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nikipedia's avatar

What is causing the worldwide obesity epidemic?

Asked by nikipedia (27726points) July 24th, 2008

Is it wealth, laziness, greed, genes, circumstance, or something else? Why is it that we all know obesity is bad for you but it continues to be an issue? Or is it that bad? Is there something to be said for the “fat acceptance” movement?

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24 Answers

jcs007's avatar

I think there may be clues in WALL•E

Traveosa's avatar

I think its eating unhealthy

figbash's avatar

I think high fructose corn syrup, cultural relationships to food, urban sprawl, easy access to cheap, unhealthy food, television/computer entertainment are just some of the many reasons for the spike.

willbrawn's avatar

greed: major corporations cut cost because it’s easier for them to add crap into food and retain the same taste. They cut corners to please themselves. And we buy regardless because it’s cheap and tastes decent. So I guess consumerism as well. Always trying to get the best deal. Not always the best thing to do though.

mrjadkins's avatar

The news that dark chocolate is “healthier” and then people shoveling dark chocolate into their systems even when it isn’t the “healthier” grade. Doesn’t it have to be a certain % of dark cocoa?

poofandmook's avatar

faceplants on desk

can we please talk about something other than fat? I think we’ve all had our fill today, no pun intended.

Randy's avatar

I my opinion a lot of humanity’s problems can be summed up in one word: excess

damien's avatar

I like how people refer to it as an ‘epidemic’. Makes me think of the Lazyboy song Underwear Goes Inside The Pants:

They say we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
An epidemic like it is polio. Like we’ll be telling our grand kids about it one day.
The Great Obesity Epidemic of 2004.
“How’d you get through it grandpa?”
“Oh, it was horrible Johnny, there was cheesecake and pork chops everywhere.”

aaronou's avatar


Harp's avatar

According to a study by University of Alabama biostatician David Allison, these are the top 10 factors:

* Inadequate sleep: sleep deprivation leads to increased appetite

* Endocrine disruptors in some foods may alter fats in the body and this increase a person’s weight.

* Nice temperatures: People who work in air-conditioned offices burn fewer calories.

* Fewer people smoking leading to less of appetite suppression

* Population changes: Increase in number of Hispanics, who are naturally prone to obesity

* Older birth moms: As people have children late, it increases their chances of being obese

* Genetic influences during pregnancy.

* Darwinian natural selection

* Assortative mating: Fat people mating with fat people begets fat offspring

Babo's avatar

If it goes back down, we’ll know it was Starbucks!

marinelife's avatar

Those are interesting, Harp, but I think it leaves out quite a few things. Here are some other data points:

Children are snacking more
Children are snacking more today than 25 years ago. Researchers at the University of North Carolina compared information from three national surveys 1977 through 1996, and found that, while the average size of snacks and calories per snack remain relatively constant, the number of times kids eat between meals has increased. The snacks provided less calcium than regular meals and were higher in calories and fat. Thus the “energy density” of what children eat over the course of a day has risen significantly, from 1.35 to 1.54 calories per gram. Children today take in about 25 percent of their calories in snacks (600 calories), compared with about 18 percent (450 calories) in the late 1970s. Snacks are important in keeping children’s energy levels high, said the researchers, but the kinds of snacks kids are eating can be a problem. They note that the biggest changes in snacking patterns have occurred during the past decade and include increased consumption of soft drinks, chips and salty snacks, and decreases in fruit, vegetables and milk. (Williamson D, School of Public Health scientists find US children snack more now. News release 4/6/2001.)

Physical Activity

l 50% of adults less active than recommended, especially for older age, women, lower income, less education

Not active at all in leisure, household, or travel time
l 24% of adults
l 16.7% age 45–64
l 23.1% age 65–74
l 35.9% age 75 plus

Not sufficiently active
l 2/3 of high school students

Take daily PE classes
l 33% of high school students

Portion Changes
I found this pdf shocking!

mzgator's avatar

I think people are so busy with their hectic lives that it is just easier to pick up quick meals to feed themselves and their families. It takes time to shop, plan and prepare a healthy meal for your family, especially when both mom and dad have to work.
Some families have to work two jobs just to put food on the table. After working all day and taking care of your family, finding time to exercise can be tough.

boffin's avatar

Excuse me, can’t answer right now as I’m stuffing my face with a Bacon Sandwich and washing it down with a Beer.
Damn I’m getting crumbs all over the keyboard.

scamp's avatar

Someone wants to continues today’s drama I see….. Sheesh!

poofandmook's avatar

I did just read somewhere, very recently, that credit cards are contributing to weight gain because fast food places all take them now, and in the past people may not have gotten fast food because they didn’t have cash.

buster's avatar

Its to easy to eat nowadays. Used to you had to grow and catch food. You worked your ass off cultivating crops, raising livestock, hunting, and fishing. You had to burn a lot of calories just to get some calories. You can easily get 800 calories from a drive-thru for 2 or 3 bucks and you burn about 15 driving there and ordering food. Poor people in third world countries are typically not overweight. Its hard to eat there. Intestinal parasites might afflict more third world countries No one has a dollar for the dollar menu. There agriculture equipment is cheap shovels and hoes. If you have ever used one much you know how hard it is. Money, choices, and opportunities to eat make it easy to eat. Also people were afflicted with worms and other gut bugs a whole lot more way back in the day.

peggylou's avatar

My favorite family has a family motto of: “Everything goes better with bacon!”

boffin's avatar

You can never get enough Pork products…...

AtillaOfTheFlesh's avatar

That fucken Little Debbie girl.

She may be three and a half feet tall, but she cooks up a mean Swiss Roll.

The Wendy’s Ginger is fucking us up.

Baconator? PUHLEAZE.

And don’t forget about Aunt Jemima. She has had it in for us ever since day one.

rtgarden's avatar

Many people perceive life as a giant candy store, where the game is to eat as much as you can. Its possible to see your own life as having more meaning than that however it does involve admitting you have been rooked.

lisaj89's avatar

Over processed food, HUGE portions (which are only growing), TV, and video games. It’s so sad, you hardly ever see kids playing outside anymore, they’re all glued to the TV!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Gadzooks! I must have missed this worldwide obesity thing, I see it as being owned by Americans with maybe a few other Westernized nations in tow a ways behind. Obesity here is easy to sum up, we eat too much and don’t do enough o burn off the calories. We want power, push button and motorized everything. You don’t even have to open your taigate or van door anymore, neither your gerage door, don’t have to get up to change the channel, it is even starting you don’t even have to park your own car it will do it for you. I am waiting for when they develope a way to gas your car like a et with out ever having to get from under the wheel I bet many ever would. We fear the bogeyman so we don’t let the children run and play out of hearshot of the house, better yet just have them pay mindless hours in front of the TV with an Xbox or Wi. And when you go out to eat if you don’t get enough food on your plate to feed an Ethiopian villge you are a sucker getting ripped off.

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