Obesity in The United States

Obesity is a relatively recent and ongoing epidemic in the United States. In many parts of the world, one thing America is stereotyped for is having many obese people. This is a great example of a culture bound syndrome, because it is because of our fast-paced and unhealthy (for some people) lifestyles that seem to have caused it to become so prevalent in our society. Not only does it effect adults, but many children as well, causing them to face many health problems throughout their childhoods that otherwise would have not been there. For example, it can cause diabetes and heart problems in people, and decrease your lifespan. Because you have so much extra weight that your body must take care of, it becomes harder for your body to take care of other more essential parts properly, thus causing those types of diseases. Also, having too much adipose tissue can cause the release of excess endogenous hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. According to the article “Obesity: America’s Epidemic” published in The American Journal of Nursing, 65% of American adults are either overweight or obese. In just about 20 years, the percentage doubled from the 80s. Also according to the article, obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, dyslipidemia, arthritis, sleep apnea, gallstone formation, and certain cancers. Sedentary lifestyles and overeating are common in the US. We have one of the largest food portions in the world, and chronic overeating can cause you to lose the ability to sense fullness from a meal, causing you to eat more. Also, the average American diet exceeds the recommended amounts for fat, carbs, and salt, while less than a third of American adults have the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. According to the article, socioeconomic status has been considered a factor due to the low cost of prepackaged high-calorie foods and limited access to fresh fruit and veggies in less affluent neighborhoods. For years, some medical professionals, but mainly society, has tried to solve the problem with diets. However, it has been proven that these don’t work in the long run. Health care professionals unanimously agree that prevention of obesity is the best way to fight the disease. It is a very preventative disease, and should be avoided.

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  1. christopher reed says:

    If culture is a series of learned patterns of behavior and thought, then obesity in America certainly constitutes a cultural phenomenon. Our food and work culture both seem to push people towards this state of health. In this sense, obesity can be considered a CBS. We rely on fast foods in order to meet deadlines. In many cases, workplaces offer little exercise. When one spends up to 70 hours a week in such a place, the body can’t burn the calories it needs to.
    Nowadays, obesity is generally looked down upon. Science has proven that it leads to many other health complications and that people can live longer if they keep their weight in check.
    However, obesity has been viewed historically as a sign of wealth. If you were fat, you likely had enough money to eat well and not work too hard. Back when professions were much more labor intensive, most people did not hold on to the excess weight. In this case, obesity was a status symbol and even attractive in that culture. In modern times this is not the case. There are other factors that influence a person’s weight, and they generally indicate an unhealthy lifestyle.

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