In General Psychology, a student learns about how the human brain functions, only to have that same information applied in Pathophysiology. Logical fallacies learned in English Composition are used to debunk the rationale justifying some corrupt behavior in a debate in Bioethics or Critical Thinking.
The large biological molecules discussed in General Biology and Biochemistry are the very same energy sources at play in Applied Nutrition. Even worse, this “conspiracy” persists into the professional programs and careers. Information gained in Sociology helps students to understand how societal factors can impact health behaviors. The skills learned in Math for General Studies or College Algebra are essential for accurately performing drug calculations and safely administering the correct dosage, while the principles of Servant Leadership establish and/or cement the foundation of an empathic healthcare provider with a commitment to lifelong learning. Well, here’s the truth – there is no conspiracy. There is, however, a natural integration of knowledge among seemingly diverse disciplines, as well as between the liberal arts and sciences as a whole and professional program education.
As evidence of the relationship among the biological sciences, social sciences and health care, Dr. Susan Brown, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences, and Dr. Marti Doyle, Professor of Social Sciences, will be collaborating on a presentation at the 8th Annual Heartland Global Health Consortium Conference: The Social Determinants of Health on Wednesday, October 5, 2016.
Their presentation, “Examining the Social Determinants of Childhood Obesity”, will examine how the social conditions that surround children can impact health behaviors such as food choices and exercise. These factors are particularly significant for children as they have limited control over significant environmental and behavioral factors such as place of residence, access to facilities and diet.
Drs. Brown and Doyle have chosen to highlight this issue because childhood obesity is increasing. According to the World Health Organization (2104), the number of obese infants and children has increased from 32 million globally in 1990 to 42 million in 2013. This rise in childhood obesity rates is alarming because obese children suffer from both short-term and long-term health consequences. Childhood obesity has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stress, sleep apnea, and asthma. When obesity continues into adulthood, these individuals face a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, some cancers, and depression (Barnes, 2012; WHO, 2016 ).
The first step in the development of interventions is to recognize the factors that contribute to childhood obesity. The Institute of Medicine (2012) cites global research that shows that obesity is a complex problem that involves socioeconomic, cultural, and environment factors that influence activity levels and food choices. In addition, there are multiple levels of influence on human behavior, so effective interventions must address and integrate both contributing factors and level of influence.
If you wish to learn more about this and other global health issues, please consider attending the Heartland Global Health Consortium Conference. Click below for full conference details and registration information.
Barnes, S. ( 2012). Reducing childhood obesity in Ontario through a health equity lens. Retrieved from http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Reducing-Childhood-Obesity-in-Ontario.pdf
Institute of Medicine. (2012). Accelerating progress in obesity prevention: Solving the weight of the nation. DOI: 10. 17226/13275
World Health Organization (2014). Facts and figures on childhood obesity. Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/end-childhood-obesity/facts/en/
World Health Organization.( 2016). Why does childhood overweight and obesity matter? Retrieved from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood_consequences/en/