Causes of the Modern Obesity Epidemic

Written by: Alojz Ihan, M.D., Ph.D.

In the past, it was important for the survival of the body to be able to store all overhead energy into body fat. It was an important capability for a human being to have some backup energy for times when there wasn't enough food available. It wasn't that long ago in history that the human population was scarred by hunger and the fat storage was very welcome, especially for women who were responsible to provide enough food for babies during pregnancy.

Nowadays there aren't many women who would agree that her (fatty) curves are a special blessing. In the civilized world with the food abundance this "feature" became one of the biggest problems that are in the long term threatening one's health and well-being. The main reason for the contemporary obesity epidemic is a very short history of our (over)abundance. Time of unlimited amounts of food is too short for human beings to develop effective psycho-biological mechanisms that would limit one's food intake.

Historically, we have never experienced a problem such as too much food. Thus the human's body does not resist excessive food intake as much as excessive fluid intake or excessive workout which means we can eat as much as we want to.

Why do We Eat too much?

Eating is not only a biological necessity but also a common social custom. Most social events are based on eating (celebrations, parties, professional and private meetings, receptions …). People find it difficult to avoid overeating because of this social lifestyle, unless they are very nutritionally-aware and can put the healthy-eating theory into practice.

We shouldn't listen only to the way we feel while eating, we need to use our heads as well. We should all possess the knowledge that social events are more about the company than about food.

On the other hand eating is also a biological necessity that in the abundance-society is being satisfied more often than any other biological need. Overeating is often a very comfortable compensation for other unfulfilled needs, especially emotional ones that are, in the era of overconsumption, very hard to recognize and satisfy.

Many people want to lose their weight they gain by overeating, because being overweight or obese becomes trauma itself. In society of abundance the thin figure is what shows higher social class and wealth and thus the representatives of lower social classes are usually facing more problems with obesity. Slim figure shows that a person is never addicted to food abundance and that he or she has enough free time and money for being physically active and lead a dynamic lifestyle.

Besides that it seems that being thin is becoming an important fashionable guideline of the modern society. As if clothes and social skills are not enough, the person themselves need to be internally engaged and ascetic, which shows as being thin. The penitential behavior that the religion failed to keep is now in the domain of fashion trends.

If you want to lose weight healthily, don't forget to work out regularly.

If you don't know how to start being physically active, you can check out the workout advice at the 24alife portal offers you.