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The Effects of Gender on Child Obesity

Introduction

Child obesity has been defined as a condition where children’s wellbeing or health is affected negatively as a result of excess body fat (Cornette 2008, 140). Because the procedures of determining body fats directly have proved difficult, obesity has been based on Body Mass Index (BMI). Childhood obesity has been recognized as being a very serious public health concern due to its rising prevalence in children. This prevalence has been mostly observed in low and middle-income nations, especially in towns and cities. In addition, it is a public health concern due to its health effects; for instance, obese children have psychological problems and are vulnerable to other unhealthy conditions like high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, heart disease among other disorders. Due to these effects, this essay covers the effects of gender on obesity in various cultures.

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Analysis

In the last thirty years, the percentage of childhood obesity has tripled in the United States of America. Statistics show that in 1980, the percentage of obese children and adolescents aged between 2 to 19 years was 7.0%. By 2008, the percentage had increased to about 20%. In addition, racial and ethnic disparities have shown significant differences in obesity occurrence among American children as well as adolescents. Between 2007 and 2008, statistics show that “Hispanic boys, aged 2 to 19 years, were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white boys, and non-Hispanic black girls were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white girls” (Cdc.gov 2011, par 4). However, World Health Organization reports that women from various cultures have higher risks of being obese as compared to men. It states that “girls are more than 50 percent more likely to be obese than were boys” (World Health Organization 2000, 65). However, the percentage is higher in black people as compared to white people.

In various cultures, men and women face obesity risks differently, and that is the reason why obesity is more common in women as compared to men. The difference has been attributed to various factors. For instance, those women who were deprived nutritionally by the time they were children have higher chances of being obese. On the other hand, men who have undergone similar situations have lower risks of being obese. As a result, more African and Hispanic girls are obese because they are nutritionally deprived (Shrodes et al 2011, 24).

The perception of the ideal body also plays a major role in obesity prevalence among different genders in various cultures. 83.7% and 100% of obese girls aged 12 years and above from Anglo and Asian backgrounds respectively perceive their weight as being fat. However, this percentage is much lower among aboriginal, southern Europe, and the Middle East, which have 72.7%, 70%, and 40% respectively. As a result, most obese girls from aboriginal, southern Europe, and the Middle East perceive their weight as being right. On the other hand, the perception of the ideal body among boys does not vary much from one community to the other as compared to that of girls (World Health Organization 2000, 79).

In addition, the idea of income levels has also played a major role in differentiating obese percentages between childhood and adult obese between women and men. It has been found that women from higher socio-economic backgrounds have more to spend on food as compared to women from similar classes (Hacker 2008, 34).

Conclusion

This essay has found that gender in various cultures plays a major role in obesity prevalence. The high percentage of women’s prevalence is as a result of poor nutrition in childhood and access to greater resources in adulthood. In addition, the desire for an ideal body also plays a major role in differentiating the obese percentage between men and women from different cultures. There are cultures that encourage women to be fat than men.

Works Cited

Cdc.gov. Overweight and Obesity. 2009. Web.

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Cornette, Robert.The emotional impact of obesity on children. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 5.3(2008): 136–141.

Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Style Manual. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print.

Shrodes Caroline, Shugrue Michael, Matuschek Christian & DiPaolo Marc. Conscious Reader. London: Longman, 2011. Print.

World Health Organization. Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO consultation. Technical Report Series. 894(2000): 1-253. Print.

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