Document Type



Currently in the United States, it is estimated that 25% of American children are obese. Several factors that may contribute to childhood obesity are environment, eating habits, underlying health conditions, and psychological influences. I plan on becoming an elementary teacher and I was shocked to find out that elementary schools are now cutting physical education classes to as little as thirty minutes and only every other week in some districts. While at the same time increasing the total amount of time students are using computers. I believe it is important that structural issues such as the decrease in physical education are acknowledged as a contributing factor for the increase in childhood obesity. I wanted to find what the average person believes are contributing factors for the increase of childhood obesity and if these factors are based on structural issues or an individual’s behavior. For instance, do people believe that childhood obesity has increased due to the increased due to children being lazy and only playing video games or do they believe it is due to the decrease in physical education? To understand people’s thoughts on childhood obesity, I used two different but connected methodologies: content analysis and interviews of parents and professionals who work with minor children. For my content analysis, I searched for articles on childhood obesity, coding commenters’ opinions about factors contributing to childhood obesity. I interviewed parents and professionals who work with children to find out what they think about childhood obesity and, specifically, how they feel about physical education in their children’s schools. By performing both content data analysis and interviews with parents and professional who work closely with children I was able to find out what some people believe are the main contributing factors to increasing childhood obesity, and what people are saying, overall, about childhood obesity.


Sociology and Psychology

Thesis Comittee

Norma Anderson (Thesis Director)

Kimberly Fox

Danielle Kohfeldt

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.