Impact of Paternal Abandonment on Female Adult Obesity Term Paper

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Paternal Abandonment and Female Adult Obesity

This work will explore the obesity epidemic, first through a comprehensive analysis of its development, as well as through a literature review pertaining to obesity and its controversial causes. The work will then go on to describe in detail the findings of independent research regarding the issue of paternal abandonment between the ages of 6-19 and its effects on adult obesity in women. The initial findings from this study indicate that there is a causal relationship between adult female obesity and paternal abandonment between the ages of 6 and 19. If this is the case further exploration of this correlation is needed to better understand the development of such results.

Table of Contents


Statement of Problem


Review of Literature


Initial Screening

Sample Population




Access to Healthcare

Marital Status

Level of Education

Drinking and Smoking

Level of Education

Household Income



Directions for Future Research


Definitions of Terms


Appendix 1 Consent Form

Appendix 2 Questionnaire

Appendix 3 Raw DataDownload full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Impact of Paternal Abandonment on Female Adult Obesity Assignment

The fact that a man can father a child and then flee from the task of being a father is one of the most frequent and insidious crimes of all times. it's insidious by virtue of contravening justice on a scale far different, for example, than theft: theft is fully remedied when the stolen object or an equivalent one returns into our hands; the absence of a father bears consequences throughout the whole of a life, and even for the following generation. The abandonment of millions of children on the part of their fathers in every corner of the civilized Western world is a different but no less flagrant crime than the injustice suffered by America's slaves or Russia's serfs. it's therefore stunning to be able to defeat this crime by way of a simple laboratory test, without the rivers of blood of the War of Secession or the massacres waged by the White and Red Armies. (Zoja, 2001, p. 285)


Obesity is a significant and current social and physical issue in the world today. (Anderson & Butcher, 2006, p. 19) it is particularly troubling in developed nations and is currently labeled and epidemic in the United States. Many people seek to find answers to the obesity question within the biological and physical spheres of study, blaming the entire situation of obesity on the poor eating habits and low level of physical activity of those who suffer from it. One area of obesity research that has been neglected is its connection to psychological factors. The psychology of obesity is a significant and demonstrative factor in the behaviors that cause obesity as well as in its manifestation, which has recently become increasingly youthful, with children as young as two-five showing early symptoms of obesity as well as a potential future of obesity into adulthood. (Anderson & Butcher, 2006, p. 19)

The psychological effects of self-esteem, either good or bad, are also not completely understood, and the majority of information about self-esteem and its connection to weight is associated with the fear of becoming overweight or the response individuals have in the area of self-esteem in response to a physical situation of overweight and/or obesity. (Skemp-Arlt, 2006, p. 45) One particular issue of self-esteem is the foundational connection an individual has with primary caregivers and specifically with fathers. Many of the scarce studies that assess self-esteem and other issues that are influenced by parents, and that focus on the father as an influencing factor focus on psychosexual development, rather than the development of overall health, such as the absence of obesity. (Scheffler & Naus, 1999, p. 39) it is clear that fathers have a significant impact on many areas of child development and psychology, not the least of which is the development of healthy self-esteem.

A growing number of overweight youth experience health problems that are likely to carry over into adulthood. As this century progresses, that number is set to climb higher, for as the statistics that follow here show, kids are not only getting fatter; they are getting fatter faster. The number of overweight children and adolescents was relatively stable from the 1960s to 1980 but then nearly doubled by 1994. It has since continued to spike upward rather than plateau. (Dalton, 2004, p. 28)

The long-term complications include the early onset of any number of obesity related health issues, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke not to mention the sometimes devastating psychological effects that some overweight children endure as a result of the prejudices and discrimination they receive as a result of being overweight.

Additionally primary caregivers set the stage for healthy vs. unhealthy environments, physical activity and eating habits. Children with less direct access to supervision, say in a situation of a single working parent are often left on their own to fend for themselves when making dietary and activity decisions. They are offered a variety of convenience foods, as they are easy to prepare and they are also often barred from leaving the home, while parents are away, limiting physical activity. (Lindsay, Sussner, Kim & Gortmaker, 2006, p. 169) This according to many researchers puts children at risk of future obesity, as it establishes a sedentary lifestyle, during formative years.

Children and adolescents spend more time watching television than they do in almost any other activity. By the time they reach school-age, about half of U.S. children watch television more than two hours a day, and 17% of African-American children watch more than five hours a day. (45) Many studies link TV viewing with overweight. (46) Randomized controlled trials indicate that watching fewer hours of TV can reduce children's body mass index and obesity risk. (47) TV viewing, therefore, may be one important cause of childhood obesity that parents can modify at home. (Lindsay, Sussner, Kim, and Gortmaker, 2006, p. 169)

The situation of feeling unsafe in the outside physical environment and not having close access to parks and recreation centers in many part of the community is a frequently cited issue, relating to obesity among young people in general but especially young women as their feelings of safety in the community are lower than that of their male peers, and parents may be more likely to keep them home for cultural and safety reasons. Children are more likely to spend time doing things like watching television or playing computer games, rather than doing physical activities that would be allowed them if they had adequate supervision to do so.

Studies that use motion sensors show that children who spend less time in moderate activity are at a higher risk than their more active counterparts of becoming obese during childhood and adolescence. (12) Television watching and video games contribute to more sedentary leisure activities as well as to increased snacking and inappropriate food choices prompted by television advertising. Many hours of television viewing are positively correlated with overweight, especially in older children and adolescents. (13) (Caprio, 2006, p. 209)

As the divorce rate rises in the U.S. more and more children are being raised by single parents, and largely by single mothers. In some of the most extreme cases of separation these children experience complete or virtual abandonment by their fathers. The significance of this loss has been explored independent of the psychology and/or physiology of obesity but it is important to note that there may be a demonstrative connection between obesity in women and the abandonment of these women by their fathers, in their youth.

It is widely accepted that parent-child relationships play a central role in children's psychological development... The quality and form of these relationships are thought to predict later interpersonal relationships and have a profound influence on personality development and related psychological functioning, such as in the areas of self-esteem and social confidence. Surprisingly, there has been until relatively recently, only a small body of good empirical evidence to support the importance of these relationships in development. (Ward & Gowers, 2003, p. 103)

This work will first provide an overview of what has been titled the obesity epidemic, offering traditional physiological explanations through the literature of obesity as well as offering novel explanations associated with psychological factors. The work will explore issues of self-esteem as they are associated with obesity as well as abandonment issues that have effected self-esteem, economics and produced prolonged psychological stress during formative years and potentially contributed to the occurrence of obesity in adult women as well as in young girls. It will then move on to detail a comprehensive qualitative study that was conducted to determine if there is any causal connection between adult obesity and real abandonment of young girls by their fathers between the ages of 6-19. (Vincent & McCabe, 1999)

Statement of Problem

The obesity epidemic has hit women particularly hard, as they have a significant physiological disadvantage to men, in that their metabolism is designed to run at a slower pace than men's and their body is also… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Impact of Paternal Abandonment on Female Adult Obesity.  (2007, December 31).  Retrieved September 21, 2021, from

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"Impact of Paternal Abandonment on Female Adult Obesity."  31 December 2007.  Web.  21 September 2021. <>.

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"Impact of Paternal Abandonment on Female Adult Obesity."  December 31, 2007.  Accessed September 21, 2021.