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While watching television or surfing the web, how often do you see a food commercial/advertisement? Can you resist the scrumptious images or do you give into temptation? Most likely, you will not be able to resist that nagging urge to eat. Before you know it, you have consumed a large amount of unhealthy snacks or eaten a large meal only a short time after your previous one. The guilt that arises from this reaction is quite unbearable, and the modern image of beauty instills a self-conscious hatred.
The environments to which individuals are exposed in their daily lives – schools, workplaces, and their communities – can influence the healthfulness of their diets. In today’s society, we are constantly surrounded by advertisements, and the prevalence of fast food restaurants and convenience stores doesn’t help doctors promote a healthy diet. Parents have tremendous influence on children’s food behaviors. However, how many adults do you know that reward their children with fruits or vegetables? Most likely, the answer is little to none. The child begins to realize that by being on his/her best behavior, he/she will be rewarded with a sugary treat; psychologists call this reward system, where someone is rewarded for acting in a desirable way. This reveals that the unhealthy habits of the older generation greatly impacts the younger generations, creating a ripple effect that will exponentially increase obesity rates over time. With the high prevalence of obesity in the U.S., supporting healthy food environments is a key strategy to reach the public health goals of reducing obesity and improving nutrition. America’s obsession with the notion that more is better, the prevalence of poor eating habits, and the subsidized farming industry is slowly poisoning society as we stray from healthy lifestyles and foster obesity.
America’s notion that more is better has been adversely influencing dietary habits. Since the 1970s, portions have significantly increased as a result of a growing food industry, increasing income, and concentrated marketing. With new farming techniques (ex: precision farming, bioengineering, pesticides) and faster methods of raising livestock, namely mechanization, the food industry has grown. The supermarket industry has grown proportionally with the increasing availability of sustenance. Price competition increased, and to continue participating and expand in the market, portion sizes were enlarged. This resulted from research that provided a positive correlation between oversize products and customer purchases (Young, Lisa R and Marion Nestle). According to the data collected by United States Census Bureau, the mean household income has been rising rapidly since 1970. If you consider the abundance of restaurants today, it can be inferred that increased income levels has influenced the growth of these businesses. Customers seek the best deals when purchasing items, and this mindset pertains to eating out as well. Therefore, it is more likely that they would dine at a restaurant that has larger portion sizes for a lower price (Young, Lisa R and Marion Nestle).
After scrutinizing data about obesity levels in the United States, it is evident that they have increased over the last several decades. At the same time, the evidence previously laid out showed an increase in portion sizes over the same time frame. Therefore, it can be deduced that “larger portion sizes may play a role in the obesity epidemic” (“Limiting Portion Sizes to Reduce the Risk of Childhood Overweight and Obesity.”). Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, director at NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute stated that “super-sized portions at restaurants have distorted what Americans consider a normal portion size, and that affects how much we eat at home as well.” (“Portion Sizes and Obesity, News & Events”) This observation reveals that by consuming larger meals, people begin to

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