Cause of the obesity epidemic
Due the existential uncertainty which people are exposed in the so-called ‘free market’, stress is likely the cause of obesity, say British scientists. In a study published by the journal Economics and Human Biology, researchers at Oxford University have concluded that Americans and the British are more prone to obesity of Norwegians and Swedes, and to assess that stress in the competitive social structure, without strong social protection, can make people to overeat.
Professor Avner Offer The team compared the 11 developed countries and concluded that countries with liberal market regime – with strong market incentives and comparatively low composition of social protection – are one third more obese, on average.
Comparing the four ‘liberal market’ in the English-speaking countries – the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia – with seven comparatively rich European countries that traditionally have a strong social protection – Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden – team has concluded that economic insecurity is strongly associated with the degree of obesity.
Countries with higher levels of job security and income are associated with lower levels of obesity, say scientists. Offer also points out that obesity began to take large proportions in the 1980s, during the growth of market liberalism in the English-speaking countries.
The growth of obesity in developed countries is often attributed to the increasing offer of cheap, accessible, high-energy fast food – phenomenon known as ‘fast food shock’ – but Offer’s team said that the existential uncertainty about the economic impact is stronger.
Offer’s staff members are calculated that the availability of fast food has half the effect on the prevalence of obesity from the consequences of economic uncertainty. “We found that the uncertainty is the strongest influence on the degree of obesity, ” concluded the researchers in the study.