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PHPE 212

Health Problem: Obesity Among Call Center Agents

CULTURAL DETERMINANTS
1- What do the members of your call center community consider a state of “health”,
“disease” and “illness”?
• A recent study by the UP Population Institute looked into the health status of
call center agents by asking them to assess their own health and to indicate
their health problems from among a given list. When compared with non-call
center workers, BPO employees perceive their health to be ‘fair’ (12% vs. 8%)
and ‘poor’(3% vs. 1%). Fewer call center agents assess their health to be
very good or excellent.
• Respondents were asked to identify health problems (diseases) which they
thought were associated with working in their current workplace. The most
commonly mentioned problems are throat, eye, hand muscle problems, UTI
and hypertension.
• Feeling of being ill may be presumed to be common among call center agents
as reflected by the high attrition ( high turnover and low retention) rate in the
industry. This may be due to the high level of stress in the workplace which
translates to the experience of more work-related health problems.

2- In relation to obesity among call center agents, how is its causation defined?
• Obesity is caused by an imbalance of energy intake and expenditure. This
generally results from lifestyle factors such as inactivity and high-calorie
diets. The findings of the study show that there is increased consumption of
high fat and high sugar food items that are consumed regularly over the long
term because of the fastfood outlets near their workplace. Most of the BPO
workers are likewise sedentary further contributing to obesity.

3 – Given its disease causation what structural domains of health care are utilized
by those affected?
• Professional – Biomedicine is the primary intervention wherein oral
medications and procedures are sought to decrease adiposity. These
however may or may not be sanctioned by a physician.
• Popular – Because of experiential benefits seen from friends or family, some
obese individuals may take their advice to shed excess fat by taking ‘lipolytic’
drinks or supplements. Social networks are also resorted to particularly for
exercise or sports activities.
• Folk or Traditional - Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been used to
combat obesity

4 – How are symptoms of obesity perceived and presented?


• Breathlessness, increased sweating, snoring, difficulty sleeping, inability to
cope with
Sudden physical activity, feeling very tired every day, back and joint pains

5 – If pain is present how is this reacted to by those affected by the problem and by
those around them?
• Pain may not be communicated readily by obese individuals particularly
those related to their weight (joint pains, muscle and back aches) since they
may blamed for it.
• Public pain is readily manifest for life-threatening conditions like breathing
difficulties for obese individuals.

6 – Is lay conferral practiced by those affected by obesity? Why?


• Yes, social support is important in coping with obesity and this can be
provided by individuals who have had the same condition and can adequately
give advice based from experience
• High cost of medications and procedures for obesity make some rely on lay
referral
• Unsuccessful medical management of obesity push some to use other means
as advised by others – friends, family, superiors, etc

7 – What are some of the cultural influences on the epidemiology of obesity?


• Dietary patterns – Eating habits are established by 8 yrs old. Growing up on
high-calorie diet results in overweight beginning in childhood which track
through adolescence and into adulthood.
• Child-rearing practices – Parents and grandparents equate good health with a
plump body which may eventually lead to obesity
• Acculturation

8 – How does social structure of the community affect obesity?

9 – In terms of social network, is this important in obesity? Why?

10 – How is sick role assumed and responded to in obesity among call center
agents?

11 – Does gender roles create a difference in obesity? How?

12 – What are the existing beliefs, values, and body of knowledge related to obesity
present in the call center community?
13 – How are the beliefs, values and cognitions passed on to members of the
community and from one generation to the next?

14 – Are there changes that occurred in these beliefs, values and knowledge? What
are some of these changes and to what do you attribute these changes?