Cultural Beliefs and Influences
Childhood obesity is mostly a lifestyle disease that affects children from all over the world, and it is simply defined as a situation where the child has a BMI greater than 30. It is determined by how individuals live, what they eat and whether or not they have sufficient physical activity as part of their routine. Within the USA, multiple cultural beliefs and influences are considerably relevant to the issue of childhood obesity.
First, American society is mainly multicultural, and in most contexts, the Hispanic Americans and African Americans are at higher risk of developing childhood obesity than white Americans are. The communities mentioned above have different cultures when considered individually but within the modern American context, children in these families are exposed to similar risks related to childhood obesity. For example, the Hispanic Americans believe that chubby children are healthier and do not see obesity as a problem until it starts compromising the health of the child. Similarly, representatives of the African American culture tend to believe that being big-bodied is a norm, and it is normal for children to be overweight. They are only considered to have a health problem when their bodily functions are impaired. The greatest cultural influence on childhood obesity is diets, to which children are exposed. American society generally has a reputation for consuming processed sugars and junk food. The latter contribute significantly to high prevalence rates of childhood obesity in the country.
Religious/Spiritual Beliefs and Values
There are no religious or spiritual beliefs that are particularly relevant to the issue of childhood obesity. When considering the disciplinarian aspects of some extreme religions, such as Jehovah’s witnesses or the South Asian spiritual practices, it can be noted that there is a clear link between religion and obesity. For example, Jehovah’s witnesses prohibit the ingestion of meat and blood, emphasizing the consumption of plant products as a way of staying ‘clean’ and healthy both physically and spiritually. The South Asian spiritual practices guide an individual on how to attain physical and spiritual wellness through a clear set of instructions meant to balance individual’s being as a whole. These practices ensure that families in question are well monitored in terms of their health, keeping lifestyle diseases at bay. Regarding values, it can be noted that the USA is largely secular with most people subscribing to certain religions, but living normal lives as compared to their non-religious counterparts. It explains why most religious and spiritual values have not been able to change risks of childhood obesity amongst practicing populations.
How Religious/Spiritual Beliefs and Values Have Affected Progress in Addressing Childhood Obesity
Efforts to confront the issue of childhood obesity have always been met by cultural and religious beliefs that favor the consumption of certain food rich in fats and sugar. Under such circumstances, promoting healthier feeding habits and physical activity, as well as regular health check-ups, may prove futile. For the case of the U.S., the population is mainly modern and more open to contemporary medicine. As such, the U.S. population is more willing to take recommendations from a qualified medical doctor rather than a spiritual leader. However, there are cases when the parents of a child would rather believe in teachings and solicitations of a religious leader staying away from doctors and their recommendations of how to keep the child healthy and within a normal body weight. In such situations, it is often very difficult to make parents take responsibility for child’s health issues and do the right thing to correct the situation. They would rather stick to their religious values even if their child’s health worsens. A common case is in families where children stay indoors and are even home-schooled to limit their interaction with outsiders. It is often very difficult to convince such families that their children are sick because they do not have enough physical activity or exposure to the sun or that they need to start eating healthier meals. Religion in some cases determines the lifestyle of an entire family, hindering changes for the benefit of the child.
Ideological Differences Based on Geography, Politics and Countries of the World
Politics and geography are not necessarily relevant to the issue of childhood obesity. However, countries present different challenges owing to the cultural context that influences the health status of children in the world. Generally, the modern culture has created a setting for poor feeding habits since most families expose their children to processed food with high sugar content in the form of snacks and beverages (Bass & Eneli, 2015). In addition, owing to busy schedules at work or at school, most parents opt to feed their children with fast food or take-outs, or even junk like pizza and French fries, as well as carbonated soft drinks. These habits can be seen in most countries in the world, although they are more prevalent in cities where parents have means and the need to do as such.
Some countries also have a higher prevalence rate of childhood obesity due to cultural meals that children eat. Fried, greasy food as a Mexican staple or family dinners filled with such dishes as an African American ideology contribute significantly to the weight of the child. In addition, in parts of the world where children spend a lot of time indoors, there is a higher rate of obesity as compared to countries where children spend a lot of time outdoors being physically active.
See other cognitve articles on https://bestessaywriters.org/.