Effects Of Overconsumption And Extreme Consumerism

1646 words - 7 pages

In recent decades, overweight population in US has risen to unprecedented levels. According to 2010 census by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 69.2% of adults age 20 and above are considered overweight or obese. This is two thirds of the population (CDC). Obesity is often linked to overconsumption. Many studies conclude that high rates of obesity in the modern society result from the behavioral model created by the food industry of eating cheapest, but most profitable foods. These foods are high in calorie count and most often are unhealthy, and, thus, are major contributors to the rising levels of overweight population (CDC). The initial management of overweight and obesity is lifestyle intervention, which is a combination of diet, exercise, and behavioral modification. The major goal of behavioral modification is to help patients make long-term changes in their eating habits by monitoring and modifying their food intake (amount and quality), as well as controlling the stimuli in the environment that trigger such eating behaviors (Bray).
Solutions must be researched and implemented before the problem of increasing rates of obesity becomes an epidemic. This research will try to convey the reader by including studies and similar methods used by the government to modify consumers’ habits through behavioral science. In order to fight obesity, overconsumption of unhealthy foods should be limited. One strategy to overcome overconsumption with the goal of reducing the risks of obesity is an implementation of high taxes on high calorie unhealthy foods such as snacks and sodas.
Price changes affect demand for various foods. According to the economic theory, consumption of a certain product falls as the price of that item rises (Mytton). Diets can be modified and improved simply by shifting food prices (Andreyeva). Increasing taxation on certain foods will result in the increase of their total cost, thus lowering the appeal of such foods, and ultimately reducing their consumption by the population. This approach can be used to target high calorie unhealthy foods and snacks (Mytton). Ultimately, higher taxation approach can reduce the overconsumption of high calorie foods by reducing their appeal to the public based on their lower prices and by forcing consumers to stray from such unhealthy food choices. Research done by Mytton and colleagues on the effects of increased prices of unhealthy foods on their consumption suggests that an increase of at least 20% of tax is needed to shift the market (Mytton). Overall, reducing the consumption of high calorie foods will reduce the risk of obesity among the population.
Evidence from the results of tobacco tax regulation further emphasizes the influence of price changes on purchasing behavior and, ultimately, public health (Andreyeva). Numerous studies from high-income countries, and a growing number from low- and middle-income countries, provide strong evidence that tobacco tax increases are...

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