Obesity as a social problem in my community
There are a number of social issues affecting most communities in the United States today. A social issue can be regarded as a problem that has an impact on an individual or the society. One of the social problems in America today is obesity. Obesity is the condition in which a person becomes grossly overweight (fat). It is important to keep an eye on obesity since it has a great deal of consequences that affect us individually and the community at large. Statistics shows that approximately 34.9% (78 million) of adults in America are obese while 17% (12.7 million) of the children are obese (Cynthia et al., 2014). These figures show that obesity is a rising and common issue in our communities today.
The statistics also indicated that the majority of those who were affected were from the middle and the upper class. This is because; these classes have a huge purchasing power to buy foods that cause obesity. In our community, obese has continued to dominate as one of the most common problems and its consequences are utterly felt by the victim’s loved ones since our population is mainly comprised of rich folks who can feed themselves several times a day.
Cause of obesity
According to Dawes (2014), obesity can be caused by factors that can be subdivided into four major categories. These categories include behavioral factors, genetic factors, diseases and drugs and the community environment.
Certain behavioral factors can lead to obesity of an individual. Research has indicated that these behaviors are the common causes of obesity in adults as well as children and are discussed as follows.
Dietary patterns – Poor eating habits are one of the major causes of diabetes. For instance, most children in America today prefer chocolates and hot dogs as their meals and these foods contain a lot of sugars and carbohydrates. They are prone to hunger within a short period and they will tend to eat the same food over and over again. When these sugars accumulate into the body, they are converted to glycogen that is fat and stored under that skin. This eventually leads to children who are obese at their tender ages. On the other hand, adults in America are always busy in their jobs looking for money to cater for the bills and to sustain their families.
As a result, they hardly have time to cook healthy meals. Thus, they prefer stepping into fast food restaurant and grab quick meals that are mostly burgers. Burgers are made up of beef that are proteins. Large intake of proteins leads to the growth of the body since proteins are bodybuilding. However, since adults are passed their growing period, they tend to grow fat when they take in many proteins. This leads to a community of obese adult like in the case of my community.
Inactivity – the lack of activity and exercising is also another contributing factor in our communities today. Children these days do not play physical games but instead, venture into video games with are not physical (Dawes, 2014). Adults work hard in their jobs and buy cars used for traveling and hence do not walk to work. Their jobs have a tight schedule making them not to find time to go to the gymnastics and try out some exercises to keep their bodies fit. These trends of inactivity in individuals in the society create a new generation of obese people and their numbers are tremendously increasing day by day. In our community, for instance, children are often playing video games and not physical games such as rope skipping as if it was in the older days. Due to the improvement of roads, most adults in our community own their own cars that they use to drive themselves to work and their children to school. As a result, most children and adults in my community are obese. Approximately two members in every family in my community are overweight.
Apart from behavioral factors, some genetic factors may cause obesity. Gene changes may take a long time to change but despite this, people react differently to hunger perseverance and food intake. In other words, a parent may be able to withstand hunger for a longer time but his offspring may not be able to withstand hunger in the same degree. Thus, the offspring may take in more food than the parent resulting in obesity. In addition, research has shown that obesity has some connection with the family’s history meaning that in the family’s pedigree, there is someone who must has had it before. In my community, for instance, some of the children who are obese resemble either their parents or their grandparents.
Diseases and drugs
There are diseases that tend to increase the weight of the patient. Examples of the diseases include the polycystic ovary syndrome and the Cushing’s disease. To add on, drugs such as steroids have been found out to contribute to obesity to the users. Some antidepressants too are also a key contributor to the obese condition.
The community can also be considered as a balancing factor when it comes to obesity and its effects. For instance, a person brought up in a community with poor road infrastructure such as the lack of sidewalks may decide to drive his car to the market instead of walking. This means that this person will be a very inactive person but not because of his wish but because of the circumstance surrounding his community. These are a number of the factors that contribute to the obese condition in an individual.
In my community, there are some factors that have encouraged the obesity. For example, there are no sidewalks in some parts of the roads making a lot of people rely on cars as a mode of transport. Also, there are no enough fields that can accommodate children as playgrounds thus many children prefer to stay indoors and play video games. Following to that, nearly half of the children in my community are obese.
However, their different classes are affected differently by obesity. The rich class is affected more because of their extra money to dispose of in which they use to buy unhealthy meals. The middle class has less money compared to the rich class hence, they spend less on unhealthy foods. This is to say that, very rich individuals are likely to be more overweight while the slightly rich individuals are less obese. In the poor class, very few individuals are likely to be obese since they have no money to spend on junky foods (Finkelstein, 2013). These individuals also have more time working on difficult jobs that require a lot of energy and hence become more or less an exercise to them. These people are not likely to become obese by their lifestyles.
Consequences of obesity
The impacts of obesity can be subdivided into two groups. Obesity can have an impact on the health of the victims of the society. It can also have an impact on the socioeconomic status of the victims.
Some of the health consequences of obesity include; type two diabetes, body pain, stroke, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease, breathing problems and high blood pressure (Finkelstein, 2013). Obese patients are at higher risks of getting sick compared to other people with normal weight. In my community, many of my friends including myself have lost our relatives due to obesity-related diseases.
Socioeconomic effects of obesity
Obesity patients often feel very uncomfortable when they interact with normal weight people. They see themselves as of low value because of their overweight. This has lead to many over-weight victims portraying low self-esteem especially in the public context (Wexler, 2005). In the economic sector, obesity has shown to have negative and positive impacts on the economy. The positive impact is because of the medical expenses as a result of obesity treatment directly and also indirectly as a result of premature mortality and disability. According to Cynthia et al. (2014), in 2008, more than 147 billion dollars were spent on medication for patients with obesity problems. On the hand, obesity has an undesired effect on the economy of America. This is because, due to obesity, either obese victims are late to work or more absenteeism due to the complications associated with being overweight. This has shown to have reduced the productivity of obesity patients.
My Intervention/prevention program
In my case, I would create awareness in my community about the causes and effects of obesity in individuals. I would mostly direct my campaign to the middle and upper classes of my community so that they get the message that “Obesity is real”. My campaign would start on the social media platform and extend it to the advertisement on the local television networks in my community. I would also create workshops and seminars where I would volunteer to teach and emphasize on the effects of obesity so that the members of my community would be unity in the fight against obesity that is killing children and adult every day.
I would use three concepts to make sure that my message reaches the intended group that is the middle and the upper class. My concepts would be as follows.
Social media campaign
I would create a page, a group on Facebook titled “Stop Obesity” in the US, and I would invite all of my friends and neighbors to like the page and pass the message to their friends and neighbors. This way, I would reach a larger crowd at a time. I would also create profiles on other popular social networks such as Twitter and Instagram with the same name to make sure I reach the whole crowd precisely. The second step would be to team up with my friends and create a super team of administrators who would be able to find quality and useful information to post on the pages so as be able to pass efficiently out information related to obesity. Finally, I would research and analyze information that I as an administrator of the pages and groups would be posting. The information that I would be researching on would be on topics like; how to live a healthy life, how to eat unhealthy foods once in a while and still live healthy, common causes of obesity, how to lose easily weight if you are obesity and many more. Apart from providing this useful information, I would also be encouraging and motivating obese patients so that they do not lose hope in life.
Radio and television campaign
The second concept of my preventive program would be to come up with a fund-raising program to raise money for the advertisement of the effects of obesity both on the radio and television. The funds will also help me in looking for experts to come up with creative and fascinating advertisements that will be appealing to the viewers and listeners in such a way that they would get the message of the effects of obesity. I would also come up with interactive programs that would help the viewers and listeners interact with the presenters where the audience will be able to ask questions and clarification where they would want one. These programs would help the members of my community to be more aware of obesity including how they would prevent it.
Workshops and seminars
Finally, with the assistance of my family and friends, I would come up with a workshop where I would invite people of all ages to come and get information on how to prevent themselves from getting overweight and how to live a healthy lifestyle. The workshops will be free of charge so that it would encourage people to come and attend to them. To add on, I would also create seminars where I would invite great medical doctors to come and speak to people of my community and emphasize on the effects of being obese. On top of that, I would also invite different celebrities to the workshops and seminars so that I would attract a larger audience. These workshops and seminars we ensure that the information on obesity is well received and understood by the audience who will be encouraged to go and spread the information about obesity to the rest of the community members who were not able to make it to the workshops and seminars.
According to the statistics provided above, it can be shown that obesity is a real social problem and has very severe consequences for an individual and the community. The health complications arising from it such as coronary heart disease can eventually lead to the death of the patient. In addition, absenteeism of obesity patients has a negative effect to the overall GDP of the country. The medical bills associated with the treatment of obesity have a positive impact on growing the economy. As discussed above, obesity is caused by numerous reasons some of which are genetic while others are behavior-related.
In my community, since it mostly made up of the middle and upper class, I would use the three concept preventive program that would help spread the message about the causes and harmful effects of obesity. The social media, the radio and television campaign as well as the workshops and seminars that are part of my preventive/intervening program we would be able to reach my community members efficiently for the benefit of obesity eradication in my community. Thus, it can be concluded that obesity is a social problem in my community but also it can be fought against using the program designed above.
Cynthia, L., Margaret, D., Brian, K., Katherine, M., (2014) “Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012” Journal of the American medical assosiaction, vol 311, pg 40-44. Retrieved at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832542 on Dec 14. 2015
Dawes, L. (2014). Childhood obesity in America: Biography of an epidemic.
Finkelstein, E. A., & Zuckerman, L. (2013). The fattening of america: How the economy makes us fat, if it matters, and what to do about it. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley
Wexler, B., Information Plus (Firm : Wylie, Tex.), & Gale Group. (2005). Weight in America: Obesity, eating disorders, and other health risks. Detroit: Thomson Gale.