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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


PARRA-CABRERA, Socorro; HERNANDEZ, Bernardo; DURAN-ARENAS, Luis  and  LOPEZ-ARELLANO, Oliva. Alternative models for the epidemiological analysis of obesity as a public health problem. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1999, vol.33, n.3, pp.314-325. ISSN 1518-8787.

Public health problems have been analyzed over time using different approaches involving a variety of methodological and theoretical models. The classical epidemiological model and the social epidemiological model are two examples of models used in public health research. Although each of these models covers a whole range of public research approaches, it is possible to identify the different theoretical and methodological criteria and the different ideological assumptions on which they are based. The objective of this article is to make a comparison of the criteria used by the classical and social epidemiological models in the study of public health problems, with special emphasis on the study of obesity. This comparison shows that the knowledge generated by studies carried out under each of these models is rather different, as an effect of the different theoretical, methodological and ideological criteria used by each model. However, far from being contradictory, the knowledge generated by each model can complement that generated by the other. Finally, the inclusion of social sciences as a tool for the analysis of public health problems, specifically the problem of obesity, is discussed.

Keywords : Obesity [epidemiology]; Epidemiology models.

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