Childhood Obesity

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“Obesity has become one of the major public health issues in the Western World” (Scholder 2008: 889). Due to its large quantity of mass media coverage and attention, the rise in obesity, especially the rates among children, is now considered a social problem. Childhood obesity tends to lead to adult obesity and has a negative impact on other areas of adult life including lack of self-esteem and confidence and the risk of heart disease and type II diabetes (Scholder 2008). In the last few decades there has been a greater focus on the societal conditions that may be contributing to this rise in obesity and it is also imperative that we recognize the role that social forces play in our attempt to understand this rise in obesity (Weimer-Jehle, Deuschle and Rehaag 2011). Since the 1970’s the percentage of overweight or obese children in America has more than doubled and is predicted to continue increasing (Crothers, Kehle, Bray, and Theodore 2009). Simultaneously, the number of women but more importantly the number of mothers in the workforce has also increased (Hawkins, Cole, Law, and Group 2008). This social force of more women having or being expected to work is suggested to be partially responsible for the rise in obesity (Hawkins et al. 2008). The employment of mothers leads to hours of absence and affects both the dietary and the physical habits of their children (Watanabe, Lee, and Kawakubo 2011). There are two main reasons why: (1) working mothers have less time and energy, and (2) their children are left at home or at daycare with little to no supervision.
First, working mothers spend less time at home. This means that the time they do spend at home is devoted to necessary household chores and leisure or family activities ...

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...findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study.” International Journal of Obesity 32:30- 38.
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Scholder, Stephanie Von Hinke Kessler. 2008. “Maternal Employment and Overweight Children: Does Timing Matter?” Health Economics 17:889-06
Watanabe, E, JS Lee, and K Kawakubo. 2011. “Associations of maternal employment and three-generation families with pre-school children’s overweight and obesity in Japan.” International Journal of Obesity 35:945-52.
Weimer-Jehle, Wolfgang, Jurgen Deuschle, and Regine Rehaag. 2011. “Familial and societal causes of juvenile obesity- a qualitative model on obesity development and prevention in socially disadvantaged children and adolescents.” J Public Health 20:111-24.

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