Obesity Rates in Australia Aborigines and Native Americans
ObesityRates in Australia Aborigines and Native Americans
ObesityRates in Australia Aborigines and Native Americans
Obesityis a growing global challenge in the world today. One of the reasonsthat make it gain such a critical worldwide importance is as a resultof its association with chronic illnesses such as Diabetes Type2(Pulgaron & Delamater, 2014). Several societies used to havelesser problems with this kind of situation, but with increasingindustrialization and influence from the west, several of them had tochange lifestyles and diet which led to high levels of the conditionin those regions. The Australian Aborigines and the Native Americansare some of the most sought after groups that are currentlyexperiencing a recent upsurge in the rates of obesity. Some of thefactors associated with this health hazard are the reduction inphysical activities, change of diet to match that of the west that isfull of high calories and cholesterol intake as well as high screentime among adolescents. The result of these issues is that the worldhas turned its attention to media gimmicks instead of confronting thesocial, economic issues associated with this increase of obesityamong the rural communities of Australia and the United States. Atthis juncture, this paper will attempt to compare and contrast theincrease in obesity to these regions in regards to the lifestyleissues mentioned.
Increased Screen Time
Thereis a consensus that traditional societies of both Aboriginal andNative America had fewer obesity problems when television had notbeen fully appreciated. According toFolds,Rodgers, Duncan and Ferguson (2016), theaverage time spent on screen today is 3.5 hrs per day for children,and about 50 percent of indigenous older Americans confirm to spendabout 2 hours in a day on screen. The study was conducted among theNative Amercans, and it echoes those other studies made by otherscholars over the same issue but to the Aborigines of Australia.Before the introduction of the television to these native groups backin the 1940s the challenge was not there, but now it extends even toother normal activities such as the physical exercise of theadolescents and even intake of food for those who watcher longeramong the Australian Aborigines (Thurber, Dobbins, Neeman, Banell &Banks, 2017).
Justlike inthe Aboriginal Australians, when it gets to screening the boys spendmuch more time than the girls hence gain weight faster. In the NativeAmericans, the challenge of screen time is well discussed, but thenumbers also are alarming just like for the Aboriginal Australians.One thing that stands out is that screen time affects other socialendeavors such as physical exercise because an individualconcentrates on the screen rather than going to hunt for food or doexercises. In a study conducted by Holm et al., (2013) obesity waspositively correlated with screen time. By using a regressionanalysis, they found out that among the Native Americans, obesity hada link with both passive and active television viewing. But, boys arethe ones who are most affected with television screening because theyview much more than the girls (OR=1.69 for girls and boys =2.1).Thesevalues share some association with the results found in theAboriginal Australians (boys spend 264 minutes per days while girlsspend about 196 minutes per day) (Olds et al., 2006).
Reduced Physical Activity
InAustralian Aboriginal lifestyle before the invasion of the Europeanlifestyle led to the introduction of employment activities thatrequired less hunting and gathering and the introduction of socialwelfare programs led to less physical activity among the nativeAustralians(Thurber et al., 2017). As a result, physical activityrates went down, and this led to an increase in obesity rates acrossthe board. An average indigenous Aboriginal child exercises threetimes less than that from a non-indigenous group but it is the girlchild who runs the risk of higher body mass index since the age of 3going into the childbearing years than the boys. They exercise muchless than the boys and therefore gain weight much faster and losingit becomes a challenge. According to the Native Americans, theintroduction of new ways of hunting for food through employment ledto the introduction of less physical endeavors and this as wellresulted into increased food intake and limited exercise. Reducedphysical activity is also associated with more screen time, and thisincreases with age (Olds et al., 2006).
Changing to Western Diet
Beforethe Europeans entered into Australia, most diets had more vegetablecontent than sea foods and fatty meats as well as sugars. As aresult, many people used to depend on hunting and growing traditionalfoods which had higher fiber content and lesser sugars than it istoday. After the introduction of the westernized style of eating,most native Aborigines consume fast foods bought from supermarketswhich are majorly junky and less in fiber. In fact, they are mostlyused to purchasing them and less time is spent in planting them.Today, they eat almost anything with high carbohydrates less proteinwhich therefore affects the body mass index. As a result, the BMI ofmost of them is at 25.0 and above, and 565 of the populationdocuments this. They grow less likely in height than in fatness.
Justlike in the Aboriginal diet that is always full of proteins, theNative Americans are said to consume more fatty foods and fewervegetables, drinks, and fruits. According to a recent survey byVijayakumar, Wheelock, Kobes, Nelson,Hanson, Knowler and Sinha (2016),among the male cohorts the last decade has seen, an increase inweight of over 20 kg was among the native Indians. Previously thiswas not a common thing during the 1940s because hunting and gatheringwere the only ways of surviving (Thurber et al., 2017). The dramaticupsurge of weight is largely as a result of lesser drinks, fruits,and vegetables which were easily found in bushes and plantationsduring the pre-colonization lifestyle intervention. Also, theyconcentrate on sugary carbohydrates for the sake of compensating formore time spent in relaxation and idleness because of their lowsocio-economic status in the rural areas.
Increased Screen time
USNative American children spend more time on television than thenative Australian ones. In this finding, one notes that Americanchildren have more exposure to television due to their passive andactive association with television screens. For the Australian childor adult, the issue of passive and active may not be well documented,but one thing that stands out is that they are less affected by filmwatching activities in theaters than those from the United States.They spend lesser time going to theater houses than for the normalnative American, and that is why there is a difference of about twoto three hours between them and the American (Olds et al., 2006).
Reduced Physical Activity
Therate of bodily exercises among the Native Americans seems to be muchhigher than that indicated by the native Australians. In a study byGray, Macniven and Thomson (2013)aboutonly 50% of the children under the study in America indicated thatthey had participated in the exercise of over 60 minutes. For theNative Americans, a regression analysis that was conducted by Holm etal. (2013) pointed out that only at OR=0.82 for girls and OR=0.83 forboys had undertaken an exercise of over 60 minutes in the previous 12months. In this dimension, when the numbers are contrasted with thethose from the last Australian study on physical activity only 38% ofboys had participated n physical activity in the last 12 months andabout 23 percent for girls(Gray et al., 2013). In comparing theaverages, only 30% of indigenous people indicated to have done anyphysical activity in the last 12 months (Gray et al., 2013).Thesenumbers tend to mean that Aboriginal children in Australia are muchfatter than those in native America if all things were kept constant.
Changing To Western Diet
Theproportion of Aboriginal Australia individuals who consume fast foodsand fatty meals stands at 38.4 percent, but the degree of childrenconsuming both fatty foods and beverages among the Native Americansis quite lower than that of the latter group (Thurber et al., 2017).It can only be concluded that way because of a higher proportion ofAustralian children who are obese than the Native Americans. At 95percent confidence interval, the standard deviation for taking fruitsand vegetables in the last 24 hours was 3.09 for girls and 2.95 forboys (Holm et al., 2013). Also, the standard deviation for consumingfatty foods and high sugar foods is 5.43 for girls and 6.15 for thenative boys (Holm et al., 2013). The figures can only mean that thereis a higher probability for the Australian kids to be consuming morefast foods which contain more fatty foods such as meat, excessivesugar content foods.
Regardingthe consumption of carbonated beverages and high-energy drinks, theAustralian Aborigines consume more than other groups in the country.The proportion of energy obtained from consuming the high energydrinks is four times higher than any other group in the country at 38percent. The other group, American Natives indicates that only 22.5 %consume fruits and drink fruit juices (Pulgaron & Delamater,2014). The rate is quite low in comparison to the data about theAborigines who take almost four times the national standards ofAustralia. It is, therefore, critical for the policy makers toemphasize education from the early stages of these peoples’development so that, they can start ensuring that intake of foodswith high sugars levels and fats are reduced. Also, they shouldendeavor to ensure that children undertake exercises at early stagesand continue it into adulthood.
AustralianAborigines and Native Americans share a common phenomenonunderstanding but for the wrong reason, obesity. Given the kind ofsimilarities they share based on the rate of limited physicalactivity, high fatty and energy foods intake as well as increasedscreen times, there is only one converging axis that obesity in thesetwo regions is higher now more than ever. Regardless, there are somedifferences based on the three issues whereby, American childrenspend more time on television and exercise more than the Australian,and they take in considerably lower fatty foods than the Aborigines.In conjunction with that, there is only one conclusive remark thatthe Australian Aborigines need rapid intervention regardingcontrolling fatty food intake, but about the time spent on screensNative Americans require a faster institutional response from thepolicy makers than any other group in the world.
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Vijayakumar,P., Wheelock, K.M., Kobes, S, Nelson, R.G.,Hanson, R.L., Knowler W.C & Sinha, M. (2016).Secular changes in physical growth and obesity among southwesternAmerican Indian children over four decades. Pediatric Obesity.doi:10.1111/ijpo.12199.
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