America’s obesity and weight management issues have pestered health professionals for years. More recently, however, these same issues have been the topic of much interest amongst social researchers who were compelled to take a look at weight problems as a social and cultural phenomenon. Apparently, obesity amongst Americans is not just an illness but a “growing” social and cultural issue too, affecting roughly 30 percent of the population. (Seiders & & Petty, 2004) Indeed, larger waists are ending up being the common signs of American culture, along with fastfood chains that connote unhealthy eating routines and overindulging.
Regardless of the dire health repercussions occurring from greater cholesterol levels and increased threat to cardiovascular illness, most of America’s citizens keep acquiring weight, in what seems to be a drive to make obesity the standard rather than the exception.
Unfortunately, the obesity phenomenon is however a sign of greater problems besieging American society. Freund and Martin (2005) notes that the problem is inextricably connected to patterns of hyperconsumption and unsustainable consumerist attitudes.
The authors contend that hyperconsumption is generally identified by the compression in space and time while at the very same time increasing the intensity in usage. (p. 4) It thus comes without surprise that McDonald’s supersized meal orders have actually ended up being synonymous with American consumerism as the fast food culture encourages overeating despite time and area restraints for the consuming public. (Ritzer, 2000).
Unhealthy way of life options have actually for that reason pertained to define the American method of life, focused on unhealthy usage patterns, absence of activity and exercise, and overexposure to giant food business’ marketing tactics through the mass media.
Generation after generation of Americans are born and raised to end up being obese people, as Pollan (2007) observes that food business handle to affect the usage values of even kids through cautious ad targeting. It is safe to presume that these values and patterns of usage will be sealed early and have an impact later in these children’s lives.. Early conditioning among children of unhealthy, heavily processed, food choices almost insures that these would become part of individual habit that would be difficult to change later on.
Clearly, the effects of obesity not only on individuals but on society as a whole should be a cause for concern. Aside from the obvious health-related risks that being overweight poses on individuals such as heart and cardiovascular problems, the indirect costs in terms of financial distress and counterproductivity must be accounted for. Likewise, the effects of weight management problems on the psychosocial well-being and social functioning of individuals cannot be underestimated.
Ironically, increasing obesity serves to reinforce consumerist attitudes wherein a burgeoning slimming industry has appeared by taking advantage of America’s growing collective insecurity and poor body image. Desparate to lose weight, Americans are led to more consumption, this time of fad diets and slimming pills that promise miracles and often have serious side effects.
Thus, obesity is not only symptomatic of America’s dysfunctional attitude towards consumption. It is a poor reflection on the entire American culture that an increasing majority of its members are seen as lacking in control or having poor eating habits and inadequate nutrition information inspite of the huge sum of money that the government spends for health promotion.
Freund, P. & G. Martin (2005). Fast cars/fast foods: Hyperconsumerism and its health and environmental consequences. New Jersey: Montclaire State University. Downloaded on 12/16/07 from www.cnsjournal.org<http://www.cnsjournal.org/documents/cns1fast2.pdf >
Seiders, K. & R.D. Petty (2004). Obesity and the role of food marketing: A policy analysis of issues and remedies. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 23(2): 153-169.
Pollan, Michael. The Way We Live Now: You are What You Grow. The New York Times, April 22, 2007.
Ritzer, G. (2000). The McDonaldization of Society. California: Pine Forge.