Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Anthropology of Obesity

A new compilation of articles and information was generated on a new a rising concern over global obesity on the Neuralanthropology website. This is a new phenomenon that is quite surprising. Enclosed is a list of interesting articles researchers are using to help understand the rise of obesity. Ironically, it is the poor and not the wealthy that are seeing the highest increases in obesity. Here is part of the summary on this global epidemic:

Worldwide, multiple paradoxes have emerged as food distribution, access and consumption have changed dramatically. For the first time in history, in the course of a generation, households can go from malnutrition based on undernutrition to malnutrition based on overnutrition. Because of the health impact of obesity and of diet-related non-communicable diseases (e.g., adult-onset diabetes), many children will die before their parents.

Ironically, obesity has become the plague of those most marginalized rather than an overindulgence of the rich. Economic status in the face of globalization has facilitated the increase of obesity through further marginalization of the poorest. Communities previously reliant on subsistence farming now must enter monetary work and rely on the cheapest, nutritionally devoid, factory produced food items. It is not uncommon now to observe communities experiencing a decrease in infectious disease and an increase in non-communicable diseases while simultaneously suffering from wasting and obesity....

In light of these phenomena, researchers everywhere are grappling with how to comprehend the multiple issues generated by skyrocketing obesity rates and rapid transition of dietary and physical behaviors. Anthropology with its holistic nature and ability to merge multiple paradigms is paramount for the study of obesity, its impact on multiple levels, and its historical and global causes.

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