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Can Food Be An Addiction?

By HERWriter Guide April 2, 2008 - 10:47am
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I'd like to hear feedback on the idea of food being an addiction, much as drugs and alcohol are. Can someone be addicted to food - in a physical and psychological sense?

Should some clinics or rehab for food addicts be free, like they are for drug and alcohol patients?

Does an obese person (through over-eating) need therapy to stop, or do they just need more self-control and a change in lifestyle?

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Since at least 1989, there have been numerous studies and reports on the correlation between social wealth and obesity. While malnutrition may cost more to combat, obesity and related, resulting conditions cost more to treat.

Obesity is also an issue in Europe and even China, as economies grow. It really is epidemic.

Socioeconomics Plays Role in Obesity HealthDay, Oct 2003

Socioeconomic inequality of obesity in the United States: do gender, age, and ethnicity matter? Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, 2004

Treatment of the Obese Patient Humana Press, 2007

Obesity Driving Rising U.S. Health Costs HealthDay, 2008

April 30, 2008 - 5:51pm

I think there is a reason no one wants to touch this topic with a ten-foot pole. Everyone either knows someone who is overweight or is carrying a few extra pounds themselves. It is rampant in this country, with some estimates saying that over 80% of adults in this country are overweight or obese.

But no one wants to lay blame on themselves or on the people they know and love. No one wants to admit there is a problem they can change. Instead we want to point to things we view as beyond our control. Indeed, more and more books are arguing that food choices are beyond our control and that fighting against our natural instincts to consume sweet and fatty foods is a losing battle.

So where does that leave us? Do we surrender all control of our lives and our diets and wait for a magic pill? Why was obesity less of a problem in the past than it is now?

A good part of the problem is habit. We insist we have too little time (although statistics say that the average American watches 4 hours of television a day) or too little energy, but it is mostly a choice. If we chose to eat foods whose names we could pronounce, if we chose to take a walk at lunch instead of working straight through, if we chose to find a way to eat whole foods instead of getting takeout 3 times a week, if we chose to have quality time with our families revolve around being active, if we chose to shut off the telly - any or all of these habits could make a significant dent in our waistlines.

The bottom line is that we are making terrible food choices based on "convenience" (how convenient is being overweight and the health issues that come with it?). We watch too much television and aren't active enough. We don't need to blame it on addiction or things beyond our control.

This is not to say that SOME people don't have medical reasons for being overweight. But a country cannot get to the point of over half of its population being overweight without some very bad habits being epidemic.

April 30, 2008 - 5:23pm
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Food Addiction

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