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            What started all of the dieting in America? Well there’s the cultural aspect, popular culture that is. The media has been promoting the model ideal for years. Their idea is that being thinner means more success, happiness, and love. They show models wearing almost nothing looking perfect in photos and then give advice on how you too could look like them. They promise that if you follow this diet and that exercise regime then you will be happy and better liked. It’s everywhere. Photos of impossibly beautiful people telling you how to look like them. But here’s the thing, it’s impossible, and most likely not real. The photo is probably airbrushed.

            There’s more, a lot more. It’s a structural issue really. It has to do with class and social standing, and where you live, which is usually determined by your socio-economic standing. There’s no denying that there is a correlation between weight and income levels. The poor are more often overweight. This is for a simple reason, the cost of food. The cheaper food is the processed, and not entirely healthy stuff, the stuff that should be consumed in moderation and not as a primary means of nutrition. If it is the primary food source your probably missing some key vitamins and minerals, and getting some not entirely natural stuff too. There is also a plethora of cheap fast food options that are also convenient, and well fast, for those who have to work long hours or multiple jobs. So that’s one side of the obesity “epidemic” that is gripping the nation.

            Another side of this same coin is a real problem that can’t be fixed with finding ways to make fresh produce more available and more affordable, and it definitely can’t be fixed with surgical options. It’s another side of eating disorders, the side that is less recognized by society, binge eating and/or compulsive over eating. Both are serious, both can be just as health and life threatening as bulimia or anorexia, but neither gets much attention or recognition. It needs more attention to be paid to it. It is a serious problem, just like any other eating disorder. It’s real. It requires serious therapy and serious help. It is not something that can fixed with a surgical procedure. It is a way of coping, of dealing with emotions. So when we suggest “lifestyle changes,” we are only really fixing part of the problem that has led us to this point.

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