Why We Need To Stop Treating Overeating As A Personal Failure

America has a problem.

As the latest data released last week by the Centers For Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics confirmed, far too many of us are overweight. The number of obese Americans is actually rising at a rate not seen in over a decade, putting them at increased risk of a number of serious health issues including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

One culprit behind the obesity surge is overeating, an issue that Kima Cargill, a professor in clinical psychology at the University of Washington-Tacoma, believes is often misunderstood, especially at a time where stigmatization of overweight individuals has been shown to lead to more overeating.

In a new book, The Psychology of Overeating: Food and the Culture of Consumerism, Cargill relies on a wide spectrum of empirical research and her own work with clients to argue that overeating should not be seen as a sign of an individual’s lack of willpower but, instead, as part of a much larger conversation on how food is aggressively and dishonestly marketed to consumers.

Cargill recently spoke with The Huffington Post about what she feels is behind America’s overeating problem — and how we fix it.

Why was it so important to you to take this approach, focusing on how consumerism impacts overeating?

One of the themes that has run through my career is just that consumer culture undermines our wellbeing in so many ways, and two big guilty parties of that are the food industry and pharmaceutical industry. They have so much impact on our wellbeing when they’re supposed to be helping our wellbeing, ostensibly. I really think that story needs to be told.

I sense a struggle between viewing consumers as victims of this sort of marketing being used against them while —> Read More