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The "childhood obesity epidemic": health crisis or social construction?

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature143990
Source
Med Anthropol Q. 2010 Mar;24(1):1-21
Publication Type
Article
Date
Mar-2010
Author
Tina Moffat
Author Affiliation
Department of Anthropology McMaster University.
Source
Med Anthropol Q. 2010 Mar;24(1):1-21
Date
Mar-2010
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Adolescent
Body mass index
Canada - epidemiology
Child
Child, Preschool
Health Policy
Health promotion
Humans
Obesity - epidemiology - psychology
Overweight - classification
Prejudice
Risk factors
Socioeconomic Factors
Terminology as Topic
United States - epidemiology
Abstract
There has been a meteoric rise over the past two decades in the medical research and media coverage of the so-called global childhood obesity epidemic. Recently, in response to this phenomenon, there has been a spate of books and articles in the fields of critical sociology and cultural studies that have argued that this "epidemic" is socially constructed, what Natalie Boero (2007) dubs a "postmodern epidemic." As an anthropologist who has studied child nutrition and obesity in relation to poverty and the school environment, I am concerned about both the lack of reflexivity among medical researchers as well as critical scholars' treatment of the problem as entirely socially constructed. In this article I present both sides of this debate and then discuss how wee can attempt to navigate a middle course that recognizes this health issue but also offers alternative approaches to those set by the biomedical agenda.
PubMed ID
20420299 View in PubMed
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Determinants of variation in food cost and availability in two socioeconomically contrasting neighbourhoods of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature170215
Source
Health Place. 2007 Mar;13(1):273-87
Publication Type
Article
Date
Mar-2007
Author
Jim Latham
Tina Moffat
Author Affiliation
Department of Anthropology, McMaster University, CNH 524, Hamilton, Ont, Canada.
Source
Health Place. 2007 Mar;13(1):273-87
Date
Mar-2007
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Costs and Cost Analysis
Diet - classification - economics
Food - classification - economics
Food Supply - economics - statistics & numerical data
Humans
Interviews as Topic
Nutrition Surveys
Nutritional Status - physiology
Ontario
Poverty Areas
Residence Characteristics - classification
Socioeconomic Factors
Urban Population
Abstract
This study addresses links between economic and nutritional variation in an urban North American setting. We employed a mixed-methods approach including mapping, semi-structured interviews, and food outlet surveys to investigate the public health impact of variation in the cost and availability of food between two socioeconomically distinct neighbourhoods of the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Food cost in supermarkets was not found to be higher in the low-income neighbourhood, though it was much higher in the variety stores that predominate in the low-income neighbourhood. Moreover, there was a very low availability of produce in the variety stores. Reduced fresh produce availability and lower incomes have the potential to negatively influence public health in the less-affluent study area by increasing the difficulty of acquiring healthy foods.
PubMed ID
16542866 View in PubMed
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Adverse environments: investigating local variation in child growth.

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature162415
Source
Am J Hum Biol. 2007 Sep-Oct;19(5):676-83
Publication Type
Article
Author
Tina Moffat
Tracey Galloway
Author Affiliation
Department of Anthropology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4L9. moffatcs@mcmaster.ca
Source
Am J Hum Biol. 2007 Sep-Oct;19(5):676-83
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Body Weights and Measures
Canada - epidemiology
Child
Child Development - physiology
Cross-Sectional Studies
Environment
Female
Humans
Male
Socioeconomic Factors
Abstract
Epigenetic and life history approaches to child growth are centered on the relationship between the organism and its environment. However, defining and operationalizing the concept of environment is challenging, in light of the multiple variables that influence growth. Moreover, the concept of adaptation as it applies to child growth is seldom considered in the developed country context. This paper presents a study of children living in three neighborhoods in the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Two of the communities are considered adverse environments on the basis of low socioeconomic status, and their inner city, industrial location. In contrast to children living in the higher socioeconomic status area, children in these adverse environments display negative growth indicators, i.e., somewhat constrained linear growth in one and risk for overweight and obesity in both. Although both these inner city neighborhoods constitute adverse environments, they differ in ways that have a significant impact on children's growth. We argue for a definition of "adverse environment" that is broadly based, incorporating a range of physical, social, and temporal factors that are highly localized and sensitive to community-level influences on growth and health. As well, we consider whether higher prevalence of overweight and obesity is adaptive in any way to these adverse environments and conclude that they are more likely to be deleterious than adaptive in either the long or short term.
PubMed ID
17636529 View in PubMed
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Food consumption patterns in elementary school children.

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature155252
Source
Can J Diet Pract Res. 2008;69(3):152-4
Publication Type
Article
Date
2008
Author
Tina Moffat
Tracey Galloway
Author Affiliation
Department of Anthropology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.
Source
Can J Diet Pract Res. 2008;69(3):152-4
Date
2008
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Child
Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
Diet Surveys
Female
Food Habits
Food Preferences - psychology
Fruit
Humans
Male
Mental Recall
Nutrition Policy
Nutritional Requirements
Ontario
Schools
Students - psychology
Vegetables
Abstract
Food consumption was investigated in children attending three elementary schools in urban Hamilton, Ontario.
Dietary data were collected from 92 children in grades 2 to 4 through 24-hour dietary recalls (39% participation rate). Servings of four food groups were compared with recommended daily servings in Canada's Food Guide.
The majority of students did not consume the recommended five daily servings of vegetables and fruit. On average, they consumed a high number of servings of "other foods," which were not included in the four food groups. More than 50% of the students did not consume the recommended daily servings of milk products, and only a small proportion (21%) drank milk during school lunch.
We recommend that primary school educators promote the consumption of vegetables and fruits and milk products at school, either through healthy snack programs or educational programs.
PubMed ID
18783641 View in PubMed
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Meeting health need, accessing health care: the role of neighbourhood.

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature174854
Source
Health Place. 2005 Dec;11(4):367-77
Publication Type
Article
Date
Dec-2005
Author
Michael Law
Kathi Wilson
John Eyles
Susan Elliott
Michael Jerrett
Tina Moffat
Isaac Luginaah
Author Affiliation
McMaster Institute of Environment and Health, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ont., Canada L8S 4K1.
Source
Health Place. 2005 Dec;11(4):367-77
Date
Dec-2005
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Adolescent
Adult
Cross-Sectional Studies
Data Collection
Delivery of Health Care - organization & administration - utilization
Female
Health Services Accessibility
Health services needs and demand
Humans
Male
Middle Aged
National Health Programs
Ontario
Residence Characteristics
Abstract
Much of what we know about the determinants of access to health care comes from studies undertaken at a large scale, such as between cities, regions/counties/provinces/states and countries. This paper examines local level variations in access to and utilization of health care services across four distinct neighbourhoods in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Survey data (n = 1500) were analysed using logistic regression to explore the potential relationships between neighbourhood and health care utilization and unmet health care need. Results show some relationships between neighbourhood of residence and levels of reported utilization as well as unmet need, even when controlling for predisposing, enabling, and need factors (i.e. Age, gender, household composition, income, education, perceived gp visit time) as well as health status. Findings from this empirical study suggest a finer lens is required to examine the mechanisms through which place impacts access to and utilization of care, one that recognizes the roles of compositional, contextual and collective aspects of neighbourhood.
PubMed ID
15886144 View in PubMed
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