Obesity in the United States

I chose obesity in the United States as my culture bound syndrome. Obesity is an extremely prevalent issue all around the world in many countries today, not only in the United States, but America holds the title for the most obese country in the world for good reasons. Almost everywhere in the United States, citizens have access to McDonald’s, Burger King, and many other fast food chains that are a large contributor to obesity in our country due to ease of access and cheaper costs for some people. Because of this, I consider obesity as a main culture bound syndrome, especially here in America.

The article I analyzed provided some great insight on obesity in the United States. The author of the journal described how the definitions of health have changed in the United States over the years. The author of the article goes into detail about how anthropologists study obesity and it’s dimensions. Ritenbaugh talked about how in the past, curves and heavier bodies signified health and being well-fed. However, in America today, many people strive to be as thin as possible and try extremely hard to fight obesity. On the other hand, many more people in the United States crave fast food and unhealthy things, which are so easy to get these days, not to mention more affordable. In the article, the author tells how obesity sometimes can be a biological issue and you can have a slower metabolism due to simply genetics. Culturally, Americans struggle with obesity as well. The author talks about how obesity is a vicious cycle for individuals that continues to grow. Many people considered obese binge-eat as a way to cope with stress, thus making their condition of obesity worse and worse over time.

As for treatments, there are countless things out there to help avoid or cope with obesity. For example, there are numerous weight loss pills and detoxes people participate in, and sometimes, medical procedures such as liposuction and shrinking the size of the stomach to avoid over consumption of food.

Ritenbaugh, Cheryl. “Obesity as a Culture Bound Syndrome.” . http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/780/art%253A10.1007%252FBF00118882.pdf?auth66=1405715918_340fa96d580ab3ef8336c8b0bd538f02&ext=.pdf (accessed July 17, 2014).

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