In the U.S., unhealthy eating habits ranging from obesity to anorexia are being encouraged throughout society by American culture. Americans are blinded by ads and advertisements for junk foods, as well as numerous television shows that showcase the pre-anorexic physiques of many celebrities. Additionally, the U.S. is stocked and loaded with fast food restaurants all across the country, promoting the consumption of unwholesome junk food. Holidays, traditions, and customs also play a role in eating habits in that people tend to eat unhealthy foods in larger amounts during these times. Americans across the country are being influenced by the media, holidays/traditions, and the vast availability of unhealthy foods in determining how they establish their eating habits.
One way that American culture encourages unhealthy eating habits is through the media via advertisements and celebrity images. Television ads and advertisements endorse the selling of junk foods at fast food restaurants and grocery stores. However, they tend to fail to mention the harm that could be done to the consumer’s body, such as obesity and its long term effects. Also being encouraged through the media are celebrity stereotypes of thin figures and an “ideal body image”. Some people react to these stereotypes by going to extreme measures to try and achieve an ideal body. The results are eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc. American culture uses the media to influence how people make choices regarding healthy eating. Though many unhealthy eating habits are being encouraged through the media, how Americans choose to respond to them is just one way that can determine their lifestyle choices.
In addition to the impacts of the media, the availability and affordability of unhealthy foods also encourages Americans to neglect a healthy way of life. Fast food restaurants are one example. They are located all over the country in convenient places, and the food is cheaper than healthier alternatives. This provides a fast and inexpensive meal that draws a wide variety of customers, and definitely does not encourage healthy eating habits. Along with fast food restaurants, processed foods in grocery stores
usually cost less than non-processed, organic foods. Americans will tend to purchase what costs less, therefore disregarding healthy foods and promoting unhealthy choices.
Finally, Americans also enjoy celebrating holidays as part of their culture and traditions. During the holiday season, people generally spend time with their friends and family, and the food they share is something that brings everyone together. For example, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. This holiday is intended to give thanks for every aspect of a person’s life, and is celebrated by eating food and spending time with loved ones. The food that is consumed is not necessarily healthy and in moderation, therefore discouraging healthy eating habits. Although holidays and traditions are an important component in the lives of many, the prevalence of unhealthy eating during these times has definitely been established.
Overall, American society is encouraging unhealthy eating habits through the availability and affordability of junk foods, American traditions and holidays, and the media. These influences take up a substantial amount of a person’s life, and the effects are seen in their health habits. Healthy lifestyle is a choice, and that choice is subjected to the culture and society that a person lives in. In the end, the health choices made by a person reflect how they chose to let those influences affect their way of life.