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Question: Community Health Problem: Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Urban Communities

13 Sep 2023,11:44 AM



Choose a specific community health problem; describe why it is a problem in general and for that specific community. Compare and contrast how two different theories might be used to address the health problem (apply the theory constructs). We will focus on intrapersonal/interpersonal theories discussed in class for this assignment. Briefly discuss the theoretical assumptions of each theory and then derive intervention activities stemming from each theory; draw upon strategies you have learned about thus far in the course. In your conclusion, assess whether one of the theories and its interventions seems the most appropriate for the problem.


Study Example Tip:

Community Health Problem: Childhood Obesity in Low-Income Urban Communities

Why it is a Problem:

Childhood obesity is a significant public health issue worldwide. In low-income urban communities, this problem is particularly pronounced due to a combination of social, economic, and environmental factors. These communities often lack access to affordable healthy foods, safe places for physical activity, and face numerous barriers to making healthy lifestyle choices. Childhood obesity can lead to immediate health issues, such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems, and has long-term consequences, including an increased risk of obesity-related diseases in adulthood.

Comparison of Two Theories:

Two theories that can be applied to address childhood obesity in low-income urban communities are the Health Belief Model (HBM) and the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT).

  1. Health Belief Model (HBM):

    Theoretical Assumptions:

    • Individuals will take health-related action if they perceive themselves as susceptible to a health problem.
    • Individuals must believe that taking a specific action will reduce their susceptibility or severity of the health problem.
    • Perceived benefits of taking action must outweigh perceived barriers.
    • Cues to action, such as education or awareness, can stimulate health-promoting behaviors.

    Intervention Activities:

    • Conduct health education programs in schools and community centers to raise awareness about childhood obesity and its risks.
    • Provide information about the benefits of healthy eating and regular physical activity.
    • Address perceived barriers by offering affordable healthy food options in local stores and creating safe play areas in communities.
    • Utilize social marketing campaigns to promote healthy behaviors and provide incentives for participation.
  2. Social Cognitive Theory (SCT):

    Theoretical Assumptions:

    • Individuals learn from observing others (social learning).
    • Self-efficacy, the belief in one's ability to perform a behavior, plays a crucial role in behavior change.
    • Reciprocal determinism: Behavior, personal factors, and the environment interact to influence health behaviors.

    Intervention Activities:

    • Implement school-based programs that involve peer modeling and support, where children learn healthy behaviors from their classmates.
    • Train parents and caregivers on modeling and reinforcing healthy habits at home.
    • Enhance self-efficacy through skill-building activities, such as cooking classes, where children and families learn to prepare healthy meals.
    • Collaborate with community organizations to create a supportive environment that encourages physical activity through sports leagues and fitness classes.


Both the Health Belief Model (HBM) and the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) offer valuable insights and intervention strategies to address childhood obesity in low-income urban communities. However, in this context, the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) may be more appropriate. SCT emphasizes the importance of social learning, self-efficacy, and the environment in shaping behaviors. Given the complex nature of childhood obesity and the multiple factors involved, SCT's focus on social and environmental factors aligns well with the challenges faced by low-income urban communities. By addressing these factors and empowering individuals with the skills and self-efficacy needed for behavior change, SCT interventions have the potential to be more effective in reducing childhood obesity rates in this specific community.

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