Obesity in Mexican – American Women

According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2018), obesity is the abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat that can be harmful to health. Obesity is a problem that affects people all over the world. Increases in rates of obesity represent a medical, epidemiological, social, and economic problem worldwide (Mitchell & Shaw, 2014). Further, studies by Hruby and Hu (2015), Imes and Burke (2014), and Spieker and Pyzocha (2015) have shown that the costs of healthcare for people with obesity have increased in the last five decades.

The costs of care and medication for obese people are 37% and 77% higher respectively, as compared to those required by an average-weight person, while direct costs to health systems have increased from 25% to 53% for people with morbid or severe obesity (WHO, 2017). If the trend continues, the social costs of this disease will reach an estimated $956 million by 2030 in the United States (Mitchell & Shaw, 2014).


Qualitative Study

A single-case qualitative study design will help study body perception in obese Mexican women. A characteristic of qualitative research is understanding words expressed by individuals (McCusker & Gunaydin, 2015). Qualitative research encompasses the private and personal side of experiences focusing on the perceptions, conceptions, and meanings of the protagonists (Cotan, 2016; Guerrero, 2016).

The case study design is appropriate for this qualitative research because it focuses on the study of a particular fact, phenomenon, event, or situation in a profound way, which allows a better understanding of the complexity of the case under study (Chaverra et al., 2019; Sauter, 2017).

The case study is an empirical investigation that explores a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context. Especially when the boundaries between the phenomenon and its context are not clearly evident (Yin, 2009). A case study can use different tools, both quantitative and qualitative. Documents, interviews, observation, focus groups, questionnaires, among others (Sauter, 2017).


In-depth Interview

This study will use an in-depth interview guide, member checking, and a body appreciation scale. The interview is a one-on-one online interaction between the researcher and the participant.  It allows the researcher to obtain data that cannot be acquired through observation. As a result, guaranteeing the possibility of delving into a particular topic (Sauter, 2017).

The interview is a useful tool to understand meanings among individuals’ speeches, stories, and experiences. Member checking is a technique to explore the results’ credibility by returning the data to the participants to verify the accuracy and resonance with their experiences (Birt et al., 2016). Member checking, which involves returning the interview transcript or interpreted data to the participant.

The transcript of the first interview provides a shared discussion of the information between the participant and the researcher.  Subsequently, we will share preliminary obesity findings with the study participants. This will be to corroborate that their points of view are accurately represented. (Birt et al., 2016). A description of the case will also be developed using Yin’s (2014) six-stage analysis model: plan, design, prepare, collect, analyze, and share. .

Triangulation in case study investigations consists of using multiple primary and secondary sources, which, converge to establish a clearer picture than one method could provide by itself (Enrique& Barrio, 2018; Sauter, 2017). In this case, we will obtain triangulation by comparing the conclusions from the interviews and member checks with the results obtained in the Body Appreciation Scale. Chapter 3 will offer a more detailed description of the methodology.


Methodological Designs

Various methodological designs were considered for the realization of the present study. However, the qualitative case study design makes it possible to more fully understand the perceptions of the participants. Relying directly on the lived experiences of obese Mexican women. The qualitative methodology was considered an appropriate option since it allows detailed descriptions of individuals’ interactions and behaviors. It also incorporates the women´s experiences as they are directly expressed (Cabrejos, 2019).

The qualitative case study provides an understanding of the problem of thoughts and feelings that Latina women living in the United States have about of their bodies. It addresses the problem because the purpose of the case study is to understand social reality based on the participants’ experiences. Furthermore, to grasp the meaning of what people want to say to understand their thoughts and feelings.

The qualitative case study supports the purpose of this study, which is to explore the body image perceptions held by obesity in Mexican women living in the United States resulting from the body image promoted in their sociocultural contexts. It addresses the purpose, rather than relying on the researcher’s preconceived expectations. It relies on the direct perceptions of the participants. Obtained through the qualitative interview process and confirmed through the quantitative questionnaire results.


Research Questions

The following research questions will guide the study:
What are the body image perceptions of obesity in Mexican women living in the United States in relation to their culture?
How do obese Mexican women living in the United States perceive their body image? In relation to the beauty parameters surrounding them?
How do Mexican women living in the United States perceive their quality of life in relation to their body image?

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