Top 5 Environmental Causes of Obesity

When it copmes to the obesity epidemic that most developed nations are now facing, it seems that many people place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the overweight indivcidual themselves.

However, it appears that the overweight person isn't entirely at fault and in fact there are many environmental causes of obesity that play a role in influencing the likelihood of a person gaining weight as well as making it difficult for them to lose weight.

Environmental Causes of Obesity

Here are the top 5 environmental causes of obesity:

  • The addictive nature of fast food
  • The cost of poor-quaility food compared to high-quality food
  • The deceptive marketing techniques of food companies
  • The disappearance of home-cooked meals
  • Environmental toxins


The addictive nature of fast food

Almost all 'fast food' on the market is loaded with either fat, sugar, salt, or a combination of all three ingredients. These food ingredients are highly addictive simply because we are evolved to be able to easily identify these tastes. By doing so we can consume as much of them as possible so if we are ever faced with a famine we will be able to survive for longer to find food.

These particular food ingredients, particularly fat and sugar, stimulate certain parts of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward. Therefore, when a regular consumer of 'fast food' tries to stop eating it altogether, they often experience withdrawal symptoms, similar to a drug addict experiencing withdrawals.

Furthermore, many 'fast foods' contain additional chemicals specifically designed to further enhance their addictive nature.



The cost of poor-quaility food compared to high-quality food

Most people are well-aware how expensive healthy food is compared to low-quaility, 'fast-food'. So now, if you want to eat healthily and lose weight, not only do you have to prepare the food yourself, but you also have to pay more for the 'privilage' too!

Low-quality food often contains cheap ingredients, the manufacture of which may even be subsidised by governments! This makes it all the more difficult for people to choose healthy food options if they want to lose weight.



The deceptive marketing techniques of food companies

Food companiers are willing to pay for the best marketing minds in the world, especially since the food industry is so competitive.

Fast Food Can Be Addictive

Furthermore, since the industry itself is so poorly regulated, the marketers of food products can say almost anything they want in order to encourage people to buy their products.

For example, here in Australia (and New Zealand) labelling laws still allow some degree of deceptive marketing. This is discussed in more detail in the article titled: Interpreting Food Labels.

The biggest concern when it comes to food marketing is when it is directed at children. How many times as a child can you remember choosing a breakfast cereal or 'fast-food' meal because of the toy that came along with it? Plenty I'm sure. Also, why would 'fast-food' outlets spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on play equipment? To promote exercise for kids? I don't think so but here's a few theories: When a child has fun playing on the equipment at the outlet, the next time their parents ask them what they want for dinner they are likely to automatically respond with the name of that particlar 'fast-food' chain simply because they subconsciously associate fun with that chain of stores.

When this happens numerous times the association becomes particularly strong, just like Pavlov and his dogs (Classical Conditioning). So later in life, as an adult, that person has positive feelings towards that 'fast-food' chain even without remembering why. As a result, they continue to eat there and the chain has been able to create a life-long customer.



The disappearance of home-cooked meals

With the breakdown of the traditional family unit, both parents working, the relative low cost of 'fast food', and the ease of access to 'fast food', home cooking is becoming less frequent. For these reasons there are even apartment being built without kitchens!

Of course, with more food being purchased and consumed away from home, there becomes less control over the quantity and ingredients contained in our meals.



Environmental toxins

The amount of chemicals present in our environment continues to increase every year. Is it any wonder cancer rates continue to rise dramatically? From the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, our bodies are containtly being bombared with chemicals every day, most of which didn't even exist 100 years ago!

As a result, the impact they have on our bodies is devastating, no doubt leading to a slowing of the metabolism and weight gain.



As a result of these factors it becomes clear that the responsibility has to shift somewhat from the individual to society in general and our government so steps can be taken to try and reverse the impact the enviromental causes of obesity have.

If you would like to find out more about what food additives you should avoid, please read: ADDITIVE ALERT : Your Guide to Safer Shopping.


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