The Center for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) points out obesity in the United States as a
national health problem being the second leading cause of mortality after
smoking. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2011 and the CDC in 2012,
over 34% of adults in America aged between 20 and 74 are obese and more than
63% are overweight (including those who are classified as obese). The rates of
being obese or overweight are not evenly distributed and vary according to
gender, race, and ethnicity. Black Americans lead by having 72% of adults with
obesity followed closely by American Indians with a 70% margin. Hispanics come
third with 69%, whites follow with 62% and lastly Asian/Pacific Islanders close
the statistics with 41% of overweight or obese adults. The rate of obesity in
American children has intensified and become twice what it was in the late
1970s. Children who are much bigger than their peers at times experience
rejection and social ostracism. Besides this, they may suffer serious health effects
as a result of being obese.
America considers obesity as
an epidemic affecting millions of its citizens. Being obese or overweight is
not much of a cosmetic problem but a life-threatening condition that puts one
at a greater risk of acquiring serious health concerns. Some of the typical
health complications in children, teen and adults that are related to obesity
include; High blood pressure, Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), Abnormal blood
fats, Type 2 Diabetes, Stroke, Sleep Apnea, Cancer, Gallstones, Metabolic
syndrome, Osteoarthritis, Reproductive problems and, Obesity Hypoventilation
There are dozens of factors
that contribute to obesity among children and adults in American communities.
These factors include; environmental, biological, social or economic factors.
Obesity is not exclusively as a result of overconsumption of food as many would
presume but factors including lack of access to recreational spaces and the
high cost of healthy meals also play a significant role in understanding why
millions of Americans, particularly the poor struggle with obesity. The
problems of malnutrition and hunger might bring into the picture the scenes of
starvation in developing countries manifested by emaciated people but in the
United States, poor access to nutritious foods is more likely to be manifested
by obesity. This explains why some of America’s poorest states have the highest
obesity rates. According to CDC, 33.4% of adults in Louisiana are obese,
Mississippi 34.9% while in Kentucky, obese or overweight adults make up 30.4%
of the population. Individual factors like genes, appetite, bone structure and
personal choices have a minor influence on obesity while it’s widely attributed
to socioeconomic conditions and the social environment since the poor are more
likely to consume less nutritious food as it’s cheaper to afford.
When we look at the issue
from a sociological perspective, we consider the relationship between personal
trouble and the public issue of overweight and obesity. This means if one
individual or a handful in a community are overweight or obese that may be a
personal trouble that results from illnesses, eating habits, genetics or any
other factor. However, when more than a third of the American population is
obese with some communities forming the majority, it becomes a public issue
that might not be explained by focusing on individual cases but rather develops
need to seek out its sociological roots.
Despite the threat,
preventative measures can be taken to combat obesity and the diseases that come
along with it. First, It’s crucial to exercise eating a nutritious diet and
keep away from junk and fast foods. The healthy traditional meals can
substitute the expensive ones that the poor cannot afford. Also, living a
healthy lifestyle by regularly exercising will keep you away from the doctor
and ensure your immune system is strong, and your body is admirable as well as
N., Jiménez-Aguilar, A., Morales-Ruan, M., Hernández-Ávila, M., Shamah-Levy,
T., & Rivera-Dommarco, J. (2017). Consumption of foods and
beverages in elementary schools: Results of the implementation of the general
guidelines for foods and beverages sales in elementary schools in Mexico,
stages II and III. elsevier. Retrieved 7 March 2018, from
Obesity in children is a
matter of great concern in Latin America among other areas in the world. One of
the most effective yet less costly solutions suggested by World Health
Organization (WHO) was for the communities to practice healthy eating habits
and physical activities in family and school settings. For this reason,
stakeholders in Mexico including the Mexican government has taken action to
address the issue. The Mexican government came up with general guidelines for
distributing foods and beverages in elementary schools. Research was then
conducted with an aim to assess the consumption of food during school hours in
565 elementary school students. The study design involved a cross-sectional
descriptive study having national representatives. It also had a sophisticated
design involving a two-stage process by clusters. Data collection methodology
involved the use of direct observation. The results indicated that there are
significant differences in energy intake according to the origin of food in
both stages (II and III). Food origins considered were; food purchased at
school, food brought from home, and both. The school category was discovered to
have the lowest macronutrients and energy yet complied with guideline
recommendations while the category of both had higher consumption and less
adherence to guidelines recommendations. The study suggests that there’s need
for periodic evaluations to assess fulfillment with the guidelines. Few
methodological limitations to the study affect the interpretation of results.
M., Goldman, N., Pebley, A., & Chung, C. (2012). Durational and
generational differences in Mexican immigrant obesity: Is acculturation the
explanation?. Social Science And Medicine, 300-310.
Latino immigrants in
the United States are said to be just as healthy as non-Hispanic whites or even
better. However, the longer they stay in the United States, the poorer their
health and that of the next generation becomes due to changes in behaviors
including; substance abuse, nutrition, smoking, and exercise. A longer duration
is also associated with obesity among other health concerns. The study involved
the use of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey to look into the
relationship between Mexican immigrant acculturation, exercise, obesity, and
diet. Generations of immigrants, i.e., 2nd and 3rd generation as well as
blacks, Mexicans, and whites are also considered. A multilevel random-intercept
logistic model was deployed when conducting this study. Results indicate that
linguistic acculturation for Hispanics increases monotonically across
generations compared to new arrivals. Also, 3rd generation whites and Mexicans
are not different when socioeconomic status is held constant. 2nd and 3rd
generation Mexicans are more likely to have ethnically diverse friends than
recent immigrants. Also, 3rd generation whites as well as 2nd and 3rd
generation Mexicans engage in vigorous leisure-time exercise compared to
previous immigrants. The conclusion is that the process of acculturation, away
from traditional healthy habits may not necessarily explain variations in
obesity by duration.
R., Cole, S., Blake, C., McKenney-Shubert, S., & Peterson, K. (2016). Eat,
play, view, sleep: Exploring Mexican American mothers' perceptions of decision
making for four behaviors associated with childhood obesity risk. www.elsevier.com/locate/appet.
Retrieved 7 March 2018, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.02.158
Obesity and overweight is an
issue of major concern among Mexican American children between the age of 2 and
5. The high rates indicate an ethnic disparity between non-Latino Whites and
Mexican Americans that exist throughout their lifetime. The study was aimed at
understanding who makes decisions including sleeping, eating, screen time, and
outdoor play behaviors of preschool Mexican American children. The methodology
involved interviewing forty Mexican American mothers with children between ages
3 and 4 years. The results indicated that participants deemed themselves as the
decision makers for all the behaviors except for food decisions that had to be
made in collaboration with the child and television decisions which were
influenced by fathers. The study concludes that mothers may be the best
audience for obesity prevention campaigns for preschool-aged Mexican American
children. There is also need for health agencies to heighten awareness to
Mexican American mothers over control of their children’s behavior.
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