Obesity Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1816 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Accounting - History

¶ … obesity is that there is are no direct explanations for the growing phenomenon. Statistics taken on a worldwide basis shows that there is no significant increase in caloric consumption in the past ten years, and in fact that exercise and dieting is rising rather than falling. However, deeper analysis into the issue of current obesity have shown that it is not so much a physiological problem as much as a socio-economic one. The following report will examine the implicit reasons for obesity growth in the modern era and specifically how technology has played a key factor in both psychological perspective as well as a socio-economic one.

Obesity is no longer a small problem in the United States, fully one third of all Americans are obese and this figure is projected to rise to almost fifty percent in the next ten years. These alarming findings are occurring at a time when dieting and exercise has reached new levels of mania, with the industry growing at an average of 14% per year for the past decade. To understand this growing phenomenon one has to take a non-traditional approach to the underlying concepts behind obesity itself. The current wave of obesity is being effected by modern technology and its latent effects.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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The long-term growth of obesity has its roots within technology. Ever since the industrial revolution, technology has increased by leaps and bounds, the direct result is that it has lowered the cost of calorie intake through making food cheaper to buy and process. At the same time, it has raised the cost of expending calories by transforming physical exercise from a vocational activity involved in daily work, to a leisure activity that requires time dedication and transactional cost. In simplistic terms, one hundred years ago workers had to pay more money for food and were forced to exercise in their daily work which increased their health and steered them away from obesity. Whereas in today's white collar work society, the majority of citizens no longer have labor intensive jobs and food prices are much lower. Both of these factors means that what foods we eat and how well we take care of our bodies have become a personal choice rather than an economic decision. Key findings by famed economists Philipson and Posner shows that changes in prices and income have been one of the contributors to obesity. Since individuals can now afford to buy any food they choose, diets are necessarily excessive compared to past generations. Overall the implication is that technology has reduced the mechanism by which natural exercise occurs and as a result, it is much more difficult for us to attain the necessary control mechanisms to keep us from eating excessively. At the same time, technology has made the production of food as well as the procurement of food much cheaper. The sum affect is that we have more disposable income to buy food while concurrently food is getting cheaper. Both of these effects shows how technology indirectly affects much we eat.

Technology goes beyond merely the economic factors that enable us to eat more there is real logic behind why obesity occurs more in today's society. A team of scientists from Harvard University headed by Professor David Cutler have analyzed the reasons for obesity from a food production and development perspective. They concluded that one of the principle results of technology is that it has made food more varied and convenient for consumers. Which means that instead of the bland food that past generations had to endure, the taste industry and general advancement in technology to streamline processes of food development have made food an irresistible part of our daily lives. Their research suggests that instead of food portions being larger than in previous decades, individuals consume more meals on a daily basis through snacking. The prevalence of junk food in our society is one model example of this process taking place, the more junk food that is consumed reveals how they are implicitly linked to technological advances. Food producer's innovations are a direct cause of obesity by tapping into the psychology of individuals are constant desire for better tasting and irresistible food.

From a sociological perspective technology is also a big factor in why obesity is now such a wide-spread phenomenon. The activities that define social interaction in the past were heavily reliant upon social activity. This not only included sports and other directly physical activity but just the habit of outdoor activity. The overall conception of ideal masculinity as outdoorsman is disappearing in American society largely due to the advent of technology. While in the 1950s, 80% of preferred leisure occurred outside the home, today only 10% occur outdoors. The majority of social activity occurs within the home through gatherings, watching television, computer surfing and other activities that are dependent upon technology. The result is that physical exercise has been reduced to an active leisure activity rather than a part of the social infrastructure of society. Thus, individuals do not receive passive health benefits and physical exercise as part of their daily social interaction. This implies that obesity has a natural linkage to technology as it continues to erode present social barriers to turn socializing into a non-physical activity. This trend is exacerbated by the growing technology of the internet. Recent research shows that internet usage is now the second biggest leisure occupation by Americans behind only television. Soon it will become the number one leisure activity in the United States. On the surface level this impacts obesity because individuals will be less motivated to pursue physical exercise or any type of outdoors social activity once they are on their computers. This has a deeper implication as well, social interactions are now occurring exclusively through the internet, which means that personalized relationships are becoming harder and harder to build upon.

From a social perspective, the advent of internet technology transforms the importance of physique within the equation of social status and hierarchy. As more forms of social interaction becomes virtual, there is no longer an pervasive need to be athletic and maintain cultural dominating themes of health. This applies not only to dominance within masculinity and feminity cultural themes, but also to dating and physical attractiveness. Since these social institutions that have always been linked to social interactivity are now being eroded by "virtual identities," obesity is no longer as much of a dehabilitating practice as it was decades ago. Therefore technology and its sociological implications are a strong reason for why obesity has become even more prevalent in today's society that ever before.

Casting physical activity and eating as leisure activity have important implications for obesity. Since now that physical activity is no longer ingrained in either the workplace nor in social interactions, individuals have to make it a habit to exercise. Thus the enrollment at gyms as well as the expansion of the healthcare products industry has grown exponentially. However, such fitness facilities and measures are only responsive to a small segment of society, the majority of members of society are either constrained by lack of personal will power or money when it comes to gym enrollment and healthy lifestyles. The reduction of exercise to leisure prevents the entirety of the general public from having physical exercise as part of their daily regimes. A large part of the problem is that technology has changed the psychological mentality of obesity in general. Individuals believe that technology can solve all of their problems and therefore they do not need to take active good care of their bodies. Workout programs emphasize the ease in which they can "burn fat and lose weight," while similar technology fixes within the health products industry promotes easy methods to diet. All of this shows that the general public believes technology solutions are both better and easier than traditional mechanisms for them to at once overeat and not pay the physical consequences.

The advent of modern technology in health care and medicine also plays into the psychological mindset of individuals. From a physical health perspective, Americans believe that the advancement in modern medicine will allow them to abuse their bodies without reaping the consequences of their actions. This can be shown through the escalation of type II diabetes, which is directly caused through overeating and obesity. Health problems that were formerly detrimental and associated with obesity are now curable and manageable, taking away some of the important health risks associated with obesity. Once this deterrent is no longer effective, it encourages individuals not to worry about the negative consequences to their health when they are obese. From a sociological perspective, the advent of plastic surgery and other medical procedures to alter body weight and body shape have dramatically influenced Americans in their perspectives on obesity. Since plastic surgery is such an easy mechanism to rid of unwanted fat and to change individuals completely, they no longer feel as much pressure to be thin because they can find alternative mechanisms to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Obesity.  (2007, April 5).  Retrieved November 27, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/obesity/2822

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"Obesity."  5 April 2007.  Web.  27 November 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/obesity/2822>.

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"Obesity."  Essaytown.com.  April 5, 2007.  Accessed November 27, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/obesity/2822.