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Lecture 5

BLG 700 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Body Mass Index, Coronary Artery Disease, Food Desert

3 pages112 viewsFall 2016

Course Code
BLG 700
Nancy Woodley

of 3
Midterm Module 5 Notes
According to the latest statistics (Statistics Canada, 2012a), what percentage of
Canadian children, aged 5 to 17, are considered overweight or obese? 1 out of 3
According to the latest statistics (Statistics Canada, 2012b), what percentage of
Canadian adults, aged 18 to 79, are considered overweight or obese? 2 out of 3
Obesity and Overweight
Obesity and being overweight are typically measured using the Body Mass Index
or BMI.
Calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by the square of their
height (in meters)
An adult of 18 years or over with a BMI of 30+ is deemed “obese.” An adult with
a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is deemed “overweight.”
Numerous health problems, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obstructive
sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, many types of cancer (including breast, colorectal and
pancreatic) and cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease and stroke).
Body weight has to do primarily with diet and exercise, which are seen to be
individual choices
Subtext of this discourse is that people who have large bodies are at fault because
they are lazy.
Obesity and Overweight: Time Period
Political economy is a branch of social science that studies the relationships
between individuals and society and between markets and the state, using a
diverse set of tools drawn largely from economics, political science and
Tony winson’s research shows that An average of 31% of supermarket shelf space
was devoted to pseudo-foods, Pseudo-foods were heavily marketed at the check-
out and through numerous special displays, and Entire aisles were devoted to
Pseudo-foods are not only plentiful but heavily marketed in supermarkets. As
Winson notes, if we see such foods all over the store and then again at the check
out, we are more likely to buy them, especially on impulse
“Nag factor,” a marketing term describing the different ways in which children
manipulate their parents to make a purchase and that marketers use to their
Differential profit The idea is that pseudo-foods offer stores a higher profit than
less-processed foods, such as produce or milk.
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Food industry notion that the more a food is processed, the more it has “value
added.” If a store wants to maximize profits, a good way to do this is to sell more
Spatial colonization of our food environments by pseudofoods, this is partially
responsible for the rise in obesity.
Obesity and Overweight: Region
The general pattern is the larger the city, the lower the obesity rates.
Obesogenic environment, an “environment that promotes weight gain and is not
conducive to weight loss”
Neighbourhoods or regions built primarily for cars result in obesity and
overweight individuals
Urban areas with few sidewalks, bike paths, and greenspaces, which makes
walking and biking unpleasant or dangerous.
Long distances between destinations, making driving a practical necessity.
Poor neighborhoods or regions may be food deserts, with little access to healthy
Residents may have little money or political clout for neighbourhood
If crime rates are high, people may be afraid to do outdoor activities.
Obesity and Overweight: Aboriginal Issues
Aboriginal populations have some of the highest rates of obesity in the country.
There is more than twice the rate of obesity among Aboriginal people on reserves
than among non-Aboriginal people in Canada
"Historical and continued...dismissal, under-representation, or complete
undermining of Aboriginal knowledge(s) any discussions about Aboriginal
peoples’ food systems” and “historical and continued undermining of Indigenous
Weight problems among First Nations people is the transition from traditional
foods (obtained through hunting, gathering, fishing, etc.) to non-traditional, store-
bought foods
Colonization often creates barriers in terms of First Nations people's to access
traditional foods and food practices
According to the fat acceptance movement, being overweight in of itself is not
actually a problem. What is a problem is the prejudice against, and lack of
accommodation for, large bodies
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Bringing increasing attention to discrimination against people with large bodies in
areas like employment, education, and health care
People with large bodies may have health problems not because of the weight
itself but because they suffer discrimination in health care and society
Fat discrimination in health care
Doctors and nurses associate obesity with things like hostility, dishonesty,
inadequate hygiene, and laziness
Firstly, providers may be less likely to communicate information with patient they
believe are not likely to be adherent to care regimes. Secondly, patients are less
likely to seek care if they feel devalued in the patient encounter.
The result of this discrimination may be that people with large bodies receive
improper diagnoses or inadequate treatment of health issues both related and
unrelated to their weight
Weight discrimination may have negative consequences for mental health.
Bullying and other forms of anti-fat bias may contribute to self-hatred.
Discrimination in employment and hiring may cause despair. This self-hatred and
despair may then lead to unhealthy dieting behaviours or risky medical
The Obesity Epidemic: Weight as a Dangerous Moral Issue
“Epidemic.” It usually refers to a situation in which there are a large number of
cases of a contagious disease in a particular area.
Recent attention to obesity is a type of moral panic a collective fear of a real
or imagined situation fuelled by intense media coverage
Widespread association between our growing BMIs and moral depravity in
Large people are seen as morally devoid: lazy, incapable, undisciplined,
irresponsible (Puhl & Brownell, 2001; Cooper, 2016). On the flip side, slender
people are assumed to be virtuous kind, capable, and successful simply on
account of their slimness
The fear being generated, as in many cases of moral panic, is a fear of social
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