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The obesogenic environment around us: These are the factors that form

Overweight and obesity, defined by the World Health Organization as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that can be harmful to our health,” and in 2014 affected 39% and 13% of adults, respectively persons. Both conditions have a multifactorial origin and between these factors that favor is the obesogenic environment.

The obesogenic environment is the sum of external factors such as industrialization, easy access to food or sedentary lifestyle, which have favored over the last decades (and still do) the increasing rate of overweight and obesity. We analyze some of the most important factors that are part of this phenomenon.

The obesogenic environment around us These are the factors that formEasy access to junk food …

A priori the easy access to food (no longer have to “hunt our dinner” or cultivate our own vegetables in our garden), a result of industrialization, is very favorable face to our quality of life. This would certainly be the case if this simple limited access to food, not highly processed products.

Nutritional offer we have at hand in supermarkets and shops usually quite poor and at the same time very cheap, so it is easy access to processed foods that do not do a good supply of nutrients for our body. Many professionals agree that the problem is not that food is expensive, but that junk food is very cheap and accessible to everyone.

The poor nutritional education of the population must also add all the stimuli we receive and that motivate us to make choices unhealthy purchase on food: see the next block ads out on television and how many Count of them They correspond to junk food products or questionable supply of nutrients (especially aimed at children) and how many you are dedicated to food.

Lack of daily physical activity

We do not mean to spend 30 or 60 minutes a day to exercise ourselves in the gym or go jogging (that could consider as sport), but the movements we do throughout the day, usually conducted in motorized transport ( either in private cars or public transport or bikes). Even excessive use of enablers such as escalators or elevators that while in perspective are beneficial and necessary for many people, for others only aggravate their sedentary lifestyle.

If we add one sedentary work environment where we spend about eight hours a day in front of the computer screen, and add the hours we spent at home sitting in front of television, we have a cocktail devastating for our health.

In the case of children, they are also affected by work schedules of their parents : a busy or work schedules that keep them in their place until late parents evening often results in children focused on activities indoors, now more than ever provided by the game consoles, tablets or computers.

Is it possible to control the obesogenic environment?

These external factors are controllable only to a certain extent by individuals and that these change should take social measures : measures such as taxing sugary drinks or incentive the fact go to work by bicycle, they are already taking other countries.

Monitor the advertising of unhealthy products at least at times when children, improve the nutrition of the population, adjust work schedules and improve the eating habits of the population are difficult measures to carry out but which could improve the health of all of us and providing us step towards a healthier life.


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