Medical Science Paper


Paper Option #1 Nature/Nurture
Developmental science focuses on the various contributions to development, and whether they lean toward the genetic side of things (nature) or environmental (nurture).

Child obesity

For this paper, review the module material on your specific topic. Then, write a paper describing in detail the “nature” (primarily genetic, inherited) contributions to this condition as well as the “nurture” contributions. You will need to conduct internet research and cite the sources to obtain additional information on your topic. For example, explaining the inherited reasons for a child to be obese will require that you visit, read, summarize, and cite medical sites on the internet. It is crucial that you rephrase material in your own words and cite it or put phrases from the sources in quotation marks and cite it. No more than a few sentences should be directly quoted, however, in order for you to receive credit for writing this paper (in other words, no credit is given for a paper that is a string of other people’s quotes).

Your research must include at least 2 articles or books. That is, websites can be very helpful and informative, but your final paper must include full articles (whether from the internet or elsewhere) or books on the topic. Sources should be reputable and consistent with what you learned in the module as well as other sources. GoogleScholar and PDF articles from the internet can be helpful resources. Make sure you use good search terms when trying to find articles. You may want to start broad (for example, “Bystander effect”) and then narrow to your particular area.

It is recommended that you spend at least a page and a half discussing “nature” for this topic and a page and at least a half discussing “nurture.” Finally, conclude the paper by indicating which side (nature, nurture) gives the strongest contribution to this condition, or whether they are both needed. For example, for child obesity, is genetics alone a sufficient cause for a child to be obese, or are poor eating habits necessary to along with a genetic predisposition? The paper should follow the following format:

I. Introduction. Introduce your topic.
II. Description and research on “nature” components
III. Description and research on “nurture” components
IV. Evaluation: which side (nature, nurture) most strongly contributes?

The point distribution for the papers is as follows:

20 points: Writing. Criteria: appropriate grammar, appropriately edited for syntax and phrasing, complete sentences, structured in paragraph and essay form, meets page length requirements.

20 points: Follows the prompt: all portions of the paper are complete. Answers fully address the questions in the prompt and address them in a sufficiently detailed way.

20 points: Evidence. In each paper, you are required to support evidence for your written points, whether the evidence is specific detail from the internet, the modules, or your observations (and, in all cases, the evidence needs to be stated in your own words and not plagiarized). These sources should be appropriately cited. For example: (Scott, 2010) or (, “What is Keeping Your Kids Up At Night,” para. 2). Sufficient referencing and integration (without plagiarism) of other sources is necessary to achieve full points in this area. A reference page is also needed.

20 points: Evaluation. In each paper, you are to include your own thoughts and evaluations, whether it involves thinking about module content and evaluating the meaning, deciding on nature/nurture, or evaluating observations. Your thoughts need to be described in sufficient detail and identified as your thoughts, compared to information that you may obtain elsewhere. Sufficient explanation is necessary to achieve full points in this area.

20: Content. Accuracy of your written positions and appropriateness of content given the question prompts are necessary to achieve full points in this area. This is the heart of the papers—answering the questions correctly, accurately, and appropriately. In the cases of providing your opinions, these should still be grounded correctly in the theory or module topic that you are addressing.


Nature vs. Nurture- Child Obesity

Introduction. 2

Nature. 2

Nurture. 4

Evaluation. 5

References. 6


Child obesity refers to the medical condition in which children gain weight that is way above what is considered normal for their specific Body Mass Indexes (BMIs). What is more, obese children are more likely to become obese adolescents and adults. If it is not controlled, child obesity can lead to numerous chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes. In the United States alone, one-third of all the children are either obese or overweight. This research paper will discuss the factors that contribute to childhood obesity in terms of nature and nurture. By far, nurture is the primary factor responsible for today’s growing problem of obesity among children.



Genetics is a major player in the nature components that can cause child obesity. According to research, 27% of children with overweight parents are more likely to become overweight or obese as well (Skelton et al., 2013). This goes to show that it is possible for the gene that causes obesity to be passed on from parent to child and from one generation to the next as a result. Some Pakistani families, for example, have been known to have leptin deficiency. Leptin deficiency is a condition that begins a few months after birth that leads to hyperphagia, a condition characterized by excessive eating, and sever obesity among other abnormalities. In such families, this genetic abnormality can be passed on from generation to generation.

Additionally, there are certain medical conditions that may be associated with obesity. These conditions include the the Bardet-Biedl syndrome and the Prader-Willi syndrome. The Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), is a serious genetic condition that leads to hyperphagia. Individuals with this syndrome have a constant feeling of hunger which in turn drives them to eat all the time, thus leading to weight gain, restricted growth and hypotonia, a condition whereby an individual has a reduced muscle tone. Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) on the other hand is a rare genetic condition that is characterized by vision loss and obesity. Seeing as these medical conditions are both genetic, it is therefore possible for them to be passed on to the children who may in turn be obese.

Glucocorticoids, antipsychotics, anti-depressants and oral contraceptives are some of the medications that have been known to cause abnormal weight gain (Butte et al., 2016). Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones often used to treat sepsis, allergies, and cancer while neuroleptics, also known as antipsychotics, refers to the medication that is used to manage or relieve cases of psychosis such as paranoia, delusions and hallucinations in short term.  Anti-depressants on the other hand are used to treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic pain and migraines among other conditions while oral contraceptives are used to prevent pregnancy. All these medications have adverse effects, some of which include the development of an eating disorder which in turn leads to obesity among the children born to parents using or taking them and the respective individuals (Kitsantas et al., 2016).

Last but not least, child obesity can be caused by endocrinologic conditions. Endocrinology refers to the study of the endocrine system, the diseases associated with it and its hormones such as insulin, the thyroid hormone and the growth hormone. The most common endocrinological condition is the Cushing syndrome. Cushing syndrome is a hormonal condition that is characterized by diabetes, facial puffiness, thinning of the skin, hypertension and weight gain. Research shows that only 1 in a million people in the world’s population has the Cushing syndrome (Kitsantas et al., 2016). Moreover, among obese children, only 2-3% are said to have gotten the condition as a result of endocrinological causes (Kitsantas et al., 2016).


There are, however, other causes of child obesity that are not related to genetics in any way. These are the components of nurture and they include socioeconomic factors, the lack of physical activity, diet and sleep. According to research, children that come from low-income backgrounds are more likely to have child obesity as compared to the children that come from high-income backgrounds (Skelton et al, 2011). This is the case because these children cannot afford to live on a healthy diet and as such are limited to fast food, a commodity that is cost-efficient and readily available in low-income communities. Moreover, these children do not have access to or cannot afford to go to a gym.

A lack of physical activity greatly contributes to childhood obesity. One study showed that there is a correlation between the amount of time that a child spends watching television and the probability of the same child becoming obese (Skelton et al., 2011). The research yielded that the highest BMIs are seen among children that watch television for at least 4 hours a day while the lowest BMIs are recorded among the children that watch television for at most 1 hour in a day (Skelton et al., 2011). In essence, the more time that a child spends indoors, the higher the risk of becoming obese. This is because the food that is consumed during the day is not burnt but instead stays stacked in the body. The continued routine soon starts to show once the child starts gaining weight abnormally.

At the same time, an increase in the consumption of added sugars also increases the rates of obesity in children. Research conducted between 1977 and 2008 showed that children, especially between the ages 2-6, increased their calories intake from 168-586 calories in a day (Kimm, 2003). The same study indicated that 20% of the energy intake by these children mainly comes from beverages and the added sugars present in food (Kimm, 2003). Diet plays a major role in contributing to or preventing child obesity. Most children nowadays snack too much, and this has been identified as another cause of weight gain.


Besides, children at the age of two are required to sleep for a recommended average of 13 hours a day. Some children, however, sleep for less hours on average. Following this renewed interest in the role of sleep in weight gain, a study showed that children who sleep for less than 13 hours on average in a day when they are 2 years are more likely to be obese by the time they reach age 7 (Kimm, 2003). Lack of enough sleep ultimately leads to an increase in sedentary behaviors which leads to lack of physical activity, in turn leading to weight gain and an elevated risk of child obesity. Moreover, lack of enough sleep leads to increased food intake which, like in sedentary behavior, increases the risk of childhood obesity.   


Child obesity is caused by both the nature and the nurture components. However, despite the fact that one may become obese because of the genetic makeup of the family, they can choose whether or not to stay obese through a careful choice of nurture components. As seen by the research studies analyzed in this study, it is evident that whether or not one becomes obese primarily a “nurture” issue as opposed to a “nature” one. For this reason, nurture is the greatest contributor to child obesity. Although one cannot choose his/her family membership or genetic composition, he/she can definitely choose to lead a lifestyle that minimizes the risk of obesity.


Butte, N. F., Bacino, C. A., Cole, S. A., & Comuzzie, A. G. (2016). 6 Genetics of Childhood Obesity. Handbook of Pediatric Obesity: Etiology, Pathophysiology, and Prevention, 79.

Kimm, S. Y. (2003). Nature versus nurture in childhood obesity: A familiar old conundrum. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 78(6), 1051-1052.

Kitsantas, P., Gallo, S., Palla, H., Nguyen, V., & Gaffney, K. (2016). Nature and nurture in the development of childhood obesity: early infant feeding practices of overweight/obese mothers differ compared to mothers of normal body mass index. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 29(2), 290-293.

Skelton, J. A., Irby, M. B., Grzywacz, J. G., & Miller, G. (2011). Etiologies of obesity in children: nature and nurture. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 58(6), 1333-1354.

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