No wonder America is fat

This seems like a no-brainer. If we know–as this latest study says we now do–people tend to eat more (cookies, candy, etc.) and buy more (unnecessary spending) when they’ve seen something that reminds them of death, how could Americans not tend toward fat when everywhere you turn the news is about death and danger–fire, stabbing, rape, murder, and so on?

Add to that the fact that when people don’t feel good about themselves, this tendency to eat and spend more when faced with death thoughts is even more pronounced, and you’ve got a recipe for an overweight society. Here it is in a nutshell:

    • We idolize thinness. (see earlier posts on self-image and beauty)
    • We have easy access to unlimited quantities of unhealthy but appetizing food choices.
    • We eat more when faced with thoughts of death.
    • We are exposed to death on a daily, sometimes an hourly, basis in our news coverage.
    • We feel depressed that we aren’t thin enough.
    • We eat more to compensate for the death and the depression.
    • We get fat. And then the news does stories about how fat America is–and how it’s leading to more death.
    • We eat more because we’re depressed about dying from eating too much.
    • And round and round.

And so goes the unending death spiral (bad pun intended).

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What price beauty?

Is America obsessed with beauty and thinness? Well, it’s all in your mind’s eye. If you see it as critical to have the thinnest possible body, if you see it as important to being accepted; if you use a plastic surgeon for your face and body like you do a mechanic for your car; if you view people who are heavier than you as jokes or abominations, then yeah, you might be obsessed.

Got notice today from the Chicago Bloggers group about a screening of the movie “America the Beautiful.” The director is in Chicago for the screening here and will be doing Q&A after the showings this weekend.

In 2004, America spent $12.4 billion on cosmetic surgery. The estimated cost for basic nutrition and health care in developing countries: $13 billion. If those figures don’t convince you that our priorities are skewed, consider that the real cost of our obsession with youth, beauty and a slender physique is tallied in an epidemic of eating disorders, complications and death from unnecessary surgeries, exposure to dangerous toxins in cosmetics, and the equally toxic effects on a generation of young people. How did we get this way? Who is harmed by our quest for perfection? And who is profiting from encouraging the insecurities that fuel that quest? Hear from the movers and shakers of advertising, fashion, entertainment andthe media; from educators, health-care professionals and scientists; and from ordinary men, women and teens. The answers they give are astounding, with consequences far more than skin deep.

It was the top grossing film two weekends in a row. Exclusive engagement at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark Street) on Friday and Saturday (May 23 and 24) There will be a special Q &A with director, Darryl Roberts following the 7:10and 9:45 show times.

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