New studies on obesity are finding how comparisons affect you.
A sense of "community" has always been a reliable source of comfort and security for people, particularly those who are adapting to a new environment or foreign culture. That being said, new research is shedding light on just how "deep" our ingrained need for similarity and likeness runs.
A recent study undertaken by the University of Colorado-Boulder (read more here) has shown that obese individuals are more likely to experience emotional distress if they live in areas where obesity is rare, as opposed to communities that feature a largely overweight population.
Although this information could, perhaps, be interpreted as "common sense", the implication of these findings deserves additional thought. This research could provide physicians, dieticians and nutritionists with an array of new strategies and techniques for helping to curb the obesity epidemic in the U.S.
Those "in the know" on obesity and its social ramifications have begun to extrapolate a variety of important questions from this new information. One of these being whether or not obese individuals should actively seek out communities where the majority of residents share similar body types, even though this may further heighten the severity of their condition.
In reality, there are a variety of credible and fully justifiable positions on these issues. Some argue that the depression that overweight individuals may feel as a result of living in largely "skinny" area may exacerbate their proclivity towards weight gain.
Essentially, thinner individuals may provoke a variety of negative associations that, ultimately, lead the obese individual into a more isolated psychological environment and manifest physically as increase weight gain.
Other experts have postulated that humanity's innate desire to "keep up" with their peers may prove to create a positive impact on obese individuals. This would catalyze their desire to live a healthy lifestyle and ramp up their physical activity levels. More active, healthier individuals would thus become a "role model" of sorts for those carrying excess weight.
For those are interested in slimming down, regardless of the physique of their neighbors, a variety of simple lifestyle changes can dramatically improve overall health. Dietary supplements have helped individuals from all walks of life enhance their physical health and achieve a level of energy and activity that they have not had previously.
When asked to discuss the advantages of natural supplements, Rob Miller, chief editor of the popular SupplementCritique.com, stated: "Although supplements are only one part of a larger collection of healthy living strategies, these products can ensure that individuals are taking advantage of powerful dietary resources."
Those interested in losing weight are encouraged to explore the numerous natural supplements currently available in order to find a product that works best for their needs. Over time, obese individuals using dietary supplements may find that their weight has reached a more healthy level. But like anything else, a healthy diet and exercise routine is always the best starting off point for overcoming obesity or weight challenges.
Ultimately, however, this study provides each of us with an important topic of discussion and self-reflection. Why is it that we derive so much of our emotional health from our appearance? Why do so many us instinctively enter "comparison" mode when we encounter other people?
These comparisons aren't exclusively limited to weight. Many of us worry about our economic, physical and societal status compared to our friends, relatives and neighbors. A destructive mental habit that rarely produces positive results. Although friendly competition has its perks, this type of destructive internal monologue is, by no means, healthy.