Risein the rate of obesity in America
Themain factors resulting in the increase in the rate of obesity inAmerica are life satisfaction, access to fast foods, and genetics.The issue of life satisfaction being related to high obesity ratescuts across all groups of people despite the demographic andsocioeconomic differences in the last two decades (Wadsworth &Philip 197). According to research, high rates of obesity are as aresult of a decrease in the level of life satisfaction. Over the lasttwo decades, the rates of obesity in the United States have increasedby a whopping sixty-one percent (Wadsworth and Philip 197).Researchers in the health industry link obesity to various healthproblems such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.The relationship between obesity and life satisfaction arises fromthe poor eating habits and potential outcomes of the condition aswell as the stigma associated with it.
Adolescentshave a high probability of developing poor eating habits, also knownas disordered eating. “The disordered eating may range fromspecific behaviors such as eating too quickly, too little, and tooirregularly, to more global conditions such as food restriction,bulimia, and anorexia nervosa” (Mathews Et al. 56). The disorderedfeeding habits vary across the male and female genders, with thefemales being more adversely affected. Research correlates thequality of life, which in this case implies life satisfaction, to thepresence of disordered eating habits across the genders (Mathews Etal. 56). “Life satisfaction (LS) has been defined as one’ssubjective perception of the quality of one’s existence” (MathewsEt al. 56). The significant judgments regarding life satisfaction canbe made concerning particular life domains or global lifesatisfaction. Equally, past research work demonstrates thatdisordered eating patterns cut across the genders.
Dueto the hypothesis that a relationship exists between the eatingbehaviors, weight perceptions, and specific life satisfactiondomains, a study was carried to ascertain the same. The findings fromthe study indicate that the life satisfaction domains are the maincontributors of the differences in disordered eating habits among thestudents (Mathews Et al. 65). “Furthermore, all the weightperception/ dieting behavior variables were significantly associatedwith satisfaction with physical appearance except for the variabletaking dietary supplements to lose bulk or weight for both males andfemales” (Mathews Et al. 65). The study showed that some lifesatisfaction domains had a close relationship with the eatingbehavior variables, and in return obesity.
Thereis a focus on the impact of consumption on well-being outcomesemanating from within and outside the academic community (Martin andPaul 1157). “A variety of effects have been subsequently posited,with materialism research showing the potential negative consequencesof placing inordinate value on possessions to individual subjectiveevaluations of well-being” (Martin and Paul 1157). The researchwork examines related outcomes by looking at consumer behaviorresearch across poor subpopulations such as the homeless people,rural populations, and poor children. The research work shows thatthese people are in many cases impoverished and thus unable to lead anormal life and “experience negative reactions that capturelong-term consequences like frustration, humiliation, inferiority,and loss of control over essential aspects of their lives, resultingin ill-being” (Martin and Paul 1157). The conclusion from thefindings indicates that individuals living in extreme povertyconditions have a less likelihood of experiencing beneficial effectsabout need fulfillment, showing more damages to consumers’ lives,and going through the worst scenarios of material conditions. Fromthe findings, one can deduce that life satisfaction and obesity havea negative correlation with the poor and marginalized people having ahigh likelihood of suffering from obesity. The reason behind highrates of obesity in this group of individuals is attributable to lackof information on the right diets and how to lead a healthy life.
Thereis a direct correlation between the level of happiness and theprevalence of obesity. For instance, according to Wadsworth andPhilip (199), “engaging in sex more frequently increases happiness,but it is relative to the amount of sex one’s reference group ishaving.” Although the findings are about an individual’s sexreference group, this phenomenon indicates that there is arelationship between life satisfaction and the ideal body weight.Consequently, obesity influences the level of life satisfaction.However, it should be notable that the degree of devaluing obesitymay have a dependence on the local levels of obesity as well as theassociated norms regarding the ideal weight in a particular region.
Otherthan the geographical location, the rates of obesity vary dependingon the stigma attached to the condition due to gender differences.Despite the fact that some studies point out that there is nodifference between the stigma attached to an individual, otherstudies show that women undergo higher levels of stigma due to theirweight problems. “If stigma resulting from obesity does not vary bygender, we would expect the relationship between obesity and lifesatisfaction to be similar for men and women” (Wadsworth and Philip199). A proposition implying that stigma due to weight issues isdifferent for men and women.
Despitethe differences in studies concerning the level of stigma acrossdifferent genders due to obesity rates, studies indicate thatfemale-focused media has an impact “in shaping body expectations,dissatisfactions, and associated health behaviors” among the female(Wadsworth and Philip 199). The primary concern of the messagesacross such media is to promote an ideal weight among the females.The accessibility of such media is available to women in particularareas and enjoying life satisfaction. The implication, in this case,is that people with low levels of life satisfaction are likely tomiss out on such opportunities, hence increasing their chances ofhaving obesity.
Fromthe research work, it is evident that life satisfaction and obesityhave a negative relationship. The individuals suffering from obesityhave less life satisfaction in comparison to those with ideal weight.The level of satisfaction reduces with an increase in the degree ofobesity. According to Wadsworth and Philip (210), “obeseindividuals, in general, are less satisfied with their lives, andthose experiencing class II or III obesity are even less satisfied.”The implication is that the level of the prevalence of obesity in agiven geographical area highly influences the relationship betweenobesity and life satisfaction. In the areas obesity is prevalent,there is no difference in the life satisfaction of individuals withobesity despite their level of the condition. However, in the areaswith low obesity preferences, there is a high difference in thedegree of satisfaction between the obese and the non-obese (Wadsworthand Philip 210).
Thewidespread availability of fast foods is a crucial determinant of theobesity rates (Currie Et al. 1). Besides, public health advocatesinstigate that the consumption of fast foods results in obesity(Anderson and David 153). The effect increases with ease in theavailability or convenience of accessing a fast food restaurant. Theresearch was done to over three million school-going children andthree million pregnant women to determine the effect of proximity toa fast food outlet and the rate of obesity. The model of the studyallowed for the estimation of both cross-sectional and fixed effectsthus coming up with appropriate findings on the effects of fast foodson the rates of obesity. “While it is clear that fast food is oftenunhealthy, it is not obvious a priori that changes in theavailability of fast food should be expected to have a negativeimpact on the health” (Currie Et al. 4). “However, there is ahigh probability that proximity to a fast food outlet would result inthe substitution of unhealthy homemade food or other existing foodoutlets without a subsequent change to the overall consumption ofunhealthy food” according to Currie Et al. (4).
Inthe end, the effects that variations in the supply of fast foods haveon obesity is logical. From the findings of the study on theschool-going children, it was evident that closeness to a fast foodoutlet increased the prevalence of the rates of obesity. “Thiseffect amounts to a 5.2 percent increase in the incidence of obesityamong the affected children” (Currie Et al. 4). Among the pregnantwomen, the findings show that the presence of a fast food industrywithin half a mile of a residence of a pregnant woman in a higherpossibility of gaining over twenty kilograms. The effect increaseswith the decrease in the proximity to a fast food restaurant.However, the effect varies depending on the educational levels andraces (Currie Et al. 4).
“Large-scaleUnited States studies have found that adult obesity rates arepositively associated with the density of neighborhood fast-foodoutlets and convenience stores” (Jason Et al. 15). The findingsimply the nearness to a fast food outlet results in an increase inthe rates of obesity. However, the results of the estimates point toa gap in measuring the demand for fast foods. It is evident that thefast food restaurants open new outlets in areas where there is a highdemand for the fast foods. For instance, studies link the opening ofnew fast food outlets near schools and low-income neighborhoods. Theschool going children are thus exposed to high sugar, high energy,and high-fat foods because of the accessibility of the fast foodrestaurants within their school vicinity or on their way home (JasonEt al. 15). However, people have the liberty to choose where and howmuch to eat making consumption of fast foods correlated with otherdietary practices leading to weight gain (Anderson and David 154).Nevertheless, it remains empirical that high demand for unhealthyfoods has a positive correlation with high rates of obesity (CurrieEt al. 5).
Thecredibility of the findings is unquestionable. “First, our keyidentifying assumption for mothers is that, in the absence of achange in the proximity to fast food, and conditional on birth order,age, and so on, the mother would gain a similar amount of weight ineach pregnancy” (Currie Et al. 5). The credibility of theassumption arises from the fact that the study was carried out forthe changes in weight of the same woman. The assumption for theschool children is also credible because findings from schoolswithout a fast food restaurant and that are 0.1 miles and 0.25 milesaway from a fast food show similar rates of obesity. It is imperativeto understand that there is a consistency between the estimatedeffects of fast foods on obesity with a model which stipulates thataccess to fast foods result in high rates of obesity through low foodprices. The differences in the cost of travel by the children andmothers offer an explanation for the effects of proximity to fastfoods.
Itis unquestionable that obesity is increasing at an alarming rate inthe United States from the previous findings on research workconcerning the subject. Some of these studies link obesity to thedeficiency of vitamin D. “Several genes from the vitamin Dmetabolic pathway have been implicated in vitamin D deficiency6 andgenetic variants in some of these genes have been shown to beassociated with obesity-related phenotypes” (Vimaleswaran Et al.1400). Carrying out an evaluation of the possible cause ofassociation between the deficiency of vitamin D and obesity calls foran understanding of the genes known to affect 25(OH)D concentrations(Vimaleswaran 1401).
Thereis a high likelihood of females to be affected more by obesity incomparison to the males due to the hormonal differences between thegenders (Bhadoria Et al. 187). However, other studies dispute thefindings that gender plays any role in the correlation betweenobesity and genetics. The dispute arises from the confirmation thatthe lack of correlation between vitamin D pathway gene polymorphismsand obesity traits does not result in gender-specific effects becauseof lack of evidence in support of interactions between gender andtagSPNs on the traits about obesity (Vimaleswaran 1405). Otherstudies link obesity to heredity. Obese parents are likely to haveobese offspring. This is from the fact that “Body Mass Index is ahighly heritable human trait” (Faroogi and Stephen 1103). Equally,there is increasing evidence from studies that individual geneticbackground is a key determinant of obesity risk (Bhadoria Et al.188).
Itis evident that genetics is a crucial determinant when it comes tounderstanding causes of obesity. “However, genetic susceptibilityoften needs to be coupled with contributing environmental andbehavioral factors in order to affect weight” (Bhadoria Et al.188). Genetics alone contributes to less than five percent of therising cases of obesity among children in the United States. Theimplication is that despite the role of genetics in propelling therates of obesity, it is not attributable to the dramatic rise in therate of childhood obesity in the United States. However, althoughthere are genuine concerns that the environmental and behavioralfactors are responsible for the rising rates of obesity, the factthat Body Mass Index is a hereditable trait at twenty-five to fortypercent rate cannot be changed (Faroogi and Stephen 1103). Therelationship between obesity and genetics highly holds for theindividuals suffering from the condition from an early age. “Notably,in the vast majority of cases described to date, the causativemutation disrupts the function of hypothalamic integrative centersand results in increased food intake” according to Faroogi andStephen (1103), hence a cause of the rising rates of obesity.
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