Why are Americans, out of all the countries in the world, one of the fattest? One of the most common answers is that Americans are fat because individuals are making bad food choices, and are thus willing themselves to be fat. People routinely cite obese people with a ton of junk food in their carts at grocery stores, or the “super-sizing” at fast food places as reasons why Americans are fat.
1. Corporations are why you are fat:
An article in The Atlantic looks at how corporate social responsibility campaigns shift "responsibility" for healthfulness onto the consumer and away from companies' fattening products.
According to the authors, from the Berkeley Media Studies Group in Berkeley and the Public Health Advocacy Institute in Boston, the moves the soda industry has made in recent years mirror those of tobacco from years ago.
The authors argue that outwardly CSR (corporate social responsibility) campaigns appear to be an attempt to raise public awareness of the health concerns of a given product, but more subtly, CSRs can work to shift the onus of responsibility to the consumer, and away from the company.
"It is clear that the soda CSR campaigns reinforce the idea that obesity is caused by customers' "bad" behavior, diverting attention from soda's contribution to rising obesity rates," the authors write. "For example, CSR campaigns that include the construction and upgrading of parks for youth who are at risk for diet-related illnesses keep the focus on physical activity, rather than on unhealthful foods and drinks. Such tactics redirect the responsibility for health outcomes from corporations onto its consumers, and externalize the negative effects of increased obesity to the public."
Are corporations responsible for Americans’ corpulence? What other factors have caused the rates of obesity to skyrocket in recent years? Why has the rest of the world not followed suit in ballooning rates of obesity?Why is obesity so concentrated in the South, minority populations, and the poor?
2. King Corn-
Corn. It's in almost everything we eat, in one form or the other. We feed it to cows, chickens, and pigs to make them gain more weight than they otherwise would; so why do we think it wouldn't have the same effect on us?
A recent study found that rats fed high fructose corn syrup gained more weight than rats fed sugar, even though the caloric counts were identical.
In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.