Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Historically, the use of the Body Mass Index (BMI) has been the standard method of measuring obesity among the adults. The standards of BMI were created using population samples, which were calculated from the measurement of the weight and height of Caucasians. Recent research has proved that BMI alone cannot be an appropriate way of measuring obesity. The main reason for this is the differences in ethnicity and the genetic make-up of individuals. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has evaluated the trend of the BMI and the result is that the African Americans have higher rates of obesity compared to individuals from other ethnic groups (Youdim, 2015).
According to the research, the African American women considered their health knowledge more necessary than that of the white people (Hoque, Pecotte & McGehee, 2016). The black women had a negative attitude towards all the norms associated with weight and physical activities. Both the black women and men regarded overweight women to be more attractive and emotionally stronger compared to underweight women. That perception may have been reinforced by some of the popular TV icons, and this may result to a decrease in stigma for the overweight women.
The Manner in Which the Physicians Communication Is Affected
Physicians are faced with different challenges when counseling their patients on matters of weight loss and obesity. One of the factors that have contributed to the decline in the rate of obesity counseling is that the physicians lack the confidence to counsel and have a low expectation of positive results. The patients are always eager to hear the doctor addressing their weight; if the doctor does not deliver any comment, the patient will conclude that his or her weight is not a problem (Pool et al., 2014). However, some factors assist the physicians to have good communication with their patients. The different methods used by the physicians in controlling the weight of their patients are among those factors. Examples of this methods include motivational interviewing, the use of the ‘Five A’s’ and the use of the visual prompt which has assisted the doctors in having a smooth communication with their patients. When the doctor acknowledges the weight of the patient, the patient, in turn, will develop a positive attitude in the issue of losing weight and this will yield positive results.
Social and Culture Factors Influencing the African Americans
Culture factors such the act of the black women who are overweight being perceived as emotionally stronger than the underweight women contributes a lot. The black Americans encourage more women to be overweight, as this will present a good image of them. For that reason, the socioeconomic environment has also been seen to contribute to the increase of obesity among the black people in America (Agyemang, & Powell-Wiley, 2013).
Many factors make the black women to be more obese compared to the white women. Grills argue that “the issue of food and recreational justice and high level of racial injustice” has contributed more to the rise of the incidences of obesity (Agyemang, & Powell-Wiley, 2013). The other social factor that contributes to high obesity rates among black women is the stress that they have because of the fact that they are in the white man’s world. The issue of being the minority group in the United States confirms that they are unable to earn more and thus not able to access some of the exercise programs and facilities in the country. Some parents of the black American children cannot afford to pay for activities such as the gym for their kids. As a result, the children end up being obese and fat.
The Role of Media
The media itself has enhanced the growth in the obesity among the children in different ways. Research indicates that majority of the children spend more of their time in front of television and computers. The time used in watching the television and the computer is more than the time spent on other exercises, thus increasing their chances of being obese. There are many advertisements in the media encouraging consumption of non- nutritious foods, and this will encourage the children to have a perception that those foods are safe (Youdim, 2015). The ability of children to recall an advertisement from the media is very high, and this influences more children consuming those food stuffs.
However, on the other hand, the media has greatly assisted in the promotion of healthy eating habits in several ways. For, example more programs in the media encourage consumption of specific foods and vegetables that in turn will assist to prevent some of the common diseases among the young women. The media promotes the positive attitude of the healthy eating by creating awareness among the people about nutrition education. Cases and effect of the poor diet and good exercises are exposed in the media so that the people can be aware that some diseases are real especially to those who do not mind on better nutrition.
Implication of the Health Policies
Obesity is an epidemic according to the recent research done by the World Health Organization. Therefore, proper health policies should be encouraged in all the countries to prevent the issue of obesity (Chan & Woo, 2010). The strategies involved in the health policymaking should be targeting the factors that contribute to obesity and come up with the necessary solutions to solve them.
The implication is that these health policies will assist in changing the lifestyle of the people at the different social economic levels in the countries. Many scholars suggest that the best policies in controlling obesity cases in the state should focus on the following factors: first, the policy should target socioeconomic environments, the food environment and the physical activities of the people. Second, the policy should also focus on the improvement in the feeding behavior of the people. Lastly, the policy should support the clinical intervention and the health services offered (Chan & Woo, 2010).
It is well depicted that the Body Mass Index (BMI) alone cannot be an effective method of measuring obesity in people. It is evident that the African-American women are more vulnerable to obesity than the Caucasian men and women. As indicated in the research above, there are some genetic factors, socioeconomic factors and cultural factors that expose the black women to be more affected. The issue of obesity has also led to some positive and negative communication influences between the physicians and the patients. Some of the physicians do not have the courage to discuss the issue of obesity, as they have a low expectation of the positive result of the patients. Some of the physicians have gone further using different methods to control the rate of obesity among the patients, and this has yielded positive feedback than using BMI alone. The media has also contributed to the reduction of the obesity cases by providing some of the programs that assist in the creation of awareness of the importance of healthy eating. The healthy policies created have positive implications in the lives of many people as they focus on the way to reduce those factors that contribute obesity. Indeed, proper awareness in the right lifestyle and healthy eating behavior should be encouraged among the people to fight obesity.
Agyemang, P., & Powell-Wiley, T. M. (2013). Obesity and Black Women: Special
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