Reasons Behind Increasing Rates Of Obesity

Who is at fault that 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese? It may be that the individuals are irresponsible when it comes to eating, big brand name companies that promote supersize meals or our brain that is not functioning properly. This is the first question we should answer so we can tackle the problem and reduce obesity rates in American and throughout the world. Kelly Brownell addresses all of these issues in an interview with Bonnie Liebman which was published in 2010 in the “Nutrition Action Healthletter”. Kelly Brownell is a psychology professor and writes this article for the general public who is health conscious and is concerned about weight related issues.
It is well known that too many pounds lead to other chronic disease and therefore increasing healthcare costs nationwide. In the interview Brownwell asks, “Why do you call our food environment toxic? Because people who are exposed to it get sick” (p.100) answers Liebman. This is very true indeed because what we put into our bodies are large amounts of fats, sugars and salts that have little nutritious value. Walking through markets in Boyle Heights for a research project proved this point. There are limited fresh produce available for purchase and plenty of candy, chips, snacks, canned goods, and processed meat available. We form emotional connection with these foods because of advertisement by the food companies. Maximizing value of these foods by increasing portion size and decreasing price is another driving force to buy these products. People always like a great deal as Liebman mentions, if you pay less for more, that item will find its way onto your shopping cart. The food companies push for junk food and justify this by “there are no good or bad foods-only good or bad diets” (p. 101). This saying demonstrates that people are irresponsible in regards to eating healthy foods. However, if this was the case, people 100 years ago would also have obesity issues. Food companies try to justify their produced foods by blaming on the people.
Moreover, the issue lies within the junk food industries that create an environment through advertisements and deals that people will not pass by. Obesity is a big problem because it is hard to fix according to Liebman. When overweight or obese people try to lose weight they have setbacks because their body goes into starvation mode and after losing certain amount, it is hard to lose more. Some people argue that genetics is the reason why they are overweight or obese; and Liebman argues, “But genetics can’t explain why there are so many overweight people” (p. 102). There is also an issue with addictive foods. Foods that contain fat, salt and sugar are very addictive and our brain wants more just like a drug. Food industries pack their products with these nutrients so we can go back for more.
Lastly, in order to overcome obesity rates in America we need to be aware of our surroundings and the advertisements that are embedded in our minds when we go to the grocery store. Overall there needs to be an emphasis on nutritional education throughout the country as well as control over junk food industries.

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