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Child and Adult Obesity - Essay Example

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It may not be over exaggerating to call the contemporary human civilization as the laziest of all with a diet intake, which is essentially deprived off nutrients found naturally. One such outcome of this less nutritious diet is Obesity. The World Heath Organization (WHO) defines obesity as “as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health” ( The Body Mass Index (BMI) scale considers a person obese when BMI is greater than or equal to 30. This scale is applicable to all irrespective of gender or age differences. Data collected from National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) reveals that “about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese. Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese” (CDC, 2010)) and this trend has been increasing exponentially for past few years in United States. But it would be a grave mistake if we associate this problem with only high income developed countries. This growing trend has been observed over a large no of middle and low income countries mainly because of rapid industrialization and urbanization in the recent years. The following figure shows the Adult obesity percentage in various states of US: Percent of Obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) in U.S Adults Fig (1) Source: CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) It is evident from Fig (1) that in 2010 almost none of U.S states had an obesity rate of less than 20 percent. Now that we have statistically analyzed the problem of “Obesity”, this paper will redirect its approach and study the social aspects of obesity from a sociological point of view. The tools of structural functionalism, Social conflict theory and Symbolic Interactionism will be applied to critically analyze “Obesity” and the implications of various institutions of society i.e. social class, race, and gender on it. Structure Functionalism is a sociological perspective that perceives society as a whole structure, body or a living organism whose stability is solely dependent upon the proper functioning of its constituent parts or organs. The constituent parts are various institutions of the society such as family, culture, norms, and traditions. Thus, a functionalist perspective defines the role of an individual in a particular society in relation to a particular institution. Consider for example kinship as an institution in which paternal and maternal roles are defined for proper performance of this institution which in turn provides stability to the whole society. It is in this regard that child obesity is considered a social problem occurring as a result of poor performance on behalf of parents. Children adapt eating habits from their parents and thus a family that prefers a particular kind of diet may affect the health status of a child in long run. In a case study it was revealed that: “children having one parent who habitually ate foods with high total fat content were likely twice as likely to eat similar foods that were children whose parents had low total fat intakes. But when both parents consumed high fat foods, the probability of their children having high fat intakes was 3 to 6 times greater than in children whose parents had normal intakes). Childhood obesity is caused by developing dysfunctional behaviors from a society that promotes excessive food intake and discourages physical activity” (/ Other parental control mechanisms also affect the health of a child. If the ...Show more
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Child and Adult Obesity In the past few decades, the world experienced a drastic change in life style due to globalization. The tremendous development in the field of science and technology has completely altered the way humans eat, work, communicate and travel…
Child and Adult Obesity
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