Comparative Analysis of Childhood Obesity in the United States

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A comparative analysis of the two articles

Authored by Dawes and Porter respectively shows that they both look into the issue of childhood obesity in the United States to give parents and healthcare professionals an idea of the dangers associated with the disorder. In both articles, the authors express that children's health is a crucial concern for the healthcare sector and highlight the need for collaboration between physicians and the child's guardians. To highlight this, Dawes (2014) argues that a child's health is indicative of the parent's ability to care for the child, while Porter notes that an active role in managing childhood health at the community level helps to improve the overall health outcomes for the community's children. In this way, both articles show that parents play a distinct role in monitoring their children's health, especially given the historical evidence that Dawes provides showing the evolution of pediatric health assessment techniques. Moreover, the articles also show similarities in their insistence of a collaborative relationship between a child's guardians and the physician tasked with providing pediatric care in each particular case to ensure the achievement of set health targets.

Documentary evidence

Helps to validate the points made in Dawes' article since he refers to examples such as the "Better Babies" contest as an indicator of the influence that social convention has on children's health outcomes. The outcome was an acceptance of the notion that size represented health for children and justified the widespread obesity reported among the country's youth (Dawes 2014). On the other hand, Porter's article reveals that community action can also have similar effects by enabling communities to change the way they think about children's health and the influence that the environment has on pediatric health outcomes (Porter, 2013). There is, however, a stark difference in the way that the authors present their evidence due to their use of different data sources. Porter uses findings from active community projects while in Dawes' case, the community element is evident in the mass media publications of early 20th-century America. The result is a situation, where Porter provides the reader with quantitative evidence from recent findings on the issue of children's health, while Dawes provides a quantitative understanding grounded in historical scholarly and mass media publications.

Dawes' argument

Is that the use of a child's weight and height as a measure of its health is an idea that stems from the inability to use direct interviews with the child to determine its health status. This includes an analysis of the challenges that pediatricians faced historically due to the need to keep track of children's health in the clinic and home by citing early attempts at creating a standard for analyzing children's health. In contrast, Porter looks at the issue of childhood obesity as it exists today and discusses preventive strategies that the U.S. healthcare sector can use to alleviate this persistent problem. Porter uses the results of three existing community projects as an example of the role that community members can play in promoting the health interests of their children. Moreover, while Dawes helps the reader to understand how the current approaches that U.S. parents and physicians use as guidelines for pediatric health, Porter shows how these existing understandings can prove useful in allowing community members to play an active role in monitoring their children's health.


Dawes, L. (2014). “How big is normal? Quantifying children’s body size.” In Childhood obesity in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Porter, C.M. (2013). Community action to prevent childhood obesity: Lessons from three US case studies. Childhood Obesity, 9(2), 164-174.

August 21, 2023




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Childhood Obesity

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