posted on Aug, 31 2008 @ 06:32 PM
While I am sure there are a number of factors contributing to the increase in obesity in America, I would single out two as likely predominant causes.
One is the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the average American. The other is the commercialization of the growth and production of much of our
As for the first, we have become much more sedentary in our recreation - until the Baby Boom generation people didn't have the option of sitting in
front of the television to entertain themselves. Likewise, in the last fifteen years or so the internet has become another source of sedentary
entertainment. In general we don't spend as much time outside engaging in physical activity as we did before, say, the 1950s or so.
However, we are also far more sedentary in our work lives. Granted, this is not universally the case, but we are becoming more and more a
service-based economy, not an economy where people run machines and build things, an activity which tends to burn far more calories. 50 or 100 years
ago people didn't need to go to the gym or exercise for recreation as much because they got a good deal of exercise at work!
As for the second, anyone who is interested in where their food comes from and hasn't yet read Michael Pollan's
The Omnivore's Dilemma
should definitely add it to their reading list. It is staggering to
learn the extent to which the growth and production of much of our food has been commercialized.
From the standpoint of a corporation, there is no incentive to offer a consumer anything more than basic nutrition. The fewer dietary needs which are
met by a given processed food product the more a consumer needs to eat in order to survive, which means more consumption.
As has already been said in this thread, the healthiest way to eat is to keep your diet balanced, prepare as much of your own food as possible, and to
include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.