Social Representations of Obesity in Pre-University and University Youth

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Erika Collipal L. & María Pía Godoy B.


Obesity is currently considered a global epidemic in children, adolescents and adults. Clinical studies have shown obese children having various associated diseases such as psychological diseases, orthopedic problems due to overload on the musculoskeletal system, dyspnea during exercise, cardiovascular risk factors, endocrine disorders and liver disorders. The prevention of obesity in childhood and adolescence is very relevant, and knowing the information shared by these groups on obesity, is a way to better approach the issue. This cross sectional study was carried out in order to determine the concept pre-university and undergraduate university students who are in the health care areas have. Furthermore, it is based on the fact that these students will be the professionals who will be active participants in health education. The students were selected by cluster sampling: 200 adolescents of both sexes between 18-20 years of age of pre-university students of the occupational therapy, nursing and nutrition, and dietetics degree programs. The main results indicate that students´ concepts in terms with semantic value of obesity are as follows: disease, fatty foods, problems and a sedentary lifestyle. These results demonstrate that students acknowledge that obesity is an illness, in which sedentary lifestyle and nutrition have a high semantic value associated with obesity. Child education should encourage physical activity and healthy nutritional habits, while management of the problem should be all-inclusive and place special emphasis on the family and educational institutions.

KEY WORDS: Obesity; Education; Teens; Semantic networks; Sedentary.

How to cite this article

COLLIPAL, L. E. & GODOY, B. M. P. Social representations of obesity in pre university and university youth from the city of Temuco. Int. J. Morphol., 33(3):877-882, 2015.