Obesity Determinants and Disparities

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・4 Sources

Obesity has turned out to be something like a fatal epidemic of the current century. Even though it was regarded as an illness early in the old Greece, it has developed a lot as it is becoming more common today (Akers, 2015). While previously, the World Health Organization concerned itself more on infectious diseases and under nutrition as the primary causes of poor health, today obesity is given much more importance. In America, obesity is regarded an epidemic, and it is presumed to become one the major health issues in future. In Great Britain, two in every three individuals, are obese. According to a review by Marmot and Wilkinson, (2011), a remarkable increase in the prevalence of obesity has been noticed among adults in all social classes as from 1997, except for professional women. Hence not only medical practitioners are concerned but the entire society led by social activists, scholars, and governors who are currently treating obesity as a major disturbing public health problem that requires urgent attention. The effects of obesity are not only felt by patients alone but everyone around them including employers, family and the society in general.

Behavioral and Social Determinants of Obesity

Obesity is caused by many social and behavioral factors which may be correlated or interact with each other (Akers, 2015). The social determinants relate to beliefs, institutions and religious practices, social inequality, race relations, government, power relations, health services, economical process, labor market, industrial structure and many others.
One of the social determinants that are strongly associated with obesity is Exposure to Toxic Environment. According to Marmot and Wilkinson, (2011),”toxic environment” means the extensive series of economic and social transformations that have happened in America and other regions in the recent decades. It is reported that these changes have led to an increase in the prevalence of obesity. These changes include the promotion of employment of labor-saving tools to minimize physical activity, the availability of energy-dense diets in schools, the spread of fast food stores, the increased sizes of portions and the excessive-sizing of commercially accessible foods.
Another social determinant of obesity is socioeconomic status. Some studies have reported an inverse connection between obesity and SES in recent years.IT was discovered that the lower the SES, the, higher the risk of developing obesity, especially among African American people. Notably, studies revealed an inverse connection between professional position and obesity among women and men (Bellisari, 2013).
Refined behavioral characteristic is also believed to be strong determinants of obesity (Marmot et al, 2010). Some behavior types in food consumption result in a disruption in the balance between energy consumed and energy released. One behavioral factor that is strongly related to obesity is dependence on fast food. Increases consumption of food from fast food restaurants is believed to increase the chance of becoming obese. Higher frequency of consuming of food such soft drinks, French fries, and, hamburgers lead to higher intake of energy

Disparities associated with Obesity

Disparities in Obesity across different populations are more than mere differences in health. Some groups or people experience obesity more adversely than others. Hence, is a requisite condition to form a disparity (Marmot et al, 2010). There are several variations associated with obesity in America and across the world.
One of the major disparities is the socioeconomic gap. Youth and childhood obesity constitutes considerably to the public health issues in the US. Current findings revealing that the epidemic of childhood obesity has subsidized may have been warmly welcomed by traditional media and health professionals. Nonetheless, it is reported that the general pattern of obesity rates among young people hides a considerable and growing class disparity between young people from backgrounds of lower and upper socioeconomic status. From the recent past obesity rates have been declining among youth from the high level but the increase is among young people from lower SES (Bellisari, 2013).
The second disparity associated with obesity is demographics. While obesity rates are increasing across all demographics, some groups of demographics are impacted more than others. The race is the biggest disparity with Asian people being less likely to become obese. Hispanics and Black-Americans are more liable to weight heavier than the Whites.
The third culture is said to cause disparities in young people in many ways. The development of body image happens in the context of culture (Marmot et al, 2010).. Ethnic groups have divergent views of body image. For instance, the, preferred body size for women in African American culture is considerably big unlike for women in the White culture. Also, African-American men prefer a larger body size for their wives, unlike their Hispanic counterparts

The Relationship Between Obesity Determinants and the Disparities Identified

The Behavioral and social determinants of obesity identified above are closely related to the disparities discussed. Exposure to a toxic environment is dependent on the socioeconomic status of an individual. A vast group of epidemiology data indicates that a socioeconomic gradient determines the quality of diet. Persons in the lower SES find it easier to access the energy-dense foods and fast food stores due to their lower prices and convenience as compared to a more nutritious diet which may cost more (Bellisari, 201)
In regards to culture and behavioral factors, eating traits emerge in the initial years of behavioral and biological processes projected towards fulfilling needs for growth and health. For the significant majority of history in humans, scarcity in food has become a critical threat to survival. Child feeding practices and human eating behavior have changed to correspond with this menace. Since children are born out of divergent cuisines and cultures, they grow up trained as young omnivorous will behavioral predispositions that enable them to accept any food available to them readily.


Akers, C. (2015). Obesity. San Diego: Lucent Books.
Bellisari, A. (2013). The obesity epidemic in North America. Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press.
Marmot, M., & Wilkinson, R. (2011). Social determinants of health. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Marmot, M., Marmot, M., Siegrist, J., & Siegrist, J. (2010). Social inequalities in health. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press.

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