Article

The Sociology of Obesity

Jeffery Sobal

in The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736362
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199736362.013.0007

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Sociology of Obesity

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This chapter uses social behavior metatheories to classify some of the wide range of sociological analyses that have examined obesity. The sociological analyses of group dieting move beyond individualized psychological and health perspectives for group engineering of weight loss, and provide greater understanding of group dynamics, strategies employed by dieting organizations, and ways in which dieting groups are situated within larger social values and structures. Sociological analysis has often examined changes in social problems as a process of medicalization. The structure and dynamics of social networks in which individuals are embedded present unique perspectives about obesity. The stigmatization of obesity may be overcome by the trading of other personal attributes in exchanges between obese individuals and others. The study of obesity offers many insights that can be applied in diverse ways to predict, explain, prevent, and manage body weight.

Keywords: social behavior metatheories; obesity; sociological analyses; group dieting; social problems; social networks; stigmatization

Article.  6192 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare

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