Infoscience

Journal article

Connecting the obesity and the narcissism epidemics

Obesity and metabolic syndromes are major threats to health in both developed and developing countries. This opinion article is a holistic attempt to understand the obesity epidemic, by connecting it to the widespread narcissism in society. The narcissism epidemic refers to an increased prevalence of status-striving individualism and a decreased sense of community, observed in Westerns populations and spreading worldwide. Based on social personality and evolutionary psychology approaches, I speculate that this rise of narcissism underlies a steep social hierarchy resulting in increase of social stress. This social stress markedly affects individuals who are sensitive to social hierarchy dominance due to their personality, yet are relegated at a lower social position. I speculate that over-eating is one major mechanism for coping with this stress, and discuss the possibility that visceral fat may constitute an adaptive behaviour to the lower social hierarchy position, which is perceived as unjust. Connecting the prevalence of obesity to the narcissism epidemic allows for a more thorough examination of factors, which contribute to obesity, which includes early difficult childhood experience, lower rank, and the overall competitive framework of the society. (C) 2016 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

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