The modern world is a rapidly developing place in all spheres of humanity, and productions of fast food and access to take-out combined with little exercise have raised very many health concerns. It causes a change in human behavior, perception of self-image, and health risks that pose a serious threat.
There are several issues and causes of obesity in the US. The primary one is the culture and the changes regarding what is acceptable. Diabetes and heart disease are becoming predominant, as extra weight puts a strain on the heart, as well as the rest of the body. The whole nation is affected, as increased health risks put pressure on the healthcare system and affect the economical wellbeing of the country.
The individuals are suffering just as much the limited lifestyle causes people to eat faster and more in a single time. Thus people face the danger of significant life-shortening because of detrimental health effects. The long working hours, the availability of junk food, and the relaxation time that is characterized by being at home and little activity, all factors that contribute to people becoming overweight (Fedorak 51).
The fact that the United States is experiencing an increase in its influence over the world and pop culture adds to the negative effects on the domestic, as well as international populations. The economic development and its high level is another reason why people are forced to lead unhealthy lifestyles. The increase in pollution and industrialization, as well as the rise in technology and a lesser need to contribute physically, heighten the body’s inability to fight excess weight.
This sort of issue can be seen all over the world, as people are becoming more dependent on technology and the ease of avoiding activities (Wilk 7). Previously, people had to walk longer distances, contribute to farming and other active work, whereas today, office employment, internet and ability to get easy access to food or even order it without leaving the house, made society very inactive.
Some medical procedures, such as operations and minor adjustments to the physical appearance, have given people an easy way out, depleting will power and care for future health. The modern society has changed so much that even human genes have adjusted to the changes and make people predisposed to obesity-related diseases. Industrialization and changes in the pace of life have caused fast food to become a factor that affects people’s life as a result of social shifts.
The nutrition and the type of food that is consumed play a great role. Someone might be busy with work and eat only once a day. This becomes detrimental to health, as the body is “hit” with an extreme amount of food at one time. This makes the organism store a portion of proteins as fat so that they can be processed at a later time. Technology has modified foods making cooking times shorter and nutrition almost absent (Schlosser 6).
The picture would be very different if people exercised more and rationed their food, to be separated into three to five meals daily. The cultural view that being overweight is acceptable, and people are not openly degraded according to the way they look has also been a contributing factor. Baggy clothes, a mixing of cultures and styles have distanced people from previously valued norms. The most alarming part of the problem is that there is a significant increase in child obesity.
As parents become busier with their careers and developing businesses, children often resort to eating foods that are high in cholesterol, greater amounts of sugar, and refined carbohydrates. Fast food has had an enormous effect on the social life of children, and the cycle keeps being perpetuated. Children are at a much higher risk of obesity and heart strain, as their bodies are not as strong, and their metabolism is much weaker, compared to adults. Also, modern media and entertainment lead to the reinforcement of fast food culture.
Children are provided with vast entertainment means, from personal computers to laptops, play stations, portable devices, and even interactive consoles. Instead of playing soccer outside and going fishing, people can sit on a couch or stand in front of a TV and perform 2 to 3 moves in one spot.
The availability of fried foods in schools and the proximity of fast food restaurants allows for easy access. Even the prices are relatively low, as compared to restaurants and the service provided (Olfman 110). The easiness with which fast food and its consumption spreads, have led to a causal relationship between the food people consume and their daily lives.
The fact that there are several causes—social, cultural, and personal, leads to many negative effects in several aspects of life. People’s confidence and self-respect can exist independent of body image and future health risks. Even though obesity has become a concern, and people are becoming more aware of the problems and unnecessary risks, the culture leaves little choice.
The government and people of the United States must take steps and implement vital changes immediately, as it is better to prevent problems than to solve them. All the effects can be reversed if people make health their primary goal.
Fedorak, Shirley. Pop Culture: The Culture of Everyday Life, Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 2009. Print.
Olfman, Sharna. Childhood Lost: How American Culture is Failing Our Kids, Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. Print.
Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.
Wilk, Richard. Fast Food/slow Food: The Cultural Economy of the Global Food System, Lanham, MD: Rowman Altamira, 2006. Print.