There continues to be a belief within our popular culture that obesity is the simple result of eating too much and exercising too little (if at all). Sadly, many people still point the finger at obese folks for their circumstances without realizing the true facts about obesity. From experiencing verbal abuse from strangers on the street and being chronically judged to internalizing these negative messages in the form of shame, self-hate, and disgust, people who are obese suffer from a myriad of physical and mental health related problems. Name-calling and judgement haven’t turned this “epidemic” of obesity around, so what could?
Perhaps understanding all the factors that are related to obesity is a good start…
The term “obesogenic environment” relates to the influences of one’s environment over physical activity and eating behavior. For example, if we live in an area without sidewalks or safe walking routes coupled with a lack of accessibility to fresh fruits and vegetables, the chances are good our obesity rates will be higher than a neighborhood with safe walking routes and healthy food options available.
This is not to say that environment will be the sole reason for obesity, but it is one factor to consider when examining the cause of obesity. People who live in areas that foster fast food and driving rather than walking are going to have a greater challenge making those behavior changes that may lead to weight loss.