Childhood Obesity Perceptions in the Peruvian Amazon
Perez, Emily Nicole
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While childhood obesity is not typically a concern in developing countries, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of overweight and obese children within these limited resource countries. Various contributors play into why populations see this increase, most notably the improving economy. As countries, such as Peru, develop economically, they begin to see a double-standard phenomenon, where infant mortality rates and undernutrition are falling, yet the number of children becoming overweight and obese is rising. Perceptions of health dictate what needs to change and ultimately what policies are implemented. This qualitative study utilizes a field experience to explore how childhood obesity is perceived in an urban, semi urban, and rural setting in Amazonian Peru, and why or why not people in these areas believe childhood obesity to be an issue. Diet was also looked at as a potential issue, though most people did not see a connection between diet and weight gain. Most respondents did not believe childhood obesity to be an issue, though obesity in adults was viewed as increasingly prevalent in some interviews. Peruvians in this area of the Amazon Basin do not consider childhood obesity to be a concern, and many believe it is an issue for larger cities and more developed areas. Due to this perception, no governmental changes are likely to be implemented to combat the growing issue within this area.