Eating Habits and Food Culture
Eating habits and food culture significantly affect people’s health and overall well-being. When consuming food, people have their food habits that can be either good or bad. However, even though people developed most of their food habits during childhood, it is never too late to transform those that do not appear to be working out well, or do not have beneficial health outcomes. Besides, people should not stick to particular foods and eat them repeatedly or stop consuming certain foods because this decision could also affect their health outcomes. One possible effect of inappropriate eating habits is that it could cause obesity, which can cause poor health, increased treatment cost, and inability of people to perform certain functions. Some of the concerns related to eating habits and food culture require raising public awareness to evade complications that could be more difficult to address.
Many Americans prefer to consume foods high in cholesterol, which put them at the risk of developing obesity. The problem with foods with high calories, as Kumanyika et al. explain, is that they look appealing to the eye but hardly contain the nutritional value to enrich consumers (430). Ice cream, French fries, cake, chips, hot dogs, too much sugary drinks, hamburgers, and other similar foods may be tasty but do not satisfy one’s organism for long. Many people consume these foods because of their individual eating habits and because of the influence of the American culture when many people prefer to purchase ready meals from restaurants. Such foods are popular because they are affordable, accessible, and rich in flavors and fats. Often, junk foods are appealing because they look good and appear delicious even before someone eats, which is then reason why many people consume such kind of foods. Unless people change their eating habits and overcome cultural practices that compel them to choose food items that put them at risk of developing serious health problems, it would be hard to evade serious effects of improper eating habits and food culture.
Effects of Poor Eating Habits and Culture
Risk of Obesity
Rate of obesity is likely to
increase, which risks the lives of many Americans. Junk foods contain excessive
sugar and fats, but do not contain adequate proportions of vitamins and
minerals (Bacon 49). Large volumes of unhealthy fats in junk or fast foods
cause weight gain, which potentially causes obesity. People should embrace
proper mitigation measures and suitable eating habits because obesity is a
serious health condition that causes poor mental health outcomes and decreased
quality of life (Bacon 49). Obesity is also related to high mortality rates in
the United States and globally, encompassing stroke, heart diseases, diabetes,
and particular forms of cancer. Other health complications that could emerge
because of obesity include breathing complications, hypertension, mental
problems, such as anxiety and depression, and decreased quality of life.
Obesity has societal and economic consequences, which are further harmful to
the country, especially in relation to the treatment cost (Bacon 50). Some of
the direct costs of treatment encompass those incurred during diagnosis,
treatment, and prevention. The indirect effects relate to death and sickness
and include lost productivity (Bacon 50). Unless concerned parties take
adequate measures to transform undesirable eating habits and food culture, it
would be difficult to evade these eminent threats.
Exploitation in the Name of Being Overweight
The slimming sector takes advantage of overweight people to acquire money from them although it helps them gain the desired shape. Bacon asserts that the notion that being overweight is invariably dangerous to health is encouraged by the weight loss sector (55). Individuals spend their time and financial resources to cope with the problems that they acquire after consuming affordable and accessible foods. Bacon further informs that pharmaceutical firms invest much money into studies that overstate the threats of being overweight (55). People perceive information in different ways, judging about their own health based on the multiple stories available online. The only problem is that some of the proposed remedies do not actually give the anticipated results while others put users at more risks (Bacon 51). The weight loss sector may not get the chance to exploit Americans if everyone learns about the threats associated with junk foods and adjust their behavior and perceptions towards eating.
Introduction of Less Effective Laws and Regulations
Failing to consider appropriate eating habits and food culture could result in the formation of laws and regulations that do not really solve the problem, but instead deny citizens their rights and freedoms to choose what they think suit them. A good example was experienced in New York where city mayor Michael Bloomberg banned the sale of all soft drinks in bottles or containers bigger than 16-ounce servings (Tobin). The mayor’s perception was that banning the sale would reduce cases of obesity because such foods contribute towards being overweight. However, some evaluators think that the decision is misinformed and only denies Americans the freedom to choose what they think suits them (Tobin). Such inappropriate regulations may reoccur in future if people do not alter their perception towards taking foods that increase their risk for becoming overweight.
An effective solution to the problem is to engage the public in awareness programs that inform about the dangers of poor eating habits and food culture. Kumanyika et al. recommend various approaches for sensitizing members of the people, especially those at high risk (433). They think that cases of obesity will go down and people will gain valuable information about proper eating habits when health experts should play a role in informing people what foods to eat and which to avoid. Nevertheless, some people may continue with undesirable eating habits because of their lack of knowledge of what is good and bad.
The study identifies the need to
embrace proper eating habits and food culture to avoid health problems such as
obesity that have serious implications on America as a whole. Continuing
consuming fast foods increases the risks of developing obesity, which has both
direct and indirect costs on individuals and the whole country. A possible
adverse effect of obesity is that someone can lose his or her life. The other
possible effects of poor eating habits, which increases the likelihood of
becoming obese is that one is at a risk of being exploited by the weight loss
industry that claims to have the best remedy for being overweight. The study
gives the example of New York City mayor, who introduced a law that he thinks
would help to curb obesity, but ended up causing more rifts and
misunderstanding among different stakeholders.
Bacon, Linda. Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight. BenBella Books, 2010.
Kumanyika, Shiriki, et al. “Obesity Prevention: The Case for Action.” International Journal of Obesity, vol. 26, no. 3, 2002, pp. 425-36. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0801938. Accessed 30 July 2021.
Tobin, Jonathan. “The Issue Is Freedom, Not Soft Drinks.” Commentary, 31 May 2012, www.commentary.org/jonathan-tobin/the-issue-is-freedom-not-soft-drinks/. Accessed 23 July 2021.
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