Obesity in United States

Mild to moderate obesity has gained the term of a culture bound syndrome in the United States. The article describes how our culture in the United States has developed this disease over time. The article also discusses possible treatments for obesity. In terms of the biological dimensions of this disease an obese person is someone with a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or greater. With a BMI this high the individual is clearly very unhealthy. Obesity takes a major impact on not only the respiratory system but also different organ systems. I believe obesity has become an epidemic within our American culture because delicious looking food that is constantly advertised is extremely unhealthy. Fast food is also very cheap and much easier to grab instead of preparing a healthy meal. Our country is very fast pace ,and eating healthy has become a lower priority than eating quickly. Until the American culture promotes the practice of healthy eating and taking more time to prepare meals our culture always be looking for the quickest/easiest meal.

Obesity is showing up not only in adults but also in children now. This culture bound syndrome has reached even the youngest generations.  Doctors and teachers are evaluating and beginning to educate children, as well as parents, on healthy eating habits. Many schools are also including more rigorous gym activities to ensure children are staying active and burning the calories they consume. Different sectors of our American culture are most likely treating and preventing the syndrome based on their government funding. Doctors can educate parents and children on healthy eating and exercise, but that can only do so much. There comes a point where schools and the community need to join forces to promote a healthy life style. I believe the sectors with higher economic advantage are receiving more funding and therefore sending a more powerful message to prevent obesity as a culture bound syndrome.





Ritenbaugh ,Cheryl. “Obesity as a culture-bound syndrome”. Culture Medicine and Psychiatry. (1982): 347-361. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00118882 (accessed July 22, 2013).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Rei Gjeci says:

    The term culture to me is a set of beliefs, values, traditions, and methods used by a group of people in a community or society. I believe obesity in the United States has become a culture-bound syndrome. Based on previous classes, I have learned about the food industry in this country and how it has evolved in the recent years. There is so much production of artificial foods as well as convenient and cheap foods such as fast food joints. People in our society chose to eat this way and it has led to many cases of obesity. Other lifestyle factors, such as lack of exercise as you mentioned has been a factor to the increasing obesity rates. I believe obesity is a great example of a culture-bound syndrome found in our society. There are disadvantages that include all the negative affects this condition is having on many people including children who do not always have the choice to grow up into such an environment. On the other hand, I believe obesity among many can be prevented. If we change the way we eat and look at food, as well as put importance into keeping our bodies active, we can make a big difference in reducing the rates of this culture-bound syndrome we are experiencing.

  2. Rei Gjeci says:

    I would like to add that other cultures might view obesity or bigger sizes as a healthy aspect and may not put importance into being as skinny as possible. I do not think it is the imagine issue we are facing. I believe it is the health issue and it does not matter the size of someone as long as they eat right and keep their bodies functioning how it is meant to.

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