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Ethnicity: Major Factor of Obesity. Childhood obesity - Book Report/Review Example

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Childhood obesity is one of the major health problems that the world is facing today. Worldwide, the number of children who are classified as overweight or obese is about 110 million…
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Ethni Major Factor of Obesity of the of the Introduction Childhood obesity is one of the major health problems that the world is facing today. Worldwide, the number of children who are classified as overweight or obese is about 110 million (Caprio, Daniels, Drewnowski, Kaufman, Palinkas, Rosenbloom, Schwimmer, 2008, p.2211). Even in developed and medically advanced country like the United States, childhood obesity has become a major threat to the health of people. In last thirty years, obesity among children and adolescents in the United States has increased to a great extent (Caprio et al., 2008, p.2211). The intensity of the situation has created wave of urgency in the medical and social fields. Obesity related studies have revealed that development of obesity in children is not just related to the biological aspects of a child but is also related the social and environmental factors. Hence, many research studies in field of sociology are aimed at understanding the role of social factors in development of obesity. Interestingly, one of the social factors that have been found to be related to development of obesity among children is ‘ethnicity.’ This paper aims at understanding the role of ethnicity in development of obesity. For the purpose of studying the relation between obesity and ethnicity, the information given in two works, i.e. the book called “Child and adolescent obesity: Causes and consequences, prevention and management,” and the journal article titled “Influence of race, ethnicity, and culture on childhood obesity: Implications for prevention and treatment,” will be compared and discussed. Both, the book and the article, confirm that ethnicity is one of the main factors of obesity and hence, ethnic influence, and the lifestyle and thinking patterns related to specific ethnic backgrounds need to be modified if the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents is to be reduced. Ethnicity and Obesity Obesity in children is defined as “a BMI (Body Mass Index) at or above the 95th percentile for age and sex” (Caprio et al., 2008, p.2211). It can be said that the weight that presents significant risks for adverse health outcomes is known as obesity or overweight (Caprio et al., 2008, p.2211). Due to the various threats that obesity in children pose to the health and well-being of children, there has been major efforts to understand the factors that lead to obesity. Research studies have identified ‘ethnicity’ as one of the major social factors that cause obesity in children. Hence, it is important to modify those aspects of ethnicity that are responsible for development of obesity in children. However, to decrease the effects of ethnicity related factors, what is important is to understand what ‘ethnicity’ really means. Ethnicity of a person is represented by the cultural characteristic like “shared language, ancestry, religious traditions, dietary preferences, and history.” (Caprio et al., 2008, p.2211). It is important to mention here that ‘dietary preferences,’ which is related to weight of a person, is also considered as a part of ethnicity. This shows that thinking patterns regarding weight of a person, and eating behavior in people, differ according to their ethnic backgrounds. Hence, ethnicity plays an important role in development of obesity in children. The relation of obesity and ethnicity has been studied and discussed in the book “Child and adolescent obesity: Causes and consequences, prevention and management,” and the journal article “Influence of race, ethnicity, and culture on childhood obesity: Implications for prevention and treatment.” With the help of research studies, both the sources inform the readers about how ethnicity affects the health of a person. In the book, the authors have discussed the study conducted in North America, which shows how immigration affects the obesity in children, and how children from certain racial background are more prone to become obese than children from other racial background (Burniat, Cole, Lissau, I. & Poskitt, 2002, p. 41). The book has mentioned that “obesity is more common in blacks and Hispanics compared to whites” (Burniat, Cole, Lissau, I. & Poskitt, 2002, p. 41). The same fact has been confirmed in the journal article also. For example, the article says that “the prevalence of childhood obesity among African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans exceeds that of other ethnic groups” (Caprio et al., 2008, p.2212). However, the data and the research studies that the authors of book and the article have referred to are different. For example, the book has referred to ‘The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health,’ which shows “significant increases in obesity amongst second and third generation of US immigrants” as the “obesity rates were 24.2% amongst White non-Hispanics, 30.9% amongst Black non-Hispanics and 20.6% amongst Asian Americans” (Burniat, Cole, Lissau, I. & Poskitt, 2002, p. 42). On the other hand, the article has referred to the study by ‘The Centers for Disease Control’ conducted in 2000, which found that the “prevalence of obesity was 19% of non-Hispanic Black children and 20% of Mexican American children, compared with 11% of non-Hispanic White children” (Caprio et al., 2008, p.2212). Hence, even though the research studies that the sources have referred to are different, the data showing the effects of ethnic background on obesity is similar. Conclusion From the discussion above, it is clear that ethnic background is a strong factor in development of obesity in children. The two sources that were referred to, i.e. the book called “Child and adolescent obesity: Causes and consequences, prevention and management,” and the journal article titled “Influence of race, ethnicity, and culture on childhood obesity: Implications for prevention and treatment,” have confirmed the relation between ethnicity and obesity through similar findings gathered from different research studies. References Burniat, W., Cole, T., Lissau, I. & Poskitt, E. (2002). Child and adolescent obesity: Causes and consequences, prevention and management. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. Caprio, S., Daniels, S.R., Drewnowski, A., Kaufman, F.R. Palinkas, L.A., Rosenbloom, A.L., …Schwimmer, J.B. (2008). Influence of race, ethnicity, and culture on childhood obesity: Implications for prevention and treatment. Diabetes Care, 31(11), 2211-2221. Read More
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