VuLogoPsychology Department

Health Psychology Home Page

Papers written by students providing scientific reviews of topics related to health and well being

  HomeWeight LossAlternative Therapy | Supplements | Eating Disorders | Fitness | About this Page |

Comparison between South Korea and Americaís culturesí eating styles and how they affect health.

Paul Choi

February 22nd 2011

 

 

There are 195 countries in this world. All of them are formed with cultures that have been developed over years, and each has unique quality. Especially, eating cultures are very interesting because many of them were shaped over 200 years with different styles out of same ingredients. However, some countries like the United States have developed their unhealthy eating culture while South Korea has healthy eating culture. Both countries have their positive and negative eating styles, and it is very interesting to see how much culture could affect peopleís health.

†††††††††††† As is well known, America generally has an unhealthy eating style. With the increase of the technology, people are more comfortable requiring less energy to complete things. However, they overeat with unhealthy foods like junk and fatty foods. Also, many skip meals eating in unorganized routine and drink carbonated soft drink. According to a new survey by the Institute of Food Technologists, less than 30 % of Americans cook their dinners. Moreover, even though more than half of Americans are having dinners at their places, most of them are eating junk foods from delivery or takeout. Compared to consumption of fast foods, fruits and vegetablesí consumptions are noticeably low. Bad eating habits have been integrated into Americansí life styles causing many diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases.

†††††††††††† †Top five disease causes of Americansí death were heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, and diabetes. All of them are related to problems of eating habit, especially diabetes. Here is population obesity statistics compared among countries.

 

Rank  

Countries  Description: http://tfw.cachefly.net/snm/images/nm/opacity.gif

Amount 

# 1  

United States:

30.6% 

# 2  

Mexico:

24.2% 

# 3  

United Kingdom:

23% 

# 4  

Slovakia:

22.4% 

# 5  

Greece:

21.9% 

# 6  

Australia:

21.7% 

# 7  

New Zealand:

20.9% 

# 8  

Hungary:

18.8% 

# 9  

Luxembourg:

18.4% 

# 10  

Czech Republic:

14.8% 

United States still remained first since the survey was taken. The common reason United States, Mexico, United King and all other nations place top 10 enjoys fast food as daily foods.

But by far, America is the most serious nation with the obesity problem.

†††††††††††† I would say Korean eating style is completely opposite to Americansí. There is not Description: http://c.ask.nate.com/imgs/qsi.php/6304569/0/1/A/%EA%B9%80%EC%B9%98.giftoo much frying. Many Korean foods are taken directly from a farm like spinach, radish, cabbage, soybean and so on and flavored with special Korean sauces also made from healthy ingredients like garlic and red pepper. The Description: http://blog.joins.com/usr/s/a/sansaja/22/DSC03031.JPGsetback for Korean foods is they are too salty and spicy. Kim chi, Ggadoogi, Duk bok gi, Ramen and †so on contain excessive salt and sodium. Also, another interesting fact of Korean eating ha bit is many people eat salty by eating Kim chi or spicy soups. But still, vegetable and fruit intake has been higher than most of the countries.

†††††††††††† Therefore, overall health of Koreans is not too bad. The amount of fat intake has remained one of the lowest. Also, Korea was the lowest in obesity rate with 3.2%.

# 20  

Netherlands:

10% 

†# 21  

Sweden:

9.7% 

# 22  

Denmark:

9.5% 

# 23  

France:

9.4% 

# 24  

Austria:

9.1% 

# 25  

Italy:

8.5% 

# 26  

Norway:

8.3% 

# 27  

Switzerland:

7.7% 

= 28  

Japan:

3.2% 

= 28  

Korea, South:

3.2% 

However, because Korean society is famous for drinking a lot of alcohol, it hurt the overall health of Koreans. Korea has one of the highest rates of astric adenocarcinoma. This proves even though people enjoy less fast food, drinking too much alcohol could lead to bad overall health.

Description: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQDMJJQAe51t_jH7niBwMs6q3CSpoPhcON4YlziwmKTrjLlqVXH&t=1Description: http://media.rd.com/rd/images/rdc/rdc-articles/eating-healthy-fast-food-af.jpg†††††††††††† Those results above can be explained scientifically. Compared to traditional foods, fast foods have a high energy density causing people to gain weight easily. Actually human appetite was made to adapt low energy density foods. It was not made to deal foods with high energy density like junk foods. This is the main reason why obesity has been increasing significantly in America. In hamburgers, pizzas or fried foods, there is a specific type of fat called oxidized fat which could be harmful to clogged arteries later causing heart attacks. They are also consisting of carbohydrates that are not as nutritious as traditional ones. They lack fiber, vitamins and minerals. Moreover, Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables. They have antioxidants to fight against diseases, and obviously low consumption of them will increase the risk of getting a disease.†††††

††††††††††† Even though Korean foods are mostly vegetables and fruits, most of the foods are salty and spicy. Korean people consumes 2.6 times more than World Health Organizationís recommend amount, which is 200mg. Excessive Natrium would cause our bodies to prevent pollution from leaving our bodies which will eventually cause the excessive amounts of blood leading to high blood pressure. However, since rice is good for health, it could cover natriumís negatives. Since rice has low amount of sodium, it is most known food for high blood pressure and hypertension. Eating rice is very healthy just because of the fat that it does not have, inoxidized fats or sodium that could disturb healthy diet. Rice also has a lot of vitamins, niacin, vitamin D, Calcium and so on.

Description: http://cfs8.blog.daum.net/image/33/blog/2008/10/08/07/25/48ebe1ed6c3ff&filename=%EC%83%9D%ED%83%9C%EC%B0%8C%EA%B0%9C.01.jpg†††††††††††† Eating Culture has an enormous impact to the countryís overall health. Even though people eat unhealthy foods unconsciously, they build up over time and come up as a disease in the end. There will be no healthy life without eating healthy foods. Even though Korea had healthy ingredients, the foods were cooked salty and spicy for hundred of years threatening peopleís blood pressure and other diseases. For Americans, it is important to find balance between traditional foods and modern foods by constantly reminding ourselves to eat vegetables and fruits. For Koreans, since the eating culture itself is generally salty, eating with little spice and salt are needed like having no Kim Chi or spicy soup in the morning. It is impossible for us to change in the short term. However, if government and other organizations like WHO keeps trying to advertise the healthy eating habit, then I have no doubt the overall health of two countriesí cultures will be better than ever.†

 

 

 

 

APA Citation

1.    Unhealthy eating habits of americans. (2010, July 27). Retrieved from http://www.eatinghabits.org/geographical-eating-habits/unhealthy-eating-habits-of-americans.html

2.    Voigts, C. (2006, February 25). Astonishng statistics on american eating habits. Retrieved from http://slowfood.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474976732488

3.    Yoon, Y.S. (2004, July). Alcohol consumption and the metabolic syndrome in korean adults: the 1998 korean national health and nutrition examination survey1. Retrieved from http://www.ajcn.org/content/80/1/217.abstract

4.    Wells, R. (2004, June). How to lose weight eating korean food. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/how_5649198_lose-weight-eating-korean-food.html

5.  Lee, M.J. (2006, December). The unique aspects of the nutrition transition in south korea: the retention of healthful elements in their traditional diet. Retrieved from http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=566908

 

 

VuLogo

Psychology Department

.
  

Dr. SchlundtThe Health Psychology Home Page is produced and maintained by David Schlundt, PhD

VuLogoVanderbilt Homepage

Many thanks to all the students who have contributed to these pages over the years

If you need to find the date of an article, all are dated on the home page.

Return to the Health Psychology Home Page

Send E-mail comments or questions to Dr. Schlundt