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The importance of the Biomedical and Biopsychosocial model in the treatment of ObesityThe occurrence of obesity is becoming one of the major public health concerns throughout the world.
According to World health organization, in 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults (18 years and older) were overweight; 650 million of which were obese. Obesity is the illness in which there is an excessive buildup of fat and is linked to serious health risks such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, several cancers, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, gall stones and several other health issues (Taylor 2012; Marieb & Hoehn, 2010). As such, obesity can be looked at with both the biomedical and the Biopsychosocial model. The biomedical approach looks at the effects obesity has on one’s physical health and the Biopsychosocial method covers a much broader scale like how a person’s current state is emotionally, or their social state, or basic behavior that helps us figure out why someone is obese. Indeed, not only the biomedical model can be used in the successful treatment of obesity. This essay will first discuss the importance of both the biomedical and Biopsychosocial model in the treatment of obesity and will also discuss the effects of sole Biopsychosocial model in the treatment of obesity as well as reflect on the importance of balancing the two theories.
Using the biomedical model, the sick body can be observed, treated and restored to normal functions without taking other factors into consideration. It only looks at the biological causes of the disease. Medical professionals hold a separate opinion of the patient and treat them in isolation without considering other reasons that may contribute to their condition (Barry & Yuill p 25; Giddens p 392; Nettleton pp.: 3-4). In the case of obesity, medical professionals focus solely on things such as genetics of patient, inactivity, increased number of adipose cells (stores fat) during childhood, hormonal imbalances and unhealthy diet as causes of obesity. For instance, people know they eat too much, do not exercise, eat a lot of unhealthy foods and in general take in more energy than they burn but telling them that they are unhealthy is still not going to help them make the necessary life style changes. This model is important in that it helps find the biological causes of illness however I believe it is not one that would help in the treatment of obesity as it emphasizes illness over health rather than focusing on behaviors that promote healthy living and help them get rid of such habits.
Along with biological factors, there are other factors that could lead to obesity and the Biopsychosocial model may be used to understand them. This model sees health as being regulated and influenced by biological, psychological and social factors and illness is a consequence of the interaction of these factors (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005; Taylor, 2012). In relation to obesity, its psychological factors include stress and depression. Different people have different reactions while being stressed or depressed regarding food consumption; majority of people tend to eat large amounts of food while others reduce their food intake. For example, I for one gain at least one or two pounds around exam days as the Oreos and chocolate bars are so hard to resist and are extremely satisfying around these periods.
A good understanding of psychology is therefore important in the diagnosis and treatment of a patient. In addition to psychology, there is a variety of social factors that contribute to one being obese. Social factors are things that affect our lifestyle such as religion, family and wealth. For instance, nowadays upon turning on the television we are bombarded with advertisements for fast food restaurants such as Burger King, MacDonald’s and high calorie prepackaged foods. Even billboards are plastered with fast food restaurants and their high calorie meals.
The media is able to influence our attitudes and beliefs and the clever use of persuasive messages can shape behaviors and attitudes. Also another norm today concerning food is the super-sized portions that contribute to an increase in caloric intake and consequently increasing size of the consumer as well. In other studies, people stated that social and family interaction could affect one to become obese as eating habits can be influenced by others. Social factors therefore play a detrimental role in the increase of obesity cases and I strongly believe that the Biopsychosocial approach is a more successful way to help people become healthier as we look at the reasons a person makes the lifestyle choices they made to become obese. The positive qualities of both the biomedical and Biopsychosocial approach is beneficial towards the treatment of obesity. The biomedical approach alone will not be enough as it does not include the human nature of patients and their various make up of thought, behavior and social qualities that an individual is exposed to.
Studies done in the University of Sydney (2017) stated that biomedical treatment alone does not show good outcomes as behaviors which are not covered in these model may indicate psychological and social factors that may contribute to these not being interpreted and addressed. The psychological and social factors play a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients hence the importance of practicing the Biopsychosocial approach. For example, patients diagnosed treated with only use of biomedical approach is not as effective as model focuses on illness too much without looking at ways obesity can be reduced long term. The Biopsychosocial model however includes psychological and social factors in the diagnosis and treatment of obesity and hence would be better as the patient’s behavior and environment is studied for a more effective treatment. It is therefore important that we balance out the two theories so as to provide a better stage for better wellbeing. In conclusion, upon thorough discussion of the subject it can be said that the biomedical approach alone is not sufficient in the treatment of obesity and is not as effective as the Biopsychosocial approach.
The combination of the positive sides of both theories is recommended in the medical field for diagnosis and treatment. It is important that medical professionals must understand the pyscho-social factors of their patients for the most efficient diagnosis and treatment of disease.