgery is not exception, costing between 20,000 to 30,000 dollars, depending on the type (open or laparoscopic), condition of the patient, and other factors. Insurance companies determined that the financial benefits are not realized immediately enough to justify any contribution to the cost of the surgery and consider the preventative measures to be a higher priority (Ambinder, 2010). Therefore, individuals must pay completely out-of-pocket to achieve the benefits of gastric bypass surgery. Even financially secure individuals have difficulty producing $30,000 cash and often have to participate in payment programs. The chart below demonstrates how much the surgery can actually cost and how long it will take to pay it off, if a payment option is used.

Initial amount

$30,000.00

Minus down payment

$2,500.00

Payment amount

$27,500.00

Monthly payment

$250.00

5% interest

$12.50

Total Cost

$31,375.00

Years till paid

9.1666667

However, there were 220,000 individuals who had gastric bypass surgery in 2008 (Ambinder, 2010). For many persons, the cost is well-worth the numerous benefits provided by the procedure. It can also save money with decreased doctor visits, emergencies, overall health risks, and diabetic care payments.

Overall, gastric bypass surgery is successful, especially as advanced techniques and tools are used with continued experience in the field. The death rate has dropped to .05 percent, which is comparable to other similar surgeries. Improvements were made in long-term success rates (maintaining 50% excess weight off for an extended period of time). The rate of major complications is less than 3% (Ambinder, 2010). Thus, the surgery can be recommended as a solution for morbidly obese individuals who are unsuccessful with other methods and can afford its financial cost.

If the surgery is too costly or the patient is not morbidly obese, there are many effective alternatives. The first and easiest alternative is to drink less sugary beverages, which is a main cause of weight gain (Hasty, 2009). It is advised that the change is gradual, so that high sugar drinks may eventually become less appealing to the once heavy drinkers. The second tip, as cliché as it is, is to maintain an appropriate diet. The body needs certain amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. It does not need more sodium and sugar. A healthier diet can be achieved by simply cooking individual meals (instead of fast food or microwavable dinners) and maintaining a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables (Berkoff, 2005). Lastly, exercise is encouraged. Individuals can start slow by walking a few miles and a time and building up to running. The important aspect is to keep the heart rate up for long enough to burn excess fats and sugars. No matter what genetics are involved, consistent exercise is always good for the body and reduces risk of many health problems such as heart attacks and excess stress.

Gastric bypass surgery, despite its risks and cost, significantly reduces health issues for obese individuals. The risks have decreased with year of surgery perfection and advances in technology, placing it on par with many other simple surgeries. Thus, the main problem is the cost. Many individuals cannot afford the 20 to 30 thousand dollars it costs to receive the benefits of the surgery. However, it is important to note that the surgery essentially forces people to live a healthy lifestyle, something that can be done for free. It forces individuals to eat less, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise in a gradual process. The only difference surgery makes is an ultimatum of not being able to eat too much or take in too much junk-food. Traditional alternatives are just as effective and only take longer than surgery. Therefore, individuals who cannot afford the surgery are advised to slowly make better health decisions with the support and encouragement of others who have been in the same position.

How diet pills work

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How Diet Pills Work? By Stepanie Watson was a very well organized article to inform the reader of how diet pills work.  Stepanie uses short paragraphs along with pictures to get her point across: I thought that this was great because it helped me visualize what I already knew.  This source is ran by Discovery Health, a pretty reputable source that is concerned with general biological processes.  This artifact is broken into 6 pages, with the last page containing several other resources I can later dig into.  I have watched Discovery on TV before and they seem pretty credible, because they seem genuinely interested in health and animals.  The target audience seems to be more people who just want to know more about diet pills, and are probably not looking to use them.  The composer of this artifact seems measured and educated which really made me feel safe in using the facts given.  This source was pretty useful, as I will integrate the processes behind diet pills to essentially scare the reader from using the pills, as the processes are not safe.  This source was strong because it was informative and easy to read, but was weaker because it didn’t have a whole plethora of information I could dig into.  As stated before, this article seems credible.

Watson, Stephanie. “Discovery Health “Diet Pill Side Effects”” Discovery Health “Health Guides” Discovery Health, 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2011. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/medication/diet-pill3.htm&gt;.

Diet pill review

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Consumer search is a website concerning reviews for almost anything imaginable, and in this case: diet pills.  I could not find a specific author, but I know that this is controlled and operated by the New York Times, which is reputable.  This article gives many specific examples, including Hydroxycut, Alli, and Acia, along with general knowledge to back its claim that diet pills are generally bad.  This article is broken into 8 different pages, with the last page containing several other resources I could dig into.  Just from reading this article I feel more informed on the subject in general, like how they are regulated and how they work.  Once again, the target audience are those who want some background info on diet pills before they start taking them.  The author seems sincerely concerned about diet pills, hence the 8 page article outlining almost everything you need to know.  The source is a website ran by New York Times.  I will use this artifact by incorporating some of the facts I can glean from it, along with more background information on the subject, like how they work, why they are bad, and possible positive effects for my counterargument.  This artifact seems credible because the auto cite (site used to cite sources easier) said they were and it is ran by New York Times.  This artifact was strong because it had so much information, but it was weak in that it didn’t seem very scientific.

“Diet Pills Reviews.” Product Reviews and Reports – ConsumerSearch.com. New York Times, Aug. 2009. Web. 26 Apr. 2011. <http://www.consumersearch.com/diet-pills/review&gt;.

How do diet pills work?

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Diet pills and prescription weight loss drugs: how they work; is an medical article by WebMD that gives a rather quick but informative fact basis to diet pills.  WebMD is known for explaining health issues and relating it back to the common reader.  This article gave the potential health effects of diet pills in lists, gave a few examples of diet pills, listed further reading, and essential knowledge concerning diet pills.  This article was my first go-to for my research on diet pills because it is so simple.  The target audience are people who want to learn about diet pills or people who are considering taking diet pills and want background before getting into it.  The author is most likely an MD, but I could not find a specific author; the exigency of this topic is that obese people want a quick way out but this is simply not the case and doctors want people to know this.  The source is the internet, hence WebMD.  This source was pretty useful, it did not have a plethora of specific facts, but it sure gave me something to go off of to start my argument, and lists of potential harmful side effects that will back my argument.  This source was strong in that way, but if there were more facts or longer, this source would have been much more useful.

“Diet Pills and Prescription Weight Loss Drugs: How They Work.” WebMD – Better Information. Better Health. WebMD, 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2011. <http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/weight-loss-prescription-weight-loss-medicine?page=2&gt;.

Fast Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and It’s Influence on Childhood Obesity

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Fast Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and It’s Influence on Childhood Obesity is an academic article that was collaboratively written by Shin-Yi Chou
Inas Rashad and Michael Grossman. This article is about exactly what the title suggests, it analyzes the effect that advertising from Fast food restaurants has on the growing number of obese children in this nation. It goes extremely in depth and acquired most of its information from the National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The authors Shin-Yi Chou Inas Rashad and Michael Grossman wrote this paper for an organization called the national bureau of economic research. The National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.

Out of all the articles that I have found concerning this topic this would have to be the most credible of them all simply because it is an academic paper and it provides the most useable information and in the greatest quantity.

Does Advertising Make Us Fat? Yes!

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Does Advertising Make Us Fat? Yes! is an article that was written by a man named Gary Ruskin. This article is very specific in focusing on the fact that Advertising really done by fast food companies also known as “big food” really has shown to have an effect on the ever growing number of obese children in America and also states that 80% of obese children will go on to be obese adults, which is the real aim of our blog (obese adults).

The article was published by a group called Commercial Alert. Commercial Alert is a non-profit organization established under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code. Their mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.

This article was also extremely helpful in providing information with which I could build my argument. I will be using several bits of data from this article in my paper. It was rather hard to find because for some reason I had to go digging within the foundations website to find it.