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In this piece, you may find it easier to make your argument if you focus on a particular aspect of a health issue (eg. ‘Treatment of drug addiction’, rather than ‘addiction’ or ‘health promotion to reduce smoking rates’ rather than ‘smoking’). You may use one, two, or a few theorists to explain or better understand your issue. Make sure your argument is clearly articulated and your written piece well organised to convey your argument. Spell out your argument both at the start of your paper (I am going to argue that…) and at the end (I have shown that…).

Specific criteria

  • Clear description of the health issue to be addressed in your paper
  • Clear description of the theory (or theories) chosen to analyse the problem and why it (they) was chosen
  • Analysis of the health issue using the theory (or theories)
  • Explanation of the value that this analysis could add to efforts to address this health issue

Generic criteria

  • Critical thinking
  • Coherent written expression
  • Logical organisation and presentation
  • Evidence of editing & proofreading

Causes and Consequences of Obesity

‘Obesity’ has been characterised as a state of comorbidity, due to the accumulation of harmful adipose tissue deposition, abnormally and in excessive amounts as compared to normal healthy states. Such detrimental conditions arise, due to the behavioural discrepancies in the individual, associated with unhealthy dietary and lifestyle behaviours and habits (Gonsalves, Hawk &Goodenow, 2014). The therapeutic features of behavioural therapy, are based on behavioural theory, aims to modify the occurrences of harmful behaviours in an individual (Wadden et al., 2014).

In this essay, I am going to argue that behavioural therapy, with the aid of behavioural theory, is an effective method for the treatment of obesity, as compared to additional methods, due to adherences to unhealthy lifestyle and dietary behaviours.

The disease condition of obesity is outlined by the occurrences of an increased body weight in an individual, which exists at unhealthy levels, as compared normal and desired standards. With the onset of increased occupational stresses followed by adherence to sedentary lifestyles, there has been a rapid rise in the trends of obesity prevalence in the population. As opined by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which is a part of the Australian Government, the comorbid condition of obesity has been increased recognised as a diseases epidemic in Australia, with over a quarter of the population, which is almost 26%, residing in a state of obesity and overweight in the year 2015 (Leslie et al., 2015). A reduced performance of adequate physical activity, increased adherence to a sedentary lifestyle and consumption of unhealthy diet resulting in increased calorie intake as compared to calories metabolised, are the causative factors behind obesity.

Hence, strict adherence to a balanced, low fat and low sugar diet, followed by adequate exercise has been outlined as primary treatments for obesity (Paul et al., 2015). Despite the proven effectiveness of the above, individuals still face a considerable lack in motivation and a loss in self-control during long term weight maintenance stages, due to temptation and desire to consume convenient and pleasing processed foods, further acting as triggers leading to unhealthy dietary and lifestyle behaviours. For this reason, there is a need to utilise alternative methods for the treatment of obesity, which will not only aim to induce rapid weight loss in the individual but also to instil long term changes with respect to his or her habits, especially the trigger factors associated with the consumption of unhealthy foods and abidance of a sedentary lifestyle (Ratcliffe& Ellison, 2015).

Shortcomings of Conventional Treatment Methods

The theoretical principles of behavioural therapy, are based on the psychological concept of ‘behaviourism’ or ‘behavioural theory’. In accordance to psychological principle, behavioural theory is based on the idea that an individual’s behaviour is determined by the principles of conditioning, which is based on the idea that the individuals exhibit certain types of behaviour, due to the presence of certain trigger or stimulatory factors in the environment surrounding their immediate vicinity (Shou et al., 2017). Hence, the basic principles of behaviour exhibited by humans can be analysed and interpreted through careful observation and identification of these conditioning factors.

Hence, advocators of behavioural therapy establish their functioning treatment principles on the idea that establishment of positive alterations and beneficial modifications are possible in any individual, through correct identification of the stimulating factors followed by the adoption of specific procedures of learning, which will aim to alter the occurrences of unhealthy behaviours (Hahn et al., 2015).Hence, based on the above, behavioural therapy is determined by the salient functioning of the principles of classical and operant conditioning. While the features of classical conditioning are determined by the formation of associations between stimuli, the principles of operant conditioning are determined by the application of rewarding or punishment, for the purpose of regulating these associations (Hildebrandt et al., 2015)

Hence, this makes behavioural therapy highly dependent on action and can be classified in to several types, such as theory of social learning, analysis of applied behaviour and cognitive behavioural therapy. While social learning theories rely on the usage of observation for change, cognitive behavioural attempts to alter the detrimental thoughts pertaining to one’s behaviour, and applied behaviour analysis relies heavily on the conductance of conditioning. Either way, every type of behavioural therapy aims at locating the underlying cause, followed by reduction of harmful behaviours – a characteristic attribute in obesity (DuBois et al., 2017). The phenomenon of social theory specifies the theoretical frameworks describing the reasons behind various societal behaviours, on philosophical, political and sociological platforms (Boxenbaum, 2014).

While beneficial short term implications have been associated upon abidance of a low fat diet, followed by adequate exercise, often individuals exhibit detrimental outcomes during long term events outlining weight maintenance and appropriate dietary principles (Heymsfield&Wadden, 2017). Hence, due to the intrinsic association between harmful life sustenance habits and the resultant obesity, the usage of behavioural theory along with necessary behavioural therapy has been reported to yield beneficial health outcomes in the concerned patient (Fitzpatrick et al., 2016).According to behavioural theory associated with obesity, the behaviours of overweight individuals are triggered due to the presence of stimuli associated with the olfactory features of their favourite food, along with factors such as hunger or specific time (Best et al., 2016).

Effectiveness of Behavioural Therapy in the Treatment of Obesity

An additional behavioural theory suggests eating habits unique to obese patients, which involve consumption of large portion sizes along with reduced number of bites (O’Reilly et al., 2014). Hence, with respect to the first theory, where obese individuals are influenced by triggers such as television viewing while eating, or expectation of sweet treats after the end of a meal, therapeutic principles will require removal of desserts, habits to eat in a smaller plate or engaging in activities other than those associated with eating.

For the eating styles, obese individuals can be trained to perform behaviours associated with chewing specific number of times or choosing difficult to consume, crunchy textured foods (Forman et al., 2016). Further, according to social theory, several societal aspects have also been linked to increased obesity prevalence. These include: increased technology leading to sedentary life, usage of machines as compared to manual labour and the low cost production of high calories foods resulting in greater calorie consumption by economically underprivileged populations (Shoham et al., 2015).

Despite the potential beneficial implications exhibited by behavioural therapy in the treatment of obesity, the above theory and associated therapy have been overcome by considerable avoidance. This is due to the fact that behavioural therapy generally requires an increased amount of time as compared to conventional obesity therapeutic procedures, along with a repertoire of significant skills aimed at modifying intrinsic habits of the concerned obese patient. However, with the advancement of technology, there has been recent improvements through abolishing of these shortcomings, with the usage of computer assistance and interactions which do not require physical presence (Sockalingam et al., 2017).

Further, there have been reported beneficial outcomes by patients who have underwent behavioural theoretical treatment for obesity, resulting in a sustainable weight loss of 2 kilograms per month. Further, the usage of behavioural theory and therapy adds considerable value in the treatment of obesity, since it focusses on fulfilling realistic goals which can be monitored by the patient, further resulting in long term benefits due to modification of behaviours in the individual. (Manzoni et al., 2016).

Further, keeping social theory and the societal implications of obesity in mind, there is a need for collective social interventions for the prevention and treatment of obesity, which may include greater public awareness and education concerning the importance of healthy nutrient intake, along with adoption of practices pertaining to low cost production of home cooked, healthy food of lower calorie density (Hofman, 2016).

Theoretical Principles of Behavioural Therapy

Hence, it can be concluded that despite the possible shortcomings requiring increased time along with a set of competent skills, social and theory, have been implicated to reap potential health benefits in the efforts to treat and cure obesity. Hence, through this discussion, I have shown that usage of social and behavioural theory and therapeutic principles, can yield beneficial outcomes and behavioural changes in obese and overweight patients, as compared to alternative techniques, in the efforts to establish successful treatment procedures, in the harmful disease condition of obesity.


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Boxenbaum, E. (2014). Toward a situated stance in organizational institutionalism: Contributions from French pragmatist sociology theory. Journal of Management Inquiry, 23(3), 319-323.

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