Eating and Culture
Culture is an aspect that influences people’s eating habits. The articles “Food for Thought: Essays on Eating and Culture” and “Culture and Eating Disorders Classification” highlight the link between eating and culture. This paper seeks to highlight factors highlighted in the articles.
In the first article “Food for Thought: Essays on Eating and Culture” the author highlights the people’s need for sensual pleasure as pertains to food, and people’s appetites that are accompanied by a fear of abusing these appetites (Rubin, 2008). The article largely highlights the role culture plays in determining people’s behaviour and attitudes toward food. People’s culture in America is seen to promote certain eating tendencies and behaviours. With regard to this, the author highlights the assertion that America encounters a national eating disorder (Rubin, 2008).
In the article, the author shows that food in America is linked to entertainment aspects, whereby cooking television shows have become popular and eating competitions are embraced (Rubin, 2008). In essence, these things create particular images about food and eating behaviours (Rubin, 2008). In a different light, a mass sale of organic food in stores, such as Wal-Mart is evident in America ad shows another approach towards food (Rubin, 2008). To a large extent, these attributes show American’s cultural outlook on food and consumption of food.
In the second article, “Culture and Eating Disorders Classification” the author highlights the challenge that arises in the classification of eating disorders across cultures (Becker, 2007). In particular, the article shows that culture has a highly significant impact on eating habits. To this end, in one culture a certain eating behaviour may be a disorder, but it is acceptable in another culture. The author shows that culture is a factor that ought to be considered when the diagnosis of eating disorders is being carried out.
Furthermore, one of the issues the article focuses on is eating disorder as a mental illness. The author highlights that it is not uncommon for eating disorders to go undetected in medical institutions dealing with the mentally ill. The study of eating disorder as a mental illness brings to question the significance of culture (Becker, 2007). The article shows that considering a person’s culture is important in determining whether their eating behaviour is a result of mental issues or habits driven by culture. The author highlights some examples, which include eating habits among Chinese in Hong Kong and South African adolescents (Becker, 2007). In Hong Kong people qualifying to have Anorexia eating disorder did not have fat phobia, whereas South African adolescents had a preoccupation with food that qualify as a disorder, but adolescents disclosed that their preoccupation with food was due to a history of poverty and hunger (Becker, 2007).
The author highlights that there lacks sufficient guidelines for the diagnosis of eating disorders that can be used universally across all cultures. The findings of the research emphasize that eating disorder classification systems should be more flexible in a way that accommodates varying cultures (Becker, 2007). To this end, the article emphasizes that cultural beliefs and attitudes should be considered in assessing eating disorders so as to better determine whether a person has a disorder.
The analysis of the two articles shows that a link between culture and eating habits exist. A notable similarity between the articles is that eating disorders exist and require interventions that can aid in eliminating the problem. The culture of a given place is seen to have an impact on people’s eating habits, whereby it can promote or discourage eating disorders and determine behaviors that qualify as a disorder and those that don’t qualify.
Becker, A. (2007). Culture and Eating Disorders Classification. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 40(1), 111-116. doi:DOI 10.1002/eat
Rubin, L. (2008). Food for Thought: Essays on Eatig and Culture. In H. Blum, American Lightning (pp.14). US: Crown/Archetype.