Social Attitudes Towards Obesity

Program for Mentally Ill Workers
April 23, 2024
Obesity vs Television Viewing
April 23, 2024
Show all

Social Attitudes Towards Obesity


The rates of obesity are revealed to be the highest among students in higher institutions of learning. The rise in obesity cases is linked to social attitudes and behavior that positively embrace unhealthy lifestyles. The objective of the present paper was to determine the social attitudes towards obesity in Dickson University students. A quantitative survey was carried out involving sixty random University students. The sample population contained 30 whites, 10 Indian, 10 Mexican and 10 Brazilian students. The sample population was aged between 20 to 30 years of age. The present report will present results from the questionnaire survey with a focus on the SWOT analysis.


The prevalence of obesity in America is recorded to be at its highest in the 21st century. It is estimated that 93 million American suffer from illnesses since 2010. The statistics are alarming causing the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention to claim the diseases as a national epidemic. Worse still, is that the rate of obesity is increasing and efforts to curb the illness are in full force (Akabas, Lederman & Moore, 2012). Despite the expanded campaign on eradication or minimization of the occurrence of diabetes in young adults, the efforts have not been significant. Studies have shown that society’s perception of obesity and healthy lifestyle may be the main trigger to the increased rates. However, there are limited studies in understanding how social attitudes towards obesity may be a direct link to the increasing phenomenon.

Background of Research

From a global perspective, it is estimated that nearly 30% of the world’s populace is obese meaning that almost 2 billion people are affected (Ellison, 2016) while in Canada has 64% prevalence (Ellison, McPhail and Mitchinson, 2016). The consensus is that obesity is linked to lifestyle choices by individuals. Due to the merit in research, organizations and concerned entities have emphasized on good healthy living standards with the inclusion of exercise and dietary restrictions. Still, the effect is yet to be noted with America still recording its highest obesity rates among young adults aged between 24-years of age to 74-years of age. Emerging studies have determined that social attitudes and behavior are pivotal to the increased rates of obesity. Delgado (2016) elucidates that obesity is highest due to improved trends in non-belief in young adults that consuming limited amounts of unhealthy products can lead to obesity.

On the other hand, Puhl et al. (2010) indicate that young people have the ideology that unhealthy eating may not be the leading cause of obesity. The different information questions the validity of society’s perception of how obesity is a direct result of unhealthy food. There is a need to investigate to know precisely what is the attitude among University students who comprise of young adults (aged between 20-30) on obesity issues.

Purpose of Research

The primary goal of the research was to determine the social attitudes on obesity among University students. The study also seeks to determine how social marketing can be used to promote healthy eating and physical exercise among higher institution students. The philosophy is that the utility of marketing efforts influences the attitudes about obesity encouraging changing outcomes on obesity and improve health behaviors.

Focus of Campaign

The campaign focused on the utilization of social marketing tools to address social attitudes about obesity. The initial focus was to assess the need for physical activity and nutrition intakes by targeting young adults with obesity to help them adopt healthy behaviors.

SWOT Analysis

The strength of the campaign is that the target audience is aware of obesity, its health risks and long-term effects of lack of proper and healthy dietary lifestyle. Another strength is that the majority of university students are mindful of the need to always exercise but, lack the knowledge on how to go about it. As such, the weaknesses of the campaign is that the majority of the students believe that women are more prone to obesity compared to men. The misconception may hamper the focus of the campaign which may lead to only having a sure gender-specific successful campaign. Additionally, the social attitude towards causes of obesity is varied with most participants indicating that obesity is hereditary while the rest was concurring that obesity is acquired through unhealthy eating. Participants determined that society has a stereotypic mindset regarding obesity and is always inclined to have negative thoughts about those with obesity.

Therefore, the opportunities of the campaign elucidate that majority of the youth are willing to undertake introductory educational courses (through marketing tools) on obesity. The limited knowledge perception is a hindrance to the widespread social attitude which is currently negative. As such, the opportunity is that the youths need to be educated on how to treat, perceive and accommodate those with obesity. Nonetheless, the study determined that threat to the campaign is the pertinent stereotypic mindset that leads the population to think that obesity cannot be controlled.

Target Audience

The precise population for the present study was the young adults aged between 20 – 30-years of age. The community has an already set mindset on social attitudes towards obesity and has consumption habits that make them susceptible to obesity (Puhl et al. 2010).

Positioning Statement

The present population requires aggressive campaign tools through marketing to sensitize on healthy eating and exercise regiments that can aid in the reduction of obesity cases. Further, the community needs constant enlightenment on obesity, its risks and how to change social attitudes towards the illness.










Akabas, S. R., Lederman, S. A., & Moore, B. J. (Eds.). (2012). Textbook of obesity: biological, psychological and cultural influences. John Wiley & Sons.

Delgado, M. (2013). Social justice and the urban obesity crisis: Implications for social work. Columbia University Press.

Ellison, J., McPhail, D., & Mitchinson, W. (Eds.). (2016). Obesity in Canada: Critical Perspectives. University of Toronto Press.

Puhl, R. M., Masheb, R. M., White, M. A., & Grilo, C. M. (2010). Attitudes toward obesity in obese persons: a matched comparison of obese women with and without binge eating. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity15(3), e173-e179.