This study examines the increasing rates of obesity among American children in recent years, and the role that parents play in determining the weight of their children. Previous literature has found that the socio-economic status and eating patterns of parents are important factors in determining whether their children will be obese. In addition, studies have found that the prevalence of mothers in the workplace, poor nutrition in schools, and declining levels of physical activity all lead to obesity among children. In this study, socialization theory, social reproduction theory, and feminism are used to understand the role parents play in determining overweight or obesity among American children. Survey research is proposed to further understand the causation of child obesity. Questionnaires were administered to a random sample of parents whose children are between the ages of six and eleven. Parents were asked a number of questions including those addressing the eating habits and activity levels of themselves and their children, their level of daily control over feeding practices, whether or not the mother is working outside of the home, along with questions about their occupations and levels of education. This study is unique because it approaches the issue of child obesity from a sociological perspective. Instead of simply addressing the issues from a biological standpoint, this study examines the role of environmental and societal factors in determining child obesity.


Hurst, Charles E.


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150

Request Access



© Copyright 2004 Whitney L. Cawley