Reason for Obesity Ib Psychology

Topics: Nutrition, Food, Obesity Pages: 2 (612 words) Published: May 25, 2012
[4:54:50 PM] atta.hl.leung: Discuss factors leading to overeating and obesity Factors that lead to obesity are split into 2 main areas, nurture and nature. Nature and nurture can be argued for almost everything that exists today, our behaviour, actions, appearance and etcetera. Nurture can be seen as cognitive thoughts on dieting and societies views on our food preferences, while nature is the biological theory of breaking down overeating to neurons and chemicals in our body, as well as evolutionary theories that suggest obesity is due to our mal-adaptation of eating environments. Evolutionary factors suggest that obesity, is the maladaptive product of changes that took place in the environment of evolutionary adaptation thousands of years ago. Food preferences and eating habits have developed so that we are advised to eat high fats, carbohydrates, sugars etc… that contribute to our daily survival. But as these adaptive behaviours thousands of years ago meet the needs and society of today, the same mechanism become maladaptive and may lead to obesity. If this evolutionary explanation of eating behaviour is correct, then such behaviour is universal, present in young children before cultural or social learning takes place, which can be mirrored in the animal kingdom. A study that shows such preferences are universal is the Eskimo study by Bell (1973), in which sweet foods were introduced to an Alaskan community previously lacking them. Sweets were not rejected, and a preference was shown to be developed, proving that eating behaviour is not learnt, but innate. This supports the evolutionary theory because we have a “built in” system where we have a liking for sweet foods, and everyone around the world is the same, and culture does not affect our preferences for foods. The liking for calorie snacks seems to be innate and therefore passed down through genes from our ancestors. This is seen in the study by Birch and Deysher (1985) in which preschool children learn to...
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