The culture bound syndrome I chose to research is obesity in the United States. The article I read stated that nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. The occurrence of obesity in the United States has more than doubled in only 40 years. The article discusses some biological reasons for this epidemic. For instance, our ancestors were once hunters and gatherers, many years ago. They suffered through famines, where they had to go periods of time without food. Natural selection allowed them to store the nutrients they consumed during times of feast as adipose tissue. These fats were then used as fuel by the body in times of famine. In present day, however, many of us do not suffer long periods of time without food. Therefore, this adipose tissue is not used up, and instead accumulates in our bodies, causing overweightness and eventually obesity.
Why, though, is this problem so prevalent in America compared to so many other countries in the world? A lot of this is also cultural. The average American is far less physically active then they should be. This is because we focus so much on work and materialistic things, and don’t think enough about our health. Why take the time to make a nice healthy meal, when you can go through the drive-through so much faster (and much cheaper)? That is just how many Americans think. Also, the individual American tends to eat in very large portions. We also don’t usually walk to where we need to be, but instead drive almost everywhere. Everything is very spread out, usually with no accessible sidewalks, and it is considered dangerous in today’s day to walk down the street alone. Therefore, the average American is not physically active. When an individual goes on a “diet”, it is often unsuccessful, because it is the lifestyle that is the real problem. To treat this problem, one must therefore change their lifestyle. One must become physically active on a daily basis, and choose healthier food options.