Obesity: Psychological/ Sociological

Obesity is a psychological issue as well as a social one. Both “psychological and behavioral issues play significant roles in both the development and consequences of obesity” (Collins and Bentz 126).

Obesity is caused by eating disorders triggered by psychosocial, genetically and environmental parameters. Obesity is mainly associated with those people who suffer from psychological conditions, such as anxiety, depression as well as eating disorders.

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This is because such people have a problem of regulating the amount of food taken as well as maintaining a healthy weight. It has been noted that food is taken as a coping strategy for those who suffer from obesity. The sociological factors associated with obesity make obese individuals have perpetual cycle of mood distress, overeating as well as weight gain.

This makes those people get distressed and depressed. Obese people get their comforts from food that make them feel better as a result of the reduced stress of their mood and an obese condition that may trigger a dysphonic mood because of their inability to control their stress.

This pattern is mainly applicable to the individuals who are genetically predisposed to obesity or live in environments where calorically rich foods are easily available while physical activities of the people living there are very minimal (Collins and Bentz 124). Sociological as well as psychological factors have great influence on the development as well as management of obesity.

Apart from social, psychological and environmental factors, other causes of obesity include frequent snacking on high calories foods, overeating, etc. Moreover, obesity can result from an unusual characteristic of eating behavior that entails episodes of eating during discrete periods, as well as eating large quantities of food that are not in accordance to the amount many people would consume at the same given time in stances.

This is a factor that indicates a tendency of lack of eating control as well as failure to control the distress that follows such periods. Almost 2% of the general population and around 10-25% of the bariatric population are said to suffer from this condition (Collins and Bentz 34).

Night eating is a condition that is known to greatly result in a significant weight gain. This issue is characterized with excessive night eating behavior that entails consumption of approximately over 35% of our daily calories after the evening meal. This condition has recently been linked with the lack of appetite during the day and an increase in the appetite and overeating during the night (Stunkard, Grace, and H.G. Wolff 6).

Social issues are also key attributes of obesity incidents. Many researches on obesity give positive correlations between obesity versus social and economical conditions.

They show that most people, who are obese, mainly live in poverty, and are less educated, less likely to marry or date as well as less likely to earn as much salary as those people who are not obese. A recent study on obesity indicated obesity as an antecedent to adverse economical as well as social outcomes.

The effects of obesity are social as well as psychological. Overweight people are concerned with their weight and become self-conscious of their weight and think that people may make fun of them.

The western culture mainly associates thinness with beauty. Because of this perception, many women as well as girls in Europe and the U.S.A. try to have slim bodies. The perception that associates thinness with beauty as well as the tendency of most celebs in these regions to be thin influences women in these countries and other areas to follow this way of thinking.

This paradigm makes many women do their best to stay slim. Thus, those women who are overweight suffer from the idea that they are less beautiful, and this greatly affects their social interactions. Some of social problems they exhibit include low self-esteem, discrimination as well as avoiding social gatherings.

The reasons why obese people suffer from low self-esteem is because some individuals may make fun of their obese conditions; such jokes may injure their feelings and psychological health which can result in a negative impact on their self-esteem.

There are many people who associate obesity with laziness and gluttonous. This attitude makes some obese people suffer from low self-esteem as well and avoid publicity as a result. Many obese people are known to do their best to manage their conditions. Most of them try to manage their obesity by controlling their dieting behavior as well as by exercising a lot.

Therefore, the wrong perception that obese people are lazy and gluttonous can make these people withdraw and shun social gatherings and assume solitary lifestyles that are detrimental to their social life.

Moreover, such negative attitudes towards obese humans may force them to engage in unhealthy habits, such as anorexia or bulimia, which include avoiding eating or vomiting the food in order to loose weight.

This can result in detrimental health issues which will in turn worsen their social lives. Those girls who suffer from obesity are often characterized with low performances in schools because of the social stigma that is associated with the obese condition.

These girls tend to have a problem in establishing healthy relationships with their learning peers, and because of being discriminated by their learning mates, they are isolated from society which makes them suffer from low self-esteem which affects their school performance negatively (Obesity Working Group).

People who suffer from obesity experience psychological problems. For instance, the children with such condition can be mean and bully. It is also observed that those kids who are teased about their overweight status tend to have low self-esteem, poor body image and symptoms of depression.

It is universally accepted that all people aspire to have friends, Unfortunately, most of the obese children often find themselves lonely as well as isolated. This makes these children suffer from depressions and use food as their means of comfort.

In addition, the isolation they encounter in their day-to-day-activities make such children less active because they do not have friends to play with. This is the notion that makes obese kids be regarded as lazy. Moreover, teenagers who suffer from obesity are highly affected by their obese status.

These teens experience psychological disturbances that affect their health conditions and lead to serious medical issues. The teen’s period is mainly a growing stage, which is described by the urge to be more independent as well as experience an increased need in socializing.

At this juncture, teenagers are more concerned about their physical appearances and appeal to other people. Thus, when they are teased because of their obese conditions, they show a psychological devastation (Wadden, Sarwer, Fabricatore, Jones, Stack, and Williams 65).

Obesity can be treated socially or psychologically. Obese people are encouraged to exercise more as well as reduce taking foods that are highly rich in calories. This is a type of a behavioral or cognitive therapy that entails modification of one’s lifestyle as well as dietary habits.

This approach is effective in managing the obese condition in many people. Nevertheless, the psychological treatment of obesity is the best strategy of managing this condition as it helps in addressing its fundamental causes.

In classical conditioning, eating disorders are linked with other actions. These behaviors are meant to happen simultaneously. For instance, a person may be used to eat nachos as he/she watches the news. When these conditions are done repeatedly, a person may have a craving for nachos every time she/he watches news.

Behavioral intervention involves establishing and extinguishing those factors that facilitate obesity. Conversely, operant conditioning uses strengthening and consequences. It happens when people employ a reward to momentarily to reduce pressure associated foods with a more congenial state, this increases its possibility to turn into a recurring behavior.

It is said that behavior therapy is connected with the lifestyles changes as well as weight loss in short-time, but does not indicate any substantial proof of its long-term effectiveness. Nowadays, cognitive behavior therapies have become more common approaches for the treatment of obesity.

Cognitive therapies are known to influence both the feelings and behaviors. They are used to treat overweight by helping the obese to change their eating disorders and embrace healthy eating lifestyles. They entail strategies such as social support, stress management, cognitive restructuring as well as stimulus control (Cooper and Fairburn 54).

It is very important to note that both social and psychological issues are very essential in the development and examining the effects of obesity. Therefore, the treatment of obesity should be a multidisciplinary approach. Thus, the treatment of this condition should be biological, social, psychological as well as environmental in order to guarantee an inclusive care, the best practices and effective results.

Works Cited

Collins, Jennifer C., and Jon E. Bentz. ” Behavioral and Psychological Factors in Obesity.” The Journal of Lancaster General Hospital, 4.4(2009): 124-127. jlgh.org. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.

Cooper, Z. and C.G. Fairburn. “A new cognitive behavioral approach to the treatment of obesity.” Behaviour Research and Therapy, 39.5(2001):499-511. Print.

Obesity Working Group. Technical Report No 1: Obesity in Australia: A need for urgent action. P3-451. Australia: Commonwealth of Australia, 2008. Print.

Stunkard, A.J., Grace, W.J., and H.G. Wolff. “The night-eating syndrome: A pattern of food intake among certain obese patients.” American Journal of Medicine, 19.1(1955): 78-86. Print.

Wadden, T.A., Sarwer, D.B., Fabricatore, A.N., Jones, L., Stack, R., and N.S. Williams. “Psychosocial and behavioral status of patients undergoing bariatric surgery: what to expect before and after surgery.” The Medical Clinic of North America, 91.3(2007): 451-469. Print.