Monday, March 9, 2015

Interdisciplinarity Among the Rise of Obesity


The issue I chose to focus on is obesity. There is a very large obesity epidemic occurring in our country and it has been constantly growing for years now. Interdisciplinarity is so important in finding a solution to put an end to the obesity epidemic. There is no single cause for the rise in obesity. It is a problem that stems from many different areas and that is why it is so important to view the problem from multiple perspectives.

Perspective on Reality
Perspective on Obesity
While the other natural sciences focus on the principles that govern the nonliving physical world, biology studies the behavior of the living physical world. When biologists venture into the world of humans, they look for physical, deterministic explanations of behavior (such as genes and evolution) rather than the mental ones (such as the decisions of individuals or groups based on free will or norms) on which the social sciences focus.
Views how the body functions physiologically. It examines how the body breaks down consumed foods and beverages and how the body utilizes it for energy or stores it as excess.

For example, the break down of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.
Chemistry focuses on the distinctive properties of the elements, individually and in compounds, and their interactions. Chemistry sees larger-scale objects, organic as well as inorganic, in terms of their constituent elements and compounds.
Views the chemical reactions that take place within the body, such as metabolic pathways.

For example, the function of insulin in a diabetic person (biochemistry).
Economics/business emphasizes the study of the productions and distribution of goods and services with the individual functioning as an autonomous, rational, and self-interested actor.
Views how the economy influences an individual’s ability to purchase healthy foods and access fitness centers.

For example, low-economic societies may not have the buying power to purchase healthier foods because of they are often more expensive.
Education views learning as developmental and governed by a linear and universal model of progress, civilization, democracy, rationality, and science. This modernist view is being challenged by a postmodern recognition of diversity and contextualization that values what is local and different.
Views how educated society is on leading a healthy life style.

For example, the implementation of physical and health education classes in school systems.
Physics studies the basic physical laws connecting objects (atoms and subatomic particles, quanta) and forces (gravitational, electromagnetics, strong, weak) that often cannot be directly observed but that establish the underlying structure of observable reality, and cosmology (the form, content, organization, and evolution of the universe).
Views the body’s ability to optimally perform during different exercises/movements.

For example, an obese person may have limited range of motion. 
Psychology sees human behavior as reflecting the cognitive constructs individuals develop to organize their mental activity. Psychologists also study inherent mental mechanisms, both genetic predisposition and individual differences.
Views an individual’s mentality when faced with obesity.

For example, was there a trigger in their childhood that contributed to their problems with obesity?  Or examining mental toughness when fighting obesity.
Sociology views the world as a social reality that includes the range and nature of the relationship that exist between people in any given society. Sociology is particular interested in voices of various subcultures, analysis of institutions, and how bureaucracies and vested interests shape life.
Views a society as a whole and the percentage of the population that is obese and what contributes to the problem of obesity.

For example, do southern states have higher obesity rates because of the popularity and commonality of fried food?

Repko, Allen F., Rick Szostak, and Michelle Phillips Buchberger. "Thinking Critically About Disciplinary Perspectives." Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. Thousand Oaks: SAGE, 2014. 150-52. Print.


  1. Thanks for getting this up, and well done! Note the white highlighting at the end that makes the citation hard to read, and do correct it if you can figure out the problem. Maybe this will help?

  2. Really cool, Carly! I'm betting Dr. Doherty's class was helpful in getting the Bio/Chem side of the story here, but of course, as you mention there are so many other fields at play in this problem. -Dr. O'Donnell