A Critique Of Robert L. Peralta’s “Thinking Sociologically About The Sources Of Obesity In The United States”

988 words - 4 pages

Drawing from a number of bases, author Robert Peralta assembles the underpinnings to the insinuation against that of the individual determination of fate, with special emphasis on the obesity epidemic. Assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Akron and with a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of New Mexico, Peralta wields his insight in order to better allocate the true origins of the near exponential growth in body size throughout the years ("Member Profile…” np). In his opus “Thinking Sociologically about Sources of Obesity in the United States,” Peralta effectively perpetuates the mantra of societal responsibility and of demographic divergences as a filter for sources of obesity.
In a manner of speaking, the only fashion by which the rise of obesity may be stifled is not by saving society from the insatiable individual, but by saving the individual from an insatiable society. Such is the assertion held by the Peralta. Beginning upon the basic affirmation that a more “holistic” understanding of obesity is required to further its end, Peralta insists upon a greater sociological approach (Peralta 330). According to Peralta, mere medical postulation fails to elaborate upon the most striking of differentiations within the overweight and obese populations; rather, it is the existence of certain social patterns that leads to such disparity (Peralta 335). Those unable to ascertain vital resources to aid in healthy living, whether they be education or knowledge, generally weigh more than those who are so able (Peralta 332). According to the author, more than mere socioeconomic status (SES) determines one’s weight, but dynamics such as gender and race exist along its side; however, in spite of said distinctions, Peralta continues upon his primary contention, being that societal change need exist juxtaposed to that of health alterations (Peralta 337).
Clearly, the individualistic western society has taken a toll upon the populace, in such a way as to render certain members of the social order helpless in matters of health and wellbeing (Peralta 329). A degree in sociology is not required to note significant health differences amongst the various SES’s of the population. According to information from the CDC in conjunction with per capita income by state and county, the wealthiest counties within the wealthiest of states, generally, held the lowest population of obese individuals ("Obesity and Overweight…”np) ("State and County…”np). Such information proves only to refute Peralta’s claims that an unequal allocation of resources perpetuates and unequal society. Commensurate to the given socioeconomic status of certain groups are the variances within racial and gender based identities. For instance, according to statistics offered by Peralta, the educated, wealthy, white woman will weigh substantially less than the average African American woman (Peralta 334-335). This can be attributed to the variances in aesthetic ideal within the...

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