Article review: “Dieting Habits of Men.” Journal of Community Health
The article tackles a topic that is of major relevance in the modern age; obesity. Obesity is not a confine of any particular group in the United States despite varying figures. The increasing rates of obesity are a cause for concern with respect to community health in general. Despite men comprising 49 percent of the population, weight control regarding dieting habits has not been studied extensively. The reason behind my choosing of obesity as the topic of interest was driven by the realization of the major role it plays in morbidity. The fact that a significant proportion of the population could be left out in research drove me to delve further into the contents of the article.
Obesity, in general, has been extensively studied in the past with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) tracking the relevant statistics. The prevalence of obesity in men above 20 years of age has increased steadily over the years: 32.2 percent between 2007- 2008 compared to 27.5 percent between 1999- 2000. The prevalence has increased further over the recent past with the prevalence between 2011 and 2014 recorded at 34.3 percent. Prevalence of obesity in years 2011- 2014 was highest among Hispanic men at 39 percent. Among Mexican- Americans, the prevalence is even higher at 40.4 percent. Despite similar prevalence rates between males and females, prevention programs have largely been skewed towards females.
The research study explores a subject matter not explored by many in the field of community health. Preventive dieting programs on the male population is an area that is not widely researched. As such, “the aim of the present study was to examine the dieting habits of a selected population of males and to determine interest in gender-specific weight control programs” (Vining, Cotugna, Fang, and Snider 762).
In the study, of the 254 participants, 114 were overweight while 54 were obese with the age of the participants ranging from 18 to 65 years. The had been attempts in the past year by men to change their eating habits. The average was one or two attempts with the most weight lost by an individual being more than 21 pounds. The longest an individual maintained the weight loss was more than 6 months. Most of the individuals that participated in the study were unsatisfied/ very unsatisfied with their weight at the present moment. Willingness to take part in a gender- specific weight loss program increased with an increase in Body Mass Index (BMI). The web- based survey also revealed that a majority of the respondents ate take- out meals or restaurant meals once or twice a week. Regarding information about weight loss, information was retrieved from websites, friends, newspapers and magazines, medical professionals, and dietitians in descending order.
The web- based survey of the male employee population of the University of Delaware is limited in a couple of ways. First of all, since the sample is geographically restricted, it is not representative of the male population in the United States. The lack of diversity of the sample is exhibited by the racial demographics of the sample. The authors also cited this limitation. The second disadvantage of the research method used is that respondents are likely to answer the survey questions to get the $100 gift card rather than to aid in the advancement of the study. The second limitation is a personal critique of the research.
The study explores a different perspective obesity that is mostly ignored. As such, highlighting the need for obesity prevention programs for men is something that should be considered by stakeholders in public health. If the study were to advance and explore a more diverse population, it could be of more help to stakeholders. I have learned that we still have a long way to go if we are to tackle obesity. The underrepresentation of such a significant proportion of the population is an illustration of the narrow approach when it comes to tackling lifestyle diseases.
Vining, Virginia L., Cotugna, Nancy, Fang, Chengshun, and Snider, O. Sue. “Dieting Habits of Men.” Journal of Community Health, no. 41, 2016, pp. 761- 766.