Is Obesity Related to Societal, Economic or Cultural Factors?

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A great deal of attention has recently been given to obesity and cultural factors that may increase the chances of becoming overweight. However, this is only one portion of a much more complex equation. It is also known that certain social factors contribute to obesity, and that economics can also play a role.

This is why it is a good idea to embrace a broader perspective in order to determine which elements may ultimately impact one’s chances of becoming obese over time. Let’s examine some core concepts in greater detail before attempting to draw any realistic conclusions.

A Breakdown of the Factors that Can Potentially Cause Obesity

To be perfectly clear, there is normally not a single factor which can lead to gaining weight and obesity. Most individuals will be exposed to a variety of elements. Some of these are biological, others emotional, and still others may be based around societal norms. However, we can still generalize some primary causes of obesity into these five categories:

  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Illnesses and/or chronic diseases.
  • Poor lifestyle habits.
  • Psychological issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Cultural norms and/or mores.

As we can see, diagnosing the root causes of obesity can be quite tricky. This is normally why it is best to consult with a professional. He or she will be able to provide a greater level of insight and, as a result, more targeted options to lose weight.

A Top-Down Examination of Obesity in Today's Culture

It is still a good idea to take a closer look at some of the situations mentioned in the previous section. Let’s therefore begin by discussing obesity and social factors.

Obesity cultural factors

Obesity and Cultural Factors at a Glance

For the sake of brevity, the terms “societal” and “cultural” will be used interchangeably throughout this section. The main point here is that some societies are more accepting of those who may be overweight. While this is obviously a healthy attitude, it can also be dangerous when taken to an extreme; particularly in terms of those who are placing their lives at risk by not losing weight.

Another cultural element that can have an impact upon body weight in general involves emotional stress. For instance, it has been shown that the proportion of obese individuals living within developed western nations is much higher when compared to other regions of the world, such as Asia and Africa. As stress is known to cause an increase in one’s body mass index (BMI), this only stands to reason.

Furthermore, those who are overweight may feel ashamed of their bodies on occasion due to peer pressure. This can cause them to become secluded and isolated; resulting in further psychological stress. We can now begin to see that this is a very dangerous feedback loop.

The Social Political and Economic Causes of Obesity

Another important point to highlight involves how economics can sometimes play a role. For instance, some individuals might not be able to purchase a gym membership or be able to pay for expensive organic foods. Instead, they are forced to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle and choose fast food over body-friendly substances.

These are some reasons why obesity rates in poor neighborhoods are often higher when compared to those associated with more affluent regions. Let’s also remember that this very same demographic will obviously not be able to afford professional help such as the advice offered by a trained nutritionist or physical trainer.

Social, political and economic causes of obesity

An Amalgam of Different Factors

As stressed earlier in this article, there are often times when multiple different variables all come into play when diagnosing the root causes of obesity. However, it is still crucial to reinforce the fact that genetics play a pivotal. This is one of the reasons why two individuals who experience the exact same situations may react physiologically differently, perhaps stress causes one to gain weight and the other to stop eating altogether.

The bottom line is that regardless of the root causes, there are many effective treatment options, such as the Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon. It is also possible to make dramatic lifestyle changes over time. As society continues to evolve, there is no doubt that a greater amount of focus will be placed upon the relationship between obesity and cultural factors.

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