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Purpose. To identify the most important factor contributing to the obesity problem, in order to come up with helpful solutions that adapt to the modern lifestyle. Hypothesis.

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To identify the most important factor contributing to the obesity problem, in order to come up with helpful solutions that adapt to the modern lifestyle.


  • This thesis presents the hypothesis that current changes in the family structure might have been the trigger to the current obesity epidemic in the United States. In contrast to other beliefs that marketing and the food industry’s low standard, are the main causes of the obesity widespread in the country, the modern family lifestyle is, most probably, the main factor which makes all the marketing efforts and new changes in food preparation successful. Knowing this, we can present better solutions that adapt to the new family lifestyles and offer methods that help decrease the poor eating habits linked to their time constraining situations.

Social meanings of body image
Social Meanings of body image

  • Medieval Times

  • Victorian age:

  • Fashion Revolutions (1920’s and 1960’s)

  • Modern days

Obesity in consuming societies
Obesityin Consuming societies

  • Kindness, altruism and sociable

  • Feelings about fatness: good natured, funny, likable

  • Moral and physical decadence

  • Gluttony as one of the capital sins

  • Frustrations and neurotic problems = over eating

  • Poor vs. Rich eating habits

Mixed feelings aboutobesity

Good natured






Fat in economies of scarcity
Fat in Economies of Scarcity

  • Practice of over eating in tribal societies

  • Plumpness as a standard of beauty in women

  • Early religion and food (completar)

  • Every social class eats the same foods


  • Saint like figure (purity of the soul)

  • Fasting as a virtue

  • Longevity

  • Sicknesses like anorexia which started in Victorian times

The current situation

The current situation

What is obesity?

By weight: when a person is 20% or more above normal weight

By BMI (body mass index): when a person has a BMI of 30 and above

Influential factors
Influential Factors

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Genetics

  • Environmental Factors

  • Physical Activity

  • Psychological Factors

  • Illness

  • Medications


No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%


No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%


No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%

Factors of change
Factors of Change

  • Rich in fiber diets and grains < increased levels of sugar, oils and animal fats

    • Low nutrients and high calories

  • Dining out:

    • Growing number of working mothers

    • Increase in single-parent households

    • Increased dual income

    • More fast food outlets

    • Increased advertising by large food service chains

Effects of obesity
Effects of Obesity

  • Risk of disease

  • High healthcare costs

  • Reduced social status

  • Reduced Employment opportunities

Advocates of obesity
Advocates of obesity

  • Say the government exaggerates

  • It’s mostly genetic

  • Changes in lifestyle

Current solutions
Current Solutions:

  • Suggested by WHO:

    • Promotion of smaller portions

    • Limit amounts of fat, salt and sugars

    • Simpler labeling

    • Reassessment of marketing to young children

    • Increasing physical activity

    • Affordability of health foods

Current solutions1
Current Solutions

  • For Parents:

    • Buying more fruits and vegetables

    • Keeping healthy snacks in the house

    • Role Models

  • Health Professional Suggestions:

    • Provide uncomplicated Recipes

    • Shopping lists

    • Preparation tips

Proposals and measures taken
Proposals and Measures Taken

  • Banning Soda from Schools

  • Making restaurants show calories of each item in their menu

  • Soda tax

  • Zoning to keep Fast Foods out