Daily Reads: The Real Cause of Obesity

I do a lot of reading about health and nutrition because I find it to be interesting both anthropologically and personally. I have long come to embrace the conclusion that diet-related health issues such as obesity are linked to social and cultural causes and not (just) to personal decision-making. Thus, today’s Daily Read is about that very topic. James Hamblin of The Atlantic writes about a meeting he attended with policy makers, researchers, and medical professionals where the link between culture and the obesity crisis was the topic. What I found most interesting about the article was a study showing how attitudes towards obesity split along political lines – that is, liberals are more likely to see obesity as a societal problem that requires government intervention than conservatives are. But even more fascinating, to me, is the fact that most people still don’t seem to link social causes with obesity and instead are much more likely to pin it on personal choice, which as Hamblin points out, is an extremely reductionist approach to a complex problem.

Body Weight, Clash of Ideologies

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