Globalisation Essay

2540 words - 11 pages

Word count : 2082

This assignment serves the purpose of identifying and critically examining being overweight and obesity in the context of urbanization and globalization and the role it plays in the mental and physical health of Australians. Obesity rates among Australians are high and have been increasing at a rate faster than any other country a part of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011). More than 60 percent of adults and 25 per cent of children are overweight or obese in Australia and this percentage is projected to rise 15 per cent over the next decade (Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011). ...view middle of the document...

Urbanization can be described as being a result of rural migration, even suburban concentrations into the biggest ones (Tepperman & Blain, 2006). Australia is one of the highest urbanized countries with 76% of the population living in cities (Tepperman & Blain, 2006). In addition to this, Australia’s population has grown by 3 million in the past decade, with international migration contributing to more than half of this number (Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011). The majority of these people settle in Australian cities (Department of Infrastructure and Transport (2011). It is estimated that by 2050, over 70 percent of the world’s population will live in town and cities (Department of Infrastructure and Transport (2011). This leads to the question of the potential risks associated with rapid urbanization and changes in living standards, lifestyles, social behavior and choices. Australia has one of the highest percentages of obese people in the world and has been described as an epidemic that has doubled from 1983 to 2003 (Dunn, 2003). “The health challenges in cities and towns not only relate to water, environment, violence and injury but to non-communicable diseases (cardio vascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases), unhealthy diet and physical inactivity” (World health Organization, 2010). World health Organization (2010) further describes city living as having increased pressure of mass marketing and easy access to cheap available unhealthy food choices with physically effortless travel and transport options. This creates a problematic epidemic of overweight and obese individuals, influenced highly by their surroundings and the stresses of a fast pace opportunistic and individualistic urban culture.
It is shown that in some cultures, being overweight may be preferred. Brown and Kronner (1987) writes that cross cultural data reveals 80% of cultures which participated in the study prefer women with a plump shape (as cited in Sobal, 2001). Another example of cultural acceptance of large people is seen in Buddha statues and the sexual attractiveness of fatness (Brink, 1989 as cited in Qvortrup, 2010). Furthermore, in the 19th century in Britain, voluptuous women were those connected with wealth, and symbolized prosperity, fertility, luxury, beauty and art (William and Germov, 2008). However, increasing links are shown between being overweight and obese and suffering from preventable health and social problems (Friel, 2009). Obesity is a major concern and may not only be a medical and psychological condition, but a social construction. There is an overwhelming amount of research which correlates obesity with those from low socio-economic situations (Drewnowski & spector, 2004). For those from poorer economic circumstances, it is easier to eat cheap, quick meals of high energy dense food then nutritious healthy fruits and vegetables, proteins, nuts and legumes (reference).
In Australia,...

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