Daniel Rivas English 1301-003 Dr. L. A. Barnes 2 November 2012 The Roots of Obesity in the American Society The United States of America faces many problems, both internal and external, but one major conflict is against something that has its roots deep within the American society: obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is funded by the United States’ government, performed various studies and found that 35. 7% of the adults of the United States, more than a third of the population, are overweight.
Whilst it is true that obesity is also caused by medical conditions and heredity, the majority of obesity is caused by overeating (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Although obesity caused by overeating has many causes, there are some major causes that prevail, such as the lack of willpower, the lack of knowledge, and lack of self-control, which are heavily influenced by many contributing factors that have a negative impact in the society and indirectly leads it to the high obesity rates it contains.
Three of the major factors in the American society that contribute greatly to overeating are the high availability of non-healthy food, the many psychological disorders that affect the population, and the way that children are brought up by their parents. In the United States, there is an extremely high accessibility to food, especially fast foods and low cost foods that contain high levels of fat. Food nowadays is available everywhere and at any time, and the number of places where you can buy food is still growing.
Complementing this, most type of food being sold to the American society is not the best choice of food regarding nutritious and healthy food, but it is rather unhealthy and contains high levels of fat. Studies have shown that “energy-dense foods . . . may represent the lowest-cost option to the consumer,” (Drenowski and Specter) and with these cheap and easy-to-access foods, the population with lower economic status will usually prefer to spend less on unhealthy food than to spend more on healthy food.
Besides the economic advantages of buying unhealthy food, it is also important to keep in mind that people enjoy eating fat-rich meals, for the taste is very appealing to them. The American food industry knows this and has taken advantage of it, opening restaurants and fast food places at numerous places along the country, and has made food become a desire and not just a need. This high availability of food is a major contributing factor to overeating in the society of the United States, for if appealing and low-cost food is available to be bought, people are not likely to be resist from buying it.
The many psychological disorders that affect the American society are another important contributor to overeating, which leads to the high obesity levels in the United States. The population of the country is numerous, and with large amounts of people come large amounts of psychological problems. A study in Otago University in New Zealand found that “obesity was significantly associated with any mood disorder, major depressive disorder, any anxiety, and most strongly with some individual anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder” (Scott, McGee and Wells).
These are all disorders that are present in the American society in moderately high levels, and they could indirectly account for many people overeating severely, for they find overeating soothing and comforting. While not being direct factors that influence overeating directly, the different psychological disorders that exist in the population could potentially be one of the major contributing causes for the high obesity levels due to overeating in the United States.
One other contributing factor in overeating is the way that modern parents raise their children, for they make them believe that the more they eat than the better it is. One expectation that parents have had of children for the past decades is for them to eat all their food when they eat, and they encourage this by making them believe it is wise and healthy to eat all the food they can get, and some even reward overeating. The problem, however, is not encouraging children to eat, but it is rather the lack of judgment to teach children when to stop.
This causes children to progressively eat more, which may not show much when they are growing, but as soon as the body no longer needs the extra nutrients it receives, it is too late for the child to easily stop eating, which is when overeating makes its way to obesity. The lack of awareness and education of parents that raise their children making them believe that overeating is a positive thing is yet another factor contributing to the high obesity levels in America.
The easy access to food, the several mental disorders in the population, and the way children are raised are all reasons that have a strong impact on the obesity caused by overeating in the United States. The high obesity levels are an effect of overeating, and they trigger a chain reaction that spreads into an intricate web of other problems for the American society. Overeating can be stopped with willpower and education, and it is becoming a priority, for it is increasing with time.
If obesity caused by overeating would be taken care of, would other problems that the population of America faces go away?
Works Cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Obesity Facts. Atlanta, 13 August 2012. Web. 31 October 2012. <http://www. cdc. gov/obesity/data/adult. html>. Drenowski, Adam and SE Specter. Poverty and obesity: the role of energy density and energy costs. Seattle, January 2004. Web. 31 October 2012. <http://ajcn. nutrition. org/content/79/1/6. full>. Hibma, Taylor. 5 Causes of Obesity in America. 2009 October 21. Web. 31 October 2012. <http://www. ehow. com/how-does_5558417_causes-obesity-america. html>. Scott, KM, et al. Obesity and mental disorders in the adult general population. Otago, July 2008. Web. 31 October 2012. <http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pubmed/18158005>.