The culture-bound syndrome I chose to discuss was obesity in the U.S. I found an article written by James Levine. entitled “Poverty and Obesity in the U.S.,” which focused on finding a connection between the increased incidence of obesity and increased rates of poverty in the United States. It is evident that obesity is a serious and relevant issue in the United States. With American’s busy schedules and the availability of fast food, it is easier than ever to choose unhealthy food. Levine remarks that cultures that develop wealth, also tend to develop obesity. The United State is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and also has the highest obesity rates. Although genetics can play a role in obesity, it seems that in the United States there may be another explanation. Although the United States is one of the wealthiest countries, the rates of poverty are on the rise, at about 15% of Americans living in poverty. Levine goes on to question if their could be a link between poverty and obesity. Research has found that people who live in the most poverty dense counties are more likely to be obese. Several reasons for this trend could be poor access to fresh food, or lack of money to afford healthier food. Snacks and processed foods are much cheaper and so those who are living in poverty may only be able to afford unhealthy food that lack essential nutrients. Another possible issue could be lack of education about the importance of good nutrition and exercise. Many Americans who are living in poverty are also not as educated than those living above the poverty line, and so they may not understand what those foods that they are eating are doing to their bodies. Whether it be genetic, cultural, or behavioral it is evident that their needs to be more intervention to try and change the increasing rates of obesity in the United States.
Levine, James. “Poverty and Obesity in the U.S.” DIABETES JOURNAL Vol.60. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/60/11/2667.full.pdf+html (accessed July 18, 2014).