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Health psychology Substance abuse, addictive behaviour and obesity © Hodder & Stoughton 2013
Activity Betty was quite slim in her teens, but has gradually increased in weight over the years and now, aged 35, has been diagnosed as obese. Betty drives to and from work every day and eats her lunch at her desk, usually a takeaway pizza. After work she stops off at a fast food restaurant on the way home to unwind with a burger or two. Betty was once a keen hockey player, but finds she has little time now for exercise. On arriving home she heats up a high- calorie ready-meal then spends the evening watching TV while eating fatty snacks and drinking sugary soft drinks. © Hodder & Stoughton 2013 What factors can you identify about Betty’s lifestyle that may have contributed to her becoming obese?
Factors in obesity Neurological factors Faulty functioning of the brain structure; the hypothalamus is seen as associated with the development of obesity, especially the ventromedial hypothalamus, which in normal people acts to inform people that they’re full, so that eating can cease. Hormones The amount of leptin influences the POMC and NPY neurones, which regulate appetite. Insulin affects the storage and usage of energy, with a link between insulin resistance and obesity. High levels of cortisol slow down the metabolism, decreasing the ability to burn fat, leading to overeating and weight increase. Ghrelin slows down metabolism, decreasing the ability to burn fat. © Hodder & Stoughton 2013 Psychodynamic factors Obesity is seen as arising from emotional deprivation and overindulgence during the oral stage in childhood, with an adult personality emerging dominated by oral- gratification through overeating. Depression and low self-esteem formed from unresolved childhood conflicts can also lead to oral- gratification through over-eating in adulthood. How could Betty’s obesity be explained by the factors outlined here?
Command words: The language of the learning outcomes Exam questions will require candidates to describe and evaluate causes of overeating and people becoming overweight to the point of obesity. This could be achieved by outlining biological and psychological contributors to overeating and obesity, with differentiation between candidates occurring through the amount of accurate detail provided. Evaluation could be based upon the degree of research support for individual factors, as well as practical applications, such as the development of effective strategies and treatments to address the negative effects of obesity. Evaluation could also centre on the ethical considerations of researching obese participants, relevant methodological considerations and how factors should be considered as having a cumulative effect, rather than working in isolation from each other. © Hodder & Stoughton 2013 Learning outcome: Discuss factors related to overeating and the development of obesity
Prevention strategies for obesity Health promotion Focus is on promoting: Healthy foods and reducing unhealthy food within the media and shops. Role models who demonstrate healthy eating and living. © Hodder & Stoughton 2013 Legislation and public health policy Focus is on: Using the tax system to make healthy foods accessible to all and limiting unhealthy foods. Controlling food quality in school and work environments. Physical exercise Focus is on: Increasing affordable opportunities for regular physical activity. Reducing sedentary activities, like watching TV and playing computer games. Health approaches Focus is on: Improving sleep patterns. Reducing stress levels.
Command words: The language of the learning outcomes Exam questions will require candidates to describe and evaluate the different means by which overeating and obesity can be tackled, including methods of prevention, as well as therapies for reducing the disorder. This could be achieved by outlining various prevention strategies, such as promoting healthy living, and specific therapies, such as anti-obesity drugs. Differentiation between candidates would depend upon the amount of accurate detail provided. Evaluation could be based upon the degree of research support for specific strategies and treatments, including combination of treatments rather than just individual ones. Comparing strategies and treatments could also be used to highlight relative strengths and weaknesses, as well as a theoretical consideration of the psychological approaches upon which specific strategies and treatments are based. © Hodder & Stoughton 2013 Learning outcome: Discuss prevention strategies and treatments for overeating and obesity
Sleep and obesity © Hodder & Stoughton 2013 Knutson (2011) investigated the effect that the quality of sleep has upon eating behaviour. Poor quality sleep was found to be linked with obesity, as it affected appetite regulation, glucose metabolism and blood pressure. Restricting sleep triggered ghrelin levels to boost appetite, so that food intake increased, but without any extra energy usage, leading to weight increase and heightened risk of obesity. 1.How does Knutson’s study suggest that sleep patterns can contribute to the development of obesity? 2.How could alterations in sleep patterns be used to reduce overeating and obesity?
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