21 December 2017
In the article “Thinking Sociologically about Sources of obesity in the United States” Robert L. Peralta argues that we live in a society obsessed with thinness and it is the fault of the fat people that they are fat (200-210). Peralta claims that as medical researchers start to target obesity as a disease, they tend to place emphasis on the proximate factors of illness such as overeating instead of distal factors like the density of fast-food in a given neighborhood touched by racism and socioeconomic marginalization (200). He then continues to discuss the effects caused from the unequal distribution of resources along with the social and psychological origins of obesity (Peralta 200-210). Peralta effectively concludes his article by highlighting our understanding on social and psychological orientations and their impact on the overall approach to the public health problem obesity.
Peralta begins his writing by stating “we live in a society obsessed with thinness in which individual blame is assigned readily or that it is the fault of the fat people as to why they are fat (200). Peralta continues this thought of society’s impact on the obese population throughout the article and clearly emphasizes it by resonating it with the value and belief system of Western Culture. In other words, is the ability of the individual to control his or her personal fate and the importance of doing so (201). Marshall H. Becker, a professor of health education at the University of Michigan, addresses this issue in his article “A Medical Sociologist Looks at Health Promotion” by stating “Personal control over longevity is often substantially limited by society where we only discuss the risk factors engaging in the risk of undesirable health outcomes” (Becker, 1993). Both Becker and Peralta would certainly come to an agreement in terms of who is to blame for the increasing population of obese people. Dealing with the sociological side of things, Peralta later argues that factors such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other stressful life events of a social nature effect the factors involving a person’s relationship to others. When it comes to social conditions, Marshall Becker would also agree with Peralta on this topic from the same article by stating “Direct relationships between individual’s physical environment and socioeconomic status and their morbidity, mortality, and general health status fall within the realm of social conditions” (Becker, 1993).
In the same way Peralta successfully highlights the main reasons he believes society plays a major role in the obesity epidemic, he highlights the resource allocations and the results caused from unequal resource distribution (203-205). Obesity rates are highly affected by three major factors: the geographic availability of nutritious foods and unhealthy food options, the time,...