Obesity in Today’s Australian Culture and Society


Annotated Bibliography for Obesity in Today’s Australian Culture and Society

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While there are many challenges faced by societies today, one of the major health challenges that every society is facing is that of Obesity. People fail to realize that obesity is a serious problem. To understand what makes obesity a serious problem, it is important to the actual meaning of obesity. While some people refer to obesity as being fat, it is important to know that obesity actually means crossing a body mass index greater than that define for an overweight person. Being obese is basically an indicator that you have entered the red zone of health. Obesity has direct and indirect implications on overall health of an obese person.

The indirect implications include an increase in the likelihood of disease occurrence. Since obesity makes a person less active in his life, the chances are that an obese person’s body immunity functions are also lazing around. Also the toxins from the extra fat stored in an obese person results in the increases probability of serious diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, asthma, osteoarthritis and etc.

The direct implications of obesity on the health of an obese person are basically emotional and psychological. An obese person is likely to be ridiculed or insulted in the society due to his or her extra weight. While some obese people may give the impression that they are least bothered by the comments of the people, it effects there emotional health greatly. Obese people are likely to have depression and anxiety more than the others. They also experience more mood swings. They can be happy one second and angry the other. Therefore, an emotional imbalance exists in obese people. While this imbalance may exist in normal people as well, but the likelihood of its existence is more in the obese people.

Obese people have to deal with a lot of problems such as lack of acceptance from the society and low self-esteem. These problems actually give rise to the emotional problems that the obese people face. Therefore, it is very difficult for an obese person to survive normally in the world of today. By recognizing the dangers that obesity is putting to the health of obese people, the countries are working towards handling this problem through various ways.

While obesity is a problem for countries all around the world, we are mainly going to focus on obesity in the Australian culture and the society. It is important to know that the weight of a person is strongly affected by a country’s culture and society. Genes also play an important role in determining a person’s weight. Another important thing to note here is that while genes contribute towards the likelihood of a person being obese, the culture and society affect the obesity factor once a person becomes obese.

The Australian culture is a unique culture that is western in nature. While there are many factors of the Australian culture, we will mostly be focusing on the factors that are affecting obesity. The two factors of the Australian culture that affect obesity are lifestyle and work environment. The culture of Australia promotes an easy going lifestyle. People have freedom to live the way they want and since Australia is a developed country, Australians are hardly concerned about their lifestyle.

The lifestyle prevalent in Australia is very similar to that of the lifestyle prevalent in the overall western society. This lifestyle basically encourages relaxation. People, including adults and youngsters, prefer staying inside their homes and do indoor activities. As a result, outdoor activities and physical exercise have been completely ignored. This very personal lifestyle, results in extra weight gain. When indoor activities are being carried out, people tend to eat more. Extra calories along with lack of exercise contribute strongly to obesity.

Another aspect is the work environment of the Australian people. There nature of jobs that the Australian people have require sitting for long hours, this also limits the physical activity that can be carried out. Therefore the lifestyle factor and the work environment factor of the Australian culture increases the probability of people being obese.

Now that we understand the impact of Australian culture, we need to understand the impact that the Australian society has on the obese people. Like in every other society, obesity is not well received by most of the people. Even though the percentage of obesity is increasing in the Australian society, it is only a fraction of people who are obese. Therefore, the people with normal weight and body mass index have a certain impact on the obese people. The impact that normal people have on obese people is both direct and indirect.

The direct impact is the treatment that they give to the obese people. Most of the people normally harass, ridicule or taunt obese people. This very treatment affects the emotional health of a person suffering from obesity. It is important to understand that obesity is more of a disease than a condition. Therefore, the Australian society at large has a very negative impact on the obese people.

The indirect impact is the way obese people underestimate themselves by idealizing the normal people. The world has defined certain terms for good looks and beauty. Obese people are not a part of that. Although there are efforts such as beauty competition for people that are obese but still all obese people aren’t a part of these efforts. By comparing themselves with normal people, they develop extremely low self-esteem. While this may sound as a personal problem for these people, this is affecting the Australian society at large.

The rude attitude towards the obese people is encouraging the society to develop inhuman norms. Apart from that, this attitude results in emotional imbalance for the obese person. Due to this, they lose hope and stop making efforts to address their problems. This ultimately results in affecting the overall health of the society.

Once again we should realize that obesity is not a condition, it is a disease itself. This disease can also be fatal for the Australian culture and society, therefore it is important for the country to take certain measure to control the increasing rate of obesity.

Selected Resources for Annotated Bibliography

The selected academic articles from peer reviewed journals are as mentioned below:

1. Overweight and Obesity in Australia: the 1999-2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study — A paper from the medical journal of Australia

2. Overweight and Obesity in Australian Mothers: Epidemic or Endemic? – A paper from the medical journal of Australia

3. Overweight, obesity and girth of Australian preschoolers: prevalence and socio-economic correlates — A paper from the International Journal of Obesity

4. Weight and place: a multilevel cross-sectional survey of area-level social disadvantage and overweight/obesity in Australia – A paper from the International Journal of Obesity

Annotated Bibliography

Overweight and Obesity in Australia: the 1999-2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study — Annotated Bibliography

This journal article or paper is directly related to our subject of concern as the article was aimed to provide information regarding the existence of obesity in people of Australia who are adults and also aimed at defining the relationship between the lifestyle, the socio economic factors and obesity. The paper was published after a systematic research that involved experimentation on people in the given time period. The sample size for the research was 42 and the sample was randomly selected from different regions (Cameron, et al., 2003).

The research was carried out by examining the sample respondents through various outcomes. Their body mass index and weight was taken under consideration to decide whether the person is obese or not. While the socio demographic factors were taken under consideration to decide whether the lifestyle activities such as smoking, television and physical activities themselves has any impact on the obesity of the person. It also analyzed the kind of lifestyle that an obese person has. This actually helped in determining, what lifestyle activities to avoid in order to avoid obesity.

The results of the research determined that almost 60% of men and women from Australia suffered from Obesity. 60% is a very high percentage. The percentage increased 2.5 times as compared to that in the year 1980. This depicted that there is an alarming increase in the rate of obesity in Australia. Other results included that Australians who were less educated, watched television for longer periods of time and carried out less physical activities, were obese. The research also revealed that television time has stronger impacts on the prevalence of obesity.

The conclusion of the research paper an article is that the rate of obesity has increased more than the double of what it was two decades prior to the year 2000. This is an alarming increasing rate and can have an adverse affect on the overall Australian society. The lifestyle activities of a person play a very important role. If a person watches more television, he or she is likely to be less physically active and eat more. Watching television actually attracts the person towards eating even if he or she is not really hungry. This results in extra calorie intake which eventually results in obesity. Therefore the problems that cause obesity were highlighted in this research paper.

The paper was extremely helpful as it not only gave factual statistics about Obesity in Australia but also highlighted how lifestyle of the Australian Society impacts obesity. This paper was directly related to the topic under consideration as it was based on a research carried out in Australia and it dealt with the same points of concerns such as society and culture of Australia.

Overweight and Obesity in Australian Mothers: Epidemic or Endemic? – A paper from the medical journal of Australia

This research paper was partially related to the subject under consideration. It dealt with study of obesity in the maternal segment of Australian society. The research paper basically documented the trends of maternal weight of Australian mothers in a certain time period. Those trends were then associated with obesity and pregnancy outcomes. This research paper basically developed an understanding that obesity can be caused due to pregnancy as well. The paper is based on a research that thoroughly studies Australian mothers that had prior data available regarding their weights and medical history and gave birth in a Brisbane hospital within the time period of 1998 and 2009 (this happens to be the geographical and time limitation of the research) (McIntyre, Gibbons, Flenady, & Kallaway, 2012).

The obesity was measured by recording the body mass index of Australian maternal women. The other measures under consideration included complications face by these women in their pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, operation assisted deliveries, hyper tension, prenatal morbidity etc.

The partial part of the research paper that was related to our subject under consideration was the study of effect of obesity on pregnant woman in Australia. The research depicted that pregnant women with high body mass indices are likely to develop more problems than women that have normal or low body mass indices. Thus the likelihood of gestational diabetes, operation assisted delivers, hyper tension or prenatal morbidity is more in obese pregnant women than normal pregnant women. Since pregnant women are considered a part of the society, the impact that obesity has on them is also important to take under consideration.

This research was systematically carried out by organizing the research methodology in four boxes or sets. The first set was related to distribution of body mass indices while the second set consisted of demographic characteristics of maternal women based on their recorded body mass indices. The third set studied and analyzed the relationship between maternal outcomes and body mass indices while the fourth set critically carried out a multivariate analysis for the relationship mentioned above.

While obesity is posing a threat to the overall society, it is important to know that it is posing a threat to the maternal Australian women too. The article proves the prevalence of obesity to be an endemic challenge for a maternal Australian woman as a if such a woman is suffering from obesity, she is more likely to face critical complications throughout her pregnancy period. This research also helped in developing the understanding that body mass index is the most important indicator of obesity. If the BMI is 30 or greater than that, then the person is obese. Therefore the fact that the research conclusion depicted that greater BMI affects pregnant women of Australia negatively, also depicts that obesity affects pregnant women of Australia negatively.

Overweight, obesity and girth of Australian preschoolers: prevalence and socio-economic correlates — A paper from the International Journal of Obesity

This research also catered partially to our subject under consideration as it studied obesity in Australian population consisting of children. Since children form a vital part of society, this research paper provided a very detailed view of whether obesity is prevalent in this society segment and whether this is a serious problem in Australia or not and whether certain measures are needed to be taken immediately or not (Wake, Hardy, Canterford, Sawyer, & Carlin, 2006).

The research was designed to carry a multi and a single variable analysis for the purpose of carrying out a cross sectional survey of the pre-school population in Australia. The research participants were mainly preschoolers taken from all over the country. The ratio of boys to girls was approximately fifty percent. The research basically aimed at measuring the prevalence of obesity in Australian children aged four to five years a lot. The results revealed that the total percentage of obesity in Australian preschoolers is 5.5%. There is a solid chance that this percentage will increase if strong measures are not taken to control the rate of obesity. The results also revealed that 15.52% of the Australian preschoolers were overweight. Likelihood of overweight resulting in obesity is very high. Thus there is a potential risk for an alarming increase in obesity within the Australian preschooler population.

The results also delineated that the Australian preschoolers that had higher body mass indices actually depicted certain similar socio economic factors. An interesting socio economic factor was that children that spoke different language than English had a higher body mass index as compared to the children who spoke English. Status also appeared to be related to the body mass index of the children.

This research paper therefore served to develop the basic understanding of the topic under consideration. It helped with gaining information regarding the future and present rates of obesity in Australia. The socio economic factors also developed an understanding about the prevalence of obesity in Australia and impact of Australian society and culture on different kinds of Australian residents.

The research also highlighted the importance of studying the younger population of Australia, as it will not only be an indicator of the future obesity rates but also give an overall understanding of the negativities of the culture and the society that are disabling the overall capability of a child by resulting in obesity.

The research revealed critical obesity problems in the preschooler Australians. Therefore, the need for national measures against obesity has clearly originated. If the problem is not controlled at this stage, this might lead to disastrous affect on the public health of Australia. Therefore, the research adds towards having a better understanding of existing problems in the Australian culture and society in order to alter them for the betterment of the overall society.

Weight and place: a multilevel cross-sectional survey of area-level social disadvantage and overweight/obesity in Australia – A paper from the International Journal of Obesity

The research paper identifies obesity as a threat to the life expectancy of the people due to its ability to cause an increase the probability of fatal diseases. The research also reveals that all developed countries, including Australia, consist of 50 to 60% obesity percentage which is still increasing. The research design was based on cross sectional and multi-variable research study. The research basically studied the population of Melbourne from which a set of respondents were taken. The sample respondents were taken from 20 local districts of Melbourne. The research basically measured the prevalence of obesity in the sample respondents through their body mass indices (Kavanagh, King, Jolley, Turrel, & Crawford, 2005).

The relationship between the body mass index and socio economic factors was also considered in the research as they were organized into categories, high, medium and low according to the effect that each factor had on the body mass index. The variables that were studied on an individual level basically obtained information such as gender and age. Age was categorized in six categories. Occupation, income and the level of education were also few of the individual factors to be studied. This information was obtained from the surveys and polls conducted as a part of this research.

The research carried out a separate analysis for males and females as the difference in gender is likely to have different impact and implication. The results of the research depicted that almost 14% of men and 13% of women were obese while 55% of men and 40% of women are either overweight or obese. Considering that there were geographical limitations for this research, the results obtained actually depicted a limited overview of the total Australian population. However, if the percentage of obesity is so high in one area of the country, the total percentage will be extremely high which poses a threat to the overall public health of Australia.

It is important to note here that the research study had certain limitations. There were more women in the sample respondents as compared to men. The second limitation was that the body mass index was self reported by the sample respondents. BMIs that are self reported usually have some kind of an error. So while this can be taken as an indicator of the current status of obesity in Australia, it cannot be taken as a correct measure.

This research gives a direction to our discussion on the subject under consideration as it provides factual information regarding the prevalence of obesity in Australian society. It also studies the effects on socio economic factors such as occupation, income, level of education etc. All of these factors have an impact, direct or indirect, on the body mass index of a person.

Critical Discussion of the Four Sources

While all the four sources were relevant to my topic of discussion, the first three resources were more relevant than the fourth one. While the first three resources dealt with different sections of Australian society and culture in relationship with body mass index and obesity, the fourth one dealt with a general evaluation of obesity prevalence based on the effect of socio economic factors on obesity. While the topic indicates that the fourth resource is also as useful as the three, but there were a lot of limitations associated with the fourth resource that have a negative impact on the perceived credibility of the research.

Overall, all the resources that have been discussed above form a basic understanding of obesity in today’s Australian culture and society. All of these resources discuss various socio economic factors that form a major part of the Australian society and culture. Also the fact that different kinds of Australian population are being studied in each paper helps me to base my knowledge about the topic about the overall population and not just general population. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that these resources helped me develop the context for the topic under consideration i.e. obesity in today’s Australian culture and society.


Cameron, A.J., Zimmet, P.Z., Dunstan, D.W., Dalton, M., Shaw, J.E., Welborn, T.A., . . . Jolley, D. (2003). Overweight and Obesity in Australia: the 1999-2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. The Medical Journal of Australia,


Kavanagh, A.M., King, T., Jolley, D., Turrel, G., & Crawford, D. (2005). Weight and place: a multilevel cross-sectional survey of area-level social disadvantage and overweight/obesity in Australia. International Journal of Obesity, 281-287.

McIntyre, DH, Gibbons, K.S., Flenady, V.J., & Kallaway, L.K. (2012). Overweight and Obesity in Australian Mothers: An epidemic or endemic? The Medical Journal of Australia, 184-188.

Wake, M., Hardy, P., Canterford, L., Sawyer, M., & Carlin, J.B. (2006). Overweight, obesity and girth of Australian preschoolers: prevalence and socio-economic correlates. International Journal of Obesity, 1044-1051.

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