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Health Problems

Health Problems

Author: Paul Hannan

Identify major health issues impacting society.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain Earth; Public Domain Lego; Public Domain Thermometer; Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this episode of Sociology, Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on health problems. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial.

So today, we're going to be looking at health problems, and we're looking at the health problems that are really the major ones that face the world. And I'm just going to highlight two that I think are the biggest issues facing the world. So the first major health issue facing the world is obesity, and this is especially true-- when I think of the world there, I'm really thinking about the modernized, developed, high-income world.

So obesity is really when you're-- just the idea that you're unhealthy from carrying too much weight and fat. And this has become a really major problem in our modern society where we are having more things automated for us. We're spending less time doing physical activity, and a lot of us work in jobs that are desk jobs. We don't actually move a lot as a part of our work.

Now, it is true that there are some cultural habits that make obesity worse or better in different cultures, but I think overall, it's really a major issue facing the world. Especially, though, if you look at the United States of America, we have some really unhealthy habits which makes us have one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Last time I saw, I think Australia and America were the two highest rates of obesity. We have considerably more people that are overweight and gross overweight than much of the world.

Now, there's some arguments on why those happen and how that exactly works, but one of the things that gets used to help us understand obesity is the body mass index. And what that really is is just a calculation that basically gives you a quick way to figure out if you're healthy or not. So you're trying to figure out, what is the ratio to body weight to height? And it doesn't always work that well, because some people, they might be heavy, but they're actually really heavily muscled as well, and so they're actually really healthy, but it is something that sociologists and other people who study obesity use as a quick reference for looking at overweightness.

Now, an interesting thing that I think really closely ties into obesity is this idea of an eating disorder. So eating disorders can come about in many different ways. You can have people that eat too much, people that don't eat, people that eat and then force themselves to throw up, and what they all really are is they're all abnormal eating habits, they're all excessive behaviors, and they're all psychologically unstable.

Now, I tie those into obesity because I think at their core, they have some of the same issues. We, as a modern society, we have a lot of body image issues, and we have this ideal human body that is really actually hard for us to attain. It's not natural for us to look the way that we want our supermodels to look. That can force people into eating habits or be the catalyst for them to enter abnormal eating habits. Just an example there, eating disorders, probably the one that is most well known is anorexia, and that is when you are basically starving yourself. And the other probably most well-known eating disorder is bulimia, and that is where you're eating and then forcing yourself to throw up and purge after you eat.

Now, the other major issue I want to talk about today is AIDS. It stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome, and it's a sexually transmitted disease. And this disease, what it does is it attacks the human body's immune system. So you don't generally actually die from AIDS. What AIDS does is it makes you so weak that your body dies from some other thing that you normally would have been able to fight off relatively easily.

Now, the AIDS epidemic, specifically, in America, is not as high as it once was. Our sex education has gotten much better. We understand what you can and cannot do when you have people around you that have AIDS.

But as a global issue, AIDS is still a major issue, and there are many people throughout the world who are still contracting and then dying, maybe if it's even indirectly dying, though, because of AIDS. You see this probably the worst in parts of Africa. There is some cultural taboos against the use of condoms. This whole AIDS epidemic takes on a whole other level when you're fighting against some cultural norms there.

So today's takeaway message, we looked at two major issues facing the world. We looked at obesity and AIDS, obesity being the on healthiness from carrying too much weight and fat, and AIDS being the Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome, which attacks the human body's immune system. I also talked about the body mass index, which is that ratio of weight to height, and eating disorders, which are abnormal eating habits that are psychologically unstable, and they're really an excessive behavior. Well, that's it for this lesson. Good work, and hopefully, you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know

The acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that attacks the body's immune system.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

A calculation which judges body weight by comparing it to height.

Eating Disorder

Abnormal eating habits which involve excessive behaviors and psychological instability.


A state of unhealthiness from carrying too much weight and fat.