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Obesity in Scotland

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    OBESITY IN SCOTLAND INTRODUCTON In this essay l will explore the obesity in Scotland using sociology and psychology perspectives. Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair someone’s health. Obesity has in the last decade become a problem in Scotland according to the annual report of the chief medical officer 2009, which clearly shows that women are more inclined to be overweight than men. Nonetheless, in the last eight years the obesity trends revealed that women are seen to be more morbidly overweight than men. (www. scotland. ov. uk) The sociological perspective, Radical Feminism explores the patriarchal roots of diversity among men and women. This exposes patriarchy as splitting rights, privileges and power generally by gender, and as a result oppressing women and privileging men. A Patriarchy described where men have power over women. It is a society controlled mainly by men throughout organised society and individual relationships. As a macro theory, Radical Feminist argued that being a woman is a positive thing but not approved in patriarchal society where women are oppressed.

    Women are seen as being exploited by men in a patriarchal society, so feminists argue that the solution to this is ought to be separatism. Patriarchy produces this gender conflict using the biological determinant (woman) as a social tool leading to the social construction of feminine roles. Nigerian context provide a couple of examples where l have viewed differences between women of Nigeria and Scotland. In Nigeria, women are accepted for being fat in the society, as society object to the ideas of “skinny” women. They believe that being fat is part of African culture, which enables most women to defend their feminine roles.

    They view themselves as being fat, a defence mechanism not to be challenged. Whereas; in Scotland the thought of being fat is a dilemma to many people in society. My view of Scottish society is that women resign to being fat because it’s a genetic thing. Others examples commonly associated to the cause of obesity in Scotland are attached to type of foods and fast food chains like MacDonald’s, Subway and KFC. This has now contributed immensely to the society and to certain areas in Scotland, which have now been highlighted to be morbidly obese such as Coatbridge. dailyrecord. co. uk) On health ground, people are now aware of health risks associated with obese for example – stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. Therefore, many people are now taking preventative action towards their life style by going to the gym and changing their diet to healthy food. Another aspect of obesity is that the majority of women would prefer to be slim due to peer pressure in the society that we live in like Society often discriminates and looks down on obese people due to their weight, as this could have negative effect on their socialisation.

    Meanwhile in Nigeria, women argue that you can be obese and sexy as some Nigerian men prefer big women, as the saying goes “big and beautiful”. On the other hand in Scotland, some men are socially aware of the effect of being obese and they tend to detach themselves from them. One of the feminist Susie Orbach believes fat serves several functions: it can be used as a form of rebellion, can enable women to nourish themselves, can allow them to avoid being viewed as sex objects, and enable them to express their rage without having to voice it.

    While Orbach’s book explores myths about dieting and preaches self-acceptance. Orbach Susie, (1978) provides us with three different aspects to explore female obesity within a Radical Feminist context; sex object, rage and acceptance of self. Orbach is suggesting that by refusing to be dominated by what society perceive as “sexy” women are taking back control of their bodies. (www. nedic. ca) Western society tends to define woman as “quiet, demure ladylike” and as such tend not to express anger through rage.

    Orbach provides us with a vehicle to consider how women may express their anger through eating and food. Instead of hitting out or being aggressive, the “angry” woman satiates her anger with food. Orbach’s last point, acceptance is the one this essay will explore most that in these days and age women are more confident about their body that society should accept them as they are. This writer argues that some women would rather be fat as a resistance to challenge the society, and to defend themselves to be seen as obese.

    Looking at this context on the other hand, Public Health Information for Scotland states that men and women in England are not as obese as Scotland people. The charts show an increase in general trend for obesity levels in both men and women, with the exception of oldest age categories. The levels of obesity between men in Scotland and England were approximately much the same in all age group. Although men in Scotland aged 55-64 seen to be likely obese than men age 55-64 in England. (www. scotpho. org. uk) See the following charts:|  |   |

    In reference to psychology, self esteem could be related to obesity. Psychologist Abraham Maslow described his concept as hierarchy of needs – 1943, he suggests that people are motivated to fulfil basic needs before moving on to other needs. Abraham Maslow believes that after the first three needs in pyramid have been satisfied, self – esteem needs becomes more important. Obesity could cause people to have low self-esteem that can lead to depression and affect quality of life. People with low self- esteem are more likely to get ill and can lead some people to commit murder.

    This can be explored further in terms of comfort eating. If people do comfort eating they become obese and will prevent them to fulfilled their esteem needs. Because someone feels their esteem levels are threatened they turn to eating to make themselves feel better. But this only massage their esteem needs not satisfies them. Its respite is only temporary. Perhaps as they gain weight through comfort eating it further attacks their levels of esteem actually making them feel worse which in turn causes them to comfort eat more. It becomes a viscous circle.

    Maslow also points out that esteem needs are a pivotal point in a person’s journey of self discovery. Higher esteem needs usually produces someone who has a growing sense of independence and autonomy. Lower esteem needs tend to produce attention seeking behaviours. Many people who are obese may exhibit behaviours, which reinforce this dimension of Maslow’s theory. They may constantly join and rejoin slimming clubs and classes-proudly declaring a pound or two loss each time they get weighed. This becomes the focus of discussions; so their size is successfully attracting the attention they seek.

    They may also make comments about portion sizes in restaurants and cafes or even talk about clothes sizing declaring that certain shops deliberately make their sizes smaller than others. All this goes to show that the person’s size or indeed obesity is the focus of attention. What we can be certain of is that their true esteem needs are not being met; it is only pretence. The person still has to accept him or herself size and all to move on. Both sociology and psychology contribute to the tool kit of the nurse in contemporary Scotland.

    Being aware of possible reasons behind patients’ behaviour and conditions may help the professional to form a clearer picture of the person under his or her care and thus provide the appropriate care not just in a clinical sense but an empathic one too. References: Abraham, M. (1943). Hierarchy of needs. Available: http://psychology. about. com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds. htm. Last accessed 13th March 2012. Crooks, L. (2010). Coatbridge is the fattest town in Britain. Available: http://www. dailyrecord. co. uk/news/scottish-news/2010/04/12/revealed-coatbridge-is-the-fattest-town-in-britain-86908-22179908/.

    Last accessed 13th March 2012. Dr Harry Burns. (2009). Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2009. Available: http://www. scotland. gov. uk/Publications/2009/12/16103619/1. Last accessed 13th March 2012. Grant, I Fischbacher, C Whyte, B. (2007). Obesity in Scotland: an epidemiology briefing. Available: http://www. scotpho. org. uk/publications/reports-and-papers/495-obesity-in-scotland-an-epidemiology-briefing-. Last accessed 13th March 2012. Susan Orbach. (1978). Fat is a Feminist lssue. Available: http://www. nedic. ca/resources/books. shtml. Last accessed 13th of March 2012

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