Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Jill Litt

Second Advisor

Amanda Carrico

Third Advisor

Dale Miller


The rate of adult and childhood obesity has doubled and in some countries tripled worldwide over the last few decades. The rise can likely be attributed to an assortment of factors such as an increase in the amount and accessibility of soft drinks and processed foods (increased energy intake) and less time spent exercising inside and outside of schools (decreased energy expenditure). A body of research exists on the public’s awareness of obesity in the United States, but limited research has been done on the perceptions of obesity in Japan. A survey using the Qualtrics software was sent to parents in Japan and in Colorado to understand the differences between perceptions in these locations (n=71, Colorado=47, Japan=24). T-tests and an ANOVA test revealed that parents in Colorado view obesity as a greater problem than parents in Japan. Parents in both Colorado and Japan believed increased energy intake (fast food, junk food, and soda consumption) significantly contributed to childhood obesity and believed that parents were primarily responsible for reducing the problem. Fewer parents in Japan believed watching television and playing video games and spending time on the Internet contributes to childhood obesity than parents in Colorado. More parents in Japan believed a lack of places to exercise contributes to childhood obesity than parents in Colorado. Tax based interventions were least supported, and school-based interventions were most supported by parents in both locations. There were significant differences between concern for drug abuse, violence, drinking, sex, and smoking amongst parents in Japan and Colorado, which warrants further research.