Social Class, Family, and Neighborhood: Effects on Childhood Obesity - Essay Example

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The purpose of the study is to gather information on the dietary habits and environmental characteristics of two ten-year-old boys, Jacob Ruiz, and Adam McGinnis. The author wants to prove that the environment and socio-economic status directly affect their eating attitudes and behaviors. …
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Social Class, Family, and Neighborhood: Effects on Childhood Obesity
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Social Class, Family, and Neighborhood: Effects on Childhood Obesity, a Primary Resource
The purpose of the study is to gather primary information on the dietary habits and environmental characteristics of two ten-year-old boys, Jacob Ruiz and Adam McGinnis (not their real names). I want to prove that the environment and socio-economic status of children directly affect their eating attitudes and behaviors. The process of my study is that I observed each for one day, specifically during the weekend, and then I interviewed them afterwards about their eating preferences and habits. I compared and contrasted their environmental factors and explored how these factors affected their weight. My Aunt is a nurse and she knows the mothers of these young boys. She helped me ask for parental permission to accompany their sons last weekend. Basically, I served as an observer and took down notes of where they went and what they ate and I also interviewed the children afterwards. See Appendix a for interview questions. I observed Jacob last July 13, 2013 and Adam last July 14, 2013.
I want to describe their socio-economic status and weights first. I learned that Jacob comes from a working-class family. Both parents work full-time at a nearby manufacturing plant during the morning and had part-time evening jobs. Jacob has four siblings. He is the youngest. Jacob is also obese; he weighs 58 kilos. Adam comes from a middle-class family of professionals. His mother is a nurse, while his father is a police officer. Adam has a regular weight of 33 kilos for his height of 52 inches. Finally, Adam and Jacob live in different neighborhoods that reflect their social class differences.
Observation shows that Jacob and his siblings rely on fast food for their daily nutrition needs, while Adam eats at home, where his nanny cooks food for them. In the morning, Jacob and his siblings ate bread and coffee. For lunch and dinner, they dined at McDonald’s and Burger King, respectively. They ate hamburgers and upsized French fries and soft drinks for both meals. I noticed that in their neighborhood, there are no nearby stalls that sell fruits and vegetables and no restaurants that sell healthy alternative food options. On the contrary, Adam eats at home, where his nanny prepares home-cooked food. For lunch, he ate roasted chicken and mixed vegetables, while for dinner, he ate spaghetti, steak, and fresh salad. Their residence is also near a farmer’s market stall that sells organic fruits and vegetables. For the results of the interviews, Jacob said they ate at a fast food chain at least once a day, or seven days a week. They rarely eat at home because both parents work from morning to evening. He said he preferred home-cooked meals but they seemed to be more expensive and time-consuming than just eating out at fast food outlets. He said his parents taught them to just eat fast food because it is “cheap” and “hassle-free.” Adam said that his parents do not approve of fast food at all. They rarely eat at fast food restaurants. His mother is a nurse and a vegetarian, while his father is a “health buff.” He has a nanny who cooks food at home too. Adam prefers home-cooked meals because they “taste better” and he is sure they are “clean.”
These results showed that social class, family, and neighborhood characteristics affect childhood obesity levels. I got these results because it is true that the environment shapes children’s views on food and their dietary habits. I plan to use the information to compensate for the lack of primary sources from the references I have chosen. I will also use the information to compare different environments and how these differences help explain weight differences between two children.
Works Cited
Ruiz, Jacob. Personal interview. 13 July 2013.
McGinnis, Adam. Personal interview. 14 July 2013.
Appendix A: Interview Questions
1) How often do you eat at a fast food chain each week?
2) What do you usually eat home?
3) If given a choice, would you prefer fast food or home-cooked food? Read More
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