Obesity: a Sociological Epidemic

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Obesity: A Sociological Epidemic

Abstract
The sociological aspect of obesity shown through the impact of families, the government and the economy. The rapidly growing, fast-paced, technological society creates an epidemic of sorts. Families pursue the use of technology, restaurants and fast-paced eating as well as single parenting and parental denial. The government sets a significant health care cost to obesity, which prevents a solution and increases risks. A non-stable economy brings about a society filled with unemployment or multiple jobs as well as both parents working to stay above absolute or relative poverty leading to distractions from a healthy lifestyle. Obesity is a concern, not just for an individual but also for society as a whole.

Obesity: A Sociological Epidemic
Many people have researched the biological side of obesity but there is more to obesity than just the biological side, there is a sociological aspect as well. Sure, what is biological could be proven, but society has a large impact on things in our everyday lives, let alone our bodies. Obesity is a major health problem in our society. “The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released a statement that one third of all Americans, children through adults, males and females are obese.”(Big, 2010) The origination of obesity includes not only genetics but environmental factors as well. Besides being influenced by genetics, the way our society runs, impacts obesity. Family members share genes as well as culture, diet and many other aspects in life. There are many factors brought about by families, the economy and the government, that lead to obesity, such as, environmental factors related to lifestyle and cultural or socio-economic conditions and psychological factors. When examining the sociological approach to obesity you can see how the externalities help explain the increasing development of obesity in a population. Just genetics alone does not give reason for an increase in obesity that has been so dramatic over the last few years. While biological studies of obesity have been used to provide insight on why some people are obese and others are not, it is important to determine the environmental and social factors that play a key role as well. A person’s lifestyle and role as an individual is critical in the aspects of obesity. C. Wright Mill’s introduces the “sociological imagination,” Which “remains useful for examining issues in the twenty-first century because it helps integrate micro level (individual and small group) troubles with compelling public issues of our day.”(Kendall, 2008) Sociological imagination is an example of how obesity is a framework taken from individuals and expanded to society. Knowing the social factors that affect obesity, the government could help with campaigns to reduce the increasing rate of obesity in the United States. Three key social factors on that affect obesity are family, social class and the behavior of a diet. There have been many correlations between obesity in adults and their social class. People in a lower social class position are financially burdened and only buy what they can afford which is the unhealthy food, or in the case of the government they use food stamps which in most cases is also for unhealthy foods. A persons social class can have an impact on their ability to have access to healthier foods. A study showed, “They [National Weight Control Registry] report that their success in weight maintenance is due to consumption of a low-fat diet, low total energy intake, and high levels of regular physical activity” (Hill, 1998). When people have to work multiple jobs just to stay above the poverty level, chances are they cannot afford a gym member ship, therefore making it less likely that they participate in daily physical activities. “Class, however defined, has proven to be remarkably robust in elucidating the complexities of social and historical processes and in...
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