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Obesity Rates

Essay 3: Research Essay


By: Brittany Walters
100471019

Due Date: Wednesday April 8th, 2015


For: Diane Waclawek
Course: COMM 2316
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Obesity Rates
The condition of being obese is defined as increased body weight caused by excessive
accumulation of fat (obesity, 2002). Obesity is the most common in adults due to poor life
choices, but is common is in children as well. It is an epidemic all over the world and has the
highest ratings in Canada and the United States. Obesity is a major public health problem in the
United States. Data on measured heights and weights indicates that the prevalence of obesity has
significantly increased among the US population over the past 30 years. Data collected from
1999 to 2002 estimates that nearly 1/3 of adults are obese (27.6% of men and 33.2% of women)
and one in six children and adolescents is overweight(Baskin, 2005). Over the years obesity
rates have been increasing and they are still increasing to this day. There are many different
factors that play a role in the rise of obesity: the cost of healthy food, the less active lifestyles,
and the bad parenting.
First of all, the cost of healthy food is quite expensive. Healthy food is overpriced, which
is resulting in the weight gain of the population. There are many different reasons that contribute
to why people do not buy healthy food and they are: healthy food items are not affordable,
unhealthy items are more convenient, and unhealthy items are more affordable. To start, the
price of healthy food has significantly increased over the years. Since 2002, more healthy foods
and beverages have been consistently more expensive than less healthy ones, with a growing gap
between them. This trend is likely to make healthier diets less affordable over time, which may
have implications for individual food security and population health, and it may exacerbate
social inequalities in health (Jones, Conkin, Suhrcke, and Monsivais, 2014).
Not only is healthy food items not affordable, but unhealthy items are more convenient.
The biggest reason for this is time; everyone is always in a rush these days and too busy to put
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effort in preparing meals. It is a lot easier to prepare frozen food in a matter of minutes then it is
to take your time to make a well-balanced meal. Not only that, but it takes a lot less effort for
you to drive through a fast food place, order a pizza, or go to a restaurant to have someone serve
you. Due to all these convenient factors people are going to choose these time efficient food
resources rather than taking the time to give your body the nutrients it requires.
In addition to unhealthy food being more convenient, it is also more affordable. The
healthy food prices have really climaxed over the years. Just throughout the years of 2002 to
2012 1000 calories worth of healthy food costs approximately twelve dollars, well the price of
unhealthy food of 1000 calories was only four dollars. The prices are still rising and will only
make it harder for people in the middle class or lower class to afford these healthy food items
(Olson, 2014). This is one of the main reasons why people are obese because it is much more
affordable for them to buy something like fast food or frozen food, rather than buying fruit or
vegetables. If there was a decrease in the prices of healthy food then there would also be a
decrease in obesity.
Second of all, people are leading less active lifestyles. A couple of reasons for this are
due to technological advances and the cost of gym memberships and sporting activities. To start,
as technology keeps advancing there are more reasons to stay inside then to spend time outside.
With video games, cell phones, lap tops, iPods, and televisions there is no reason for a person to
ever leave their house anymore. This makes staying inside more convenient and more
entertaining because of all the technological distractions. Technology has made it so there isnt a
motive to look for other, more active ways of entertainment. Technology has made the human
population very lazy and with the way that technology is growing there can only be an increase
in obesity.

Not only technology affects our lifestyle, but also the cost of sporting activities and gym
memberships. The price to join recreational sports has increased tremendously over the years.
Today playing organized youth sports has a price tag. Expenses such as team enrollment fees,
equipment and uniform costs, travel and other expenses are often substantial and are beyond the
already stretched budget of many families (Eveleth, 2013). Sports can be anywhere from
hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on what sport you are playing. The only alternative
to playing sports is to go to the gym and that is not much more affordable. The price for a family
to go to the gym is in the hundreds and that is just for a monthly membership. If the people who
ran these organizations were to lower sporting and gym rates then the obesity rates would also
lower.
Last of all, the way a parent raises their children can lead to less healthy and active
lifestyles. Parenting skills are the foundation for successful intervention that puts in place
gradual, targeted increases in activity and targeted reductions in high-fat, high-calorie foods
(Barlow, 1998). If a parent does not teach their child the importance of healthy eating, the
importance of getting up and moving, and the importance of participating in team sports or
physical activity then that child will not understand how important it is to stay healthy and
active. First off, less and less parents are teaching their children the importance of healthy
eating. Eating is no different, and the way parents talk about food, cook meals and eat are the
most important influence of developing healthy eating habits on a child. Children watch and
imitate adults and look to them to learn everything from saying please and thank-you to fitness
and nutrition behavior. Children can also pick up on their parents' attitudes about food. As role
models, parents need to make sure they're demonstrating a healthy attitude toward food so their
children do, too (Dairy Council of California, 2015).

In addition to healthy eating, a lot of parents do not limit the time their children spend on
technological devices. This is very crucial in child development because the more time that your
kids are taken away from the outside, they will be more inclined to spend time inside. The off
switches in kids brains arent fully developed until kids reach their early 20s. That means they
need rules and structure to help them turn off the computer. Developing children need to be able
to have real lives independent of their cyber ones to develop socially, emotionally, and even
physically (Knorr, 2010). If parents are not enforcing rules when it comes to electronics and
other technology, then their children will grow up not understanding the importance of getting
up and moving. This is a huge problem in society because technology has become such a big
part of life, so it is very crucial that parents are teaching their children the disadvantages of being
on electronics too often and the advantages of doing physical activity.
Furthermore to limiting time, fewer parents are signing their children up for team sports
or doing enough physical activities with them. This is a very important aspect in developing a
child so that they take this knowledge with them for the rest of their lives. Children who aren't
active enough are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular illnesses. On average, only 4 % of Canadian
children take part in enough physical activity. Making regular physical activity a habit at an
early age will provide your child with lifelong benefits. Adults with higher levels of activity are
able to carry out their daily tasks more easily and with less fatigue and, later in life, enjoy lower
rates of bone loss associated with osteoporosis while also maintaining strength, flexibility,
balance, and coordination. There are many other health benefits to leading a healthy lifestyle for
you as well: you get to spend more time with your children, your child maintains a healthy body
weight, it reduces the risk of chronic disease and health issues, it lessens the likelihood of drug
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and alcohol use, and it improves mental health and well-being (Government of Canada, 2014).
If parents are motivated in providing their children with the proper knowledge of eating healthy,
of getting up and moving around, and the importance of being active then the obesity rates will
lessen when they grow up into adults.
Eating the proper food items, being active, and limiting our time on technology are all
important factors that lead us to a healthier society. Regular exercise and the consumption of a
healthy diet can lead to a host of benefits, including increased energy, happiness, health and even
a long life. Exercise and diet are pivotal to determining a persons overall health, and making
them both part of your lifestyle can make a dramatic difference in how you look and feel
(Livestrong, 2103). Nevertheless, there are many different contributions to increasing rates of
obesity and they are: the prices of healthy food items, the less active lifestyles the human
population leads, and the way children are parented. Regardless of these reasons for increasing
rates if the cost of healthy food was lowered, the prices of gym memberships and sports
decreased, and time was spent properly developing children with the knowledge to lead a healthy
lifestyle then obesity rates would decrease drastically.

References
Baskin, M., Ard, J., Franklin, F., & Allison, D. (2005, January 10). Prevalence of obesity in the
United States. Retrieved April 3, 2015, from
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467789X.2005.00165.x/abstract;jsessionid=
1A047764CA2D7F2FD208C12FD59E2D41.f02t02?
deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false
Barlow, S., & Dietz, W. (1998, May 12). Obesity Evaluation and Treatment: Expert Committee
Recommendations. Retrieved April 6, 2015, from
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/102/3/e29.short
Eveleth, R. (2013, November 26). Playing Sports Is Getting Too Expensive for Many Kids'
Families. Retrieved April 6, 2015, from
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/playing-sports-is-getting-too-expensivefor-many-kids-families-180947847/?no-ist
Healthy Eating Starts with Parent Role Models. (2015). Retrieved April 6, 2015, from
http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Kids/Eat-Play-Love/ArticleViewer/Article/271/healthy-eating-starts-with-parent-role-models.aspx
Jones, N., Conklin, A., Suhrcke, M., & Monsivais, P. (2014, October 8). The Growing Price Gap
between More and Less Healthy Foods: Analysis of a Novel Longitudinal UK Dataset.
Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?
id=10.1371/journal.pone.0109343
Knorr, C. (2010, November 19). Setting Computer Limits Tips. Retrieved April 6, 2015, from
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/setting-computer-limits-tips

Obesity in Medicine. (2002). In Stedmans Medical Dictionary. Retrieved from


http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/obesity
Olson, S. (2014, October 8). For Many, Healthy Foods Are Getting Too Pricey For Purchase.
Retrieved April 4, 2015, from http://www.medicaldaily.com/healthy-food-pricescontinue-rise-and-leave-less-hope-middle-class-eat-right-306588
Schuna, C. (2013, December 18). Importance of Exercise & Eating Healthy. Retrieved April 4,
2015, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/107269-importance-exercise-eating/