Obesity in America
Obesity in America is real and profoundly alarming when you look at the major impact it has on our communities. Major health concerns like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure cases are at an all time high. Specifically, the disparity between low-income urban inner cities in regards to obesity as compared to more upper class wealthier communities makes you take pause. This relates to my professional goals of going back into my community as an activist and organizer of issues related to my environment, like health and education.
When you grow up in an area that has a specific way of life, sometimes even if you know you are making wrong decisions, it is hard to break the mold. It is important to not only point out people’s flaws but also provide solutions to their problems; however it appears that the solutions provided are now aiming at exploiting people’s health issues for capitalistic gain. Private sector companies appear to have implemented a plan to create a problem and provide a solution for capitalistic gain.
Obesity in America Essay Example
America is a capitalistic society founded on the idea of profiting on the expense of others, obesity in America is no different, although major health concerns associate obesity related issues, government and private sector organizations exploit this major epidemic targeting low-income urban inner cities. Literary Review Introduction: Obesity in America is an epidemic that has caused much suffering to individuals as we have seen the rates significantly increase over the past two decades.
Many of the factors pertaining to the causes are due majority to poor choices; however because of factors beyond the control of low income urban communities, like food oppression, food insecurity and lack of government oversight due to capitalistic gains, many situations are of people being victims of their environment. In June of last year the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease which opens the door for new profits on drugs like Belviq and medical pharmaceutical companies.
“The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments” (Pollack, 2013, par. 1). Instead of focusing on low-cost lifestyle changes that address the root cause, of obesity, this decision only aims to help benefit big business and drug companies who can now receive federal aid while continuing to ensure people are oppressed in food desserts with limited access to healthy food choices. Methodologies of Review:
The research studies chosen for this literature review focused on the factors that limit or reduce the opportunities for low income communities to have access to nutritional food choices. The perception is that although federal aid is available however marketing strategies and low costs for unhealthy items make it difficult to make smart decisions. I wanted to also highlight the disparity between low-income, urban communities in comparison to upper income wealthy ones. The main databases were employed to search for relevant research studies.
These databases included Ashford Online Library, Education Abstracts Full Text from the Princeton Online Journals, and Ebscohost Direct. In selecting literature to review, the author attempted to review research that was relatively current and no older than 10 years. Thus, the range of dates for the research studies was between 2004 and 2014, with the majority of studies chosen from 2006 to 2009. I have included in this literary review my three main sources for data and information although I have included many other research elements throughout my research paper.
The keywords used in searching these databases and websites were: obesity, exploits, and food industry. This initial search yielded a total of twenty six articles in the Ashford Online Library. After including additional keywords (fast food earnings, food oppression, food insecurity, minorities and low income paired with initial keywords and searching the reference lists of those articles already found, an additional search yielded a plethora of articles to choose from , some of which were actual research studies and others that were descriptive articles or summaries. The three articles in this review are the ones I found most
profoundly supported my main arguments in my thesis statement. The research used to support my arguments employed qualitative methods for obtaining data which was supported by statistical information, professional and educational sources and articles from scholarly sources (Freeman, A. (2007); Adler, N. E. , & Stewart, J. (2009); Kumanyika, S. & Grier, S. , (2006). Kumanyika, S. & Grier, S. , (2006), looks at obesity from the perspective of the government’s role in the situation, or lack thereof a presence in combating situations where they know people are getting taken advantage of through heavy influence from lobbyist groups.
Adler, N. E. , & Stewart, J. (2009), looks at the situations surrounding lifestyle choices, for example the availability of low cost foods, access to quick processed items versus nutritious ones and the poor quality of areas in these coined phrase, food deserts. Freeman, A. (2007), looks at the corporations and governments angle at keeping this an ongoing epidemic and ways in which they exploit areas for capitalistic gain. Findings of the review: Written by Andrea Freeman entitled Fast Food: Oppression is another article that was used to supports my main argument.
The author talks about how fast food has become a major source of nutrition in low income, urban neighborhoods. Ms. Freeman goes even further into this point describing how the popularity is mainly due to the fast food industry targeting this specific market, infiltrating schools, government subsidies and the federal food policy, which are all key factors in denying inner cities access to healthy food choices. The author describes this as food oppression. Food oppression is structured and targeted from institutionalized practices and policies of government and the fast food industry.
“Government policies engendering food oppression range from providing public assistance insufficient to cover the cost of fresh food to collaboration with the fast food giants to ensure that their products dominate lunch-room counters and dinner tables. This state-sponsored racial inequality is obscured by the distinction between public and private spheres of action and is perpetuated by the myth of personal choice, even where a lack of options and resources severely limits the ability to exercise choice” (Freeman, 2007, p. 222). Ms. Freeman offers solutions to this issue starting with reforms at the federal
level of government. She also calls on local community organizations to get involved and create awareness. Her main goal is to emphasize that food oppression is a form of institutionalized inequality that government and private organizations hide behind because of the appearance of choice and free will, which must be addressed and eradicated. Written by Adler and Stewart entitled, Reducing Obesity: Motivating Action While Not Blaming the Victim is another article that supports my argument. The authors look at how both the individual and the industry play a role in the obesity epidemic.
Instead of just blaming people for bad choices they look at what factors surrounded that choice. For example, did they have access to nutritional items, are there recreational services available in the area, or the current job market. They describe this as behavioral justice, which is “To convey the principle that individuals are responsible for engaging in health-promoting behaviors but should be held accountable only when they have adequate resources to do so. This perspective maintains both individuals’ control and accountability for behaviors and society’s responsibility to provide health-promoting environments” (Adler & Stewart, 2009, p.
50). The author also goes into the point that obesity is more prevalent in socially disadvantaged groups of people. Specifically lower income and those individuals with lesser education. This article will help me defend my argument because you can tie in the fact that the obesity is targeted and structured in poorer urban areas. Written by Kumanyika and Grier entitled Targeting Interventions for Ethnic Minority and Low-Income Populations is another article that supports my main argument.
The author talks about child hood obesity that is specifically focused on the extremely higher rate in minority and low income populations as compared to upper and middle class areas. Although a lot can be blamed on the individual with free will the author looks at other extenuating factors that influences bad decisions like economic stresses, reduced access to affordable healthful foods and opportunities for physical activity, overexposure to targeted advertising and marketing of energy-dense foods, and factors related to family ecologies.
The author also looks at how counseling and mentoring parents in an environment that is setup for failure is highly pointless and contradictory. “Although reducing obesity prevalence among minority and low-income children will not be possible without also improving their social and economic environments, clearly tremendous opportunities exist for targeted policies and interventions” (Kumanyika & Grier, 2006, par. 26).
The first step in solving the issue is attacking the food industry market that exploits this group with extensive policy reform. Specifically, the author talks about the protection from the invisible hand of the free market. This article helped support my main topic by reinforcing the issue that there is a problem in the urban and low-income communities that need to be addressed and to continue to highlight the fact the food industry is exploiting a specific target market for financial gain.
Discussions and Implications: By grouping these sources as the main philosophy or framework for my research paper I was able to clearly make a connection between exploits for capitalistic gain and targets on lower income communities from government entities and major corporations. If continued, the number although already alarming will continue to grow and pockets will continue to expand on the casualties of the average American citizens who are only striving to make ends meet.
Awareness for social change is there and people are more conscientious about the food choices they are making but it is not enough to tip the scales. I feel the awareness created now is only playing into the profit scheme of creating the problem and providing the solutions. Real change will only come from a community effort that includes all social classes. Until we approach this in this manner and not keep assuming we only need to be concerned with ourselves, then this problem will continue to skyrocket out of control.
Government policy is the real way to make change because we can get rid of some of the outside influences that will be discussed during the research portion of this paper. ——————————————————————————————————————— Academic Knowledge heavily impacts all the social elements and institutions of both local and global communities. Social or socioeconomic factors including, neighborhoods, income, education, race/ethnicity, and social cohesion all play a major role in the obesity epidemic.
A well informed community through academic knowledge is the best form to combat some of the major issues associated with the substandard socioeconomic elements surrounding obesity. A cross-sectional US study conducted of 20,745 adolescent participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health concluded that, “After adjustment for socioeconomic status, age, and race/ethnicity, persons living in rural working class, exurban, and mixed race/ ethnicity urban neighborhoods were more likely to be overweight (RRs 5 1. 4, 1.
3, and 1. 3, respectively) than were persons living in new suburban neighborhoods” (Epidemiologic Review, 2007, p. 135). Individuals equipped with academic knowledge like the statistics referenced can see how the situations surrounding there low socio-economic status are not all self inflicted, and come up with better ways to work together to solve the issues. The same phenomenological framework would apply on a global scale as well, because the same social and institutional factors surrounding obesity would remain the same.
It’s not a new phenomenon that business and government organizations love profiting on the expense of others. Going back in American history, you look at the early settlements with the Indians and the African slave revolution. It is surprising that it has taken this long to figure out how to take advantage of people hating who they are in a system that is designed to make them feel like they should never feel good about themselves.
Constant commercials of women in bikini’s and wash board abs that were not created from normal diet and exercise, trick people into thinking they could achieve that without a drastic lifestyle change that is almost impossible to maintain. Brad Pitt described his training for the movie Troy as extremely painful and something he never wanted to experience again. He worked out 8 hours a day, ate only 800 calories, on top of dehydrating his body to get rid of water weight. The end result was amazing, ripped washboard abs, but the progress was so unrealistic for the average American citizen.
Private and government organizations exploit this notion of quick and fad diets creating a perpetual cycle where people use diet pills, fad diets, buy unnecessary exercise equipment that collects dust, lose the weight and gain it back and go right back into trying to find something else that works. “In the US, the diet industry is a multibillion dollar industry. There’s about a 5% success rate for diets – that’s diets and lifestyle changes and anything else you want to call the intentional pursuit of weight loss” (Kirby, 2012, par. 2). At a five percent success rate companies know that as long as people continue to hate themselves and their