The Psychological, Biological and Cultural Factors That Combine to Influence the Overweight and Obese

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The Psychological, Biological and Cultural Factors that Combine to Influence the Overweight and Obese
Tom Emma
Brookdale Community College

Abstract
The following is a paper about the psychological, biological and cultural factors that combine to influence the overweight and the obese. The reader will learn of the many different mental affects that an individual has to deal with when facing food consumption issues. Biological influences pertain to genetics and brain activity that control an individual’s hunger. Culturally, an individual’s society through media and peers also play a role in how someone manages their appetite. These factors combine to create a vicious cycle that a person must deal with on a daily basis when facing overweight and obesity issues.

The Psychological, Biological and Cultural Factors that Combine to Influence the Overweight and the Obese.
As society has come to know, being overweight and obese is indeed a serious epidemic, not only in America, but also across the world. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), being overweight and obese are defined as follows: For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. It is important to remember that although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat (CDC.gov). Also, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) guidelines, assessment of being overweight involves the use of three measures: BMI, waist circumference, and risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity. In conjunction with the NHLBI, the Weight-Control Network states that women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches and men with more than 40 inches may face more health risks because of their body fat distribution. In earlier centuries being fat was considered a sign of wealth and nobility. However, considering the information obtained since, it can be seen there are many health concerns that have been brought about in part due to being overweight or obese. There has been plenty of research and studies performed in recent years to prove being overweight and obese is increasing in our society. The many risk factors related to being overweight or obese are as follows: hypertension, heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high glucose, premature heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, cancer, reduction of life expectancy, etc (NHLBI). Experts have developed a number of methods to help try to prevent and control peoples’ weight. There are several psychological, biological and cultural influences that combine to create a vicious cycle of issues for individuals dealing with weight problems. It is important to understand that each of these factors play a major role in determining whether an individual is capable of controlling the weight problem, able to change the problem, or will allow their weight take over their entire well-being. Emotional suffering may be one of the most painful parts of obesity. American society emphasizes physical appearance and often equates attractiveness with slimness, especially for women. Many people think that individuals who are considered obese are gluttonous, lazy, or both. This is not true. As a result, people who are considered obese often face prejudice or discrimination in the job market, at school, and in social situations. Feelings of rejection, shame, or depression may occur (W.I.N., 2004). The broad term of “emotional suffering” refers in part to the psychological factors such as...
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