It's a B I G deal!

COMM 205: Group 3

Abrar Alshaikh-Meaghan Anderson-Laurel Carrell-Nick Cobb
'Break the Habit' - Childhood Obesity Ad Austrailia

Drugs and obesity may seem like two very different issues facing America today, but they both have serious consequences. Like drug use, obesity has a number of health risks associated with it, some of which can lead to premature death. Treatment of obesity can be expensive, like drug abuse rehabilitation centers, with patients paying for nutritionists, medication, and sometimes even surgical procedures in attempts to treat their weight issues. Obesity is a problem that needs to be solved, and we have come up with some solutions to this serious issue.



Obesity is a prevalent and dangerous condition. It is estimated that over two thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight and it is spreading more and more each year. According the BMC Obesity Journal: "Obesity has risen dramatically since the 1980s in most developed nations." Along with the increase in obesity rates, come many health issues and diseases. These include coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension, cancer, and many more. The problems with obesity do not only affect our present, rather, they threaten our future. Most of the cases are preventable through two simple solutions in the scopes of physical activity and nutrition. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits developed at a young age is the best way to decrease obesity rates and spread healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, if obesity rates keep growing with the same trend, it can go up to 50% within 15 years, according to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This could impact the future health and economy negatively. The increase in the number of cases suffering from obesity-related diseases could cost billions of dollars as a result in the obesity-related health care costs and the annual loss in economic productivity.


The Need

  • Obesity affects about 1/3 of the adult population (Body Mass Index > 30) in the United States, and nearly 1/5 of the youth population.
  • Being obese comes with very serious health risks, and decreases life expectancy by 10-15 years.
  • With the emergence of the ‘body acceptance’ movement, obesity is becoming a social norm and people are ignoring the serious health risks that can result from being obese.


What are some of the most serious consequences of obesity?

Obesity can result in very serious health risks, but it can also interfere with one’s social life and even career. Some health issues related to obesity include arthritis, diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, heart disease and infertility. According to the Journal of American Medicine Association, morbidly obese individuals have a higher risk of these health problems and encompass approximately 8 to 9 million Americans. In addition to this, over 300,000 individuals died from 2011-2012 from complications of being overweight. Finally, overweight individuals also suffer loss of productivity, decreased employability (obese individuals are often perceived as lazy because of their weight problem), and even social stigmatization. As you can see, obesity affects nearly every aspect of an individual’s life, and it is because of this that some kind of action needs to be taken to help solve this serious issue facing American society.


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Have there been any attempts to fix this problem?

Diet and exercise are the most obvious solutions to this problem, but other measures have also been made to help combat the issue of obesity in the United States. Several surgical procedures have been developed to decrease the size of a person’s stomach with the idea that this will cause a person to eat less and consequentially lose excess weight. However, according to the Journal of American Medicine Association, this procedure does require a lifestyle change of the individual, and is not always successful if the individual does not adhere to their doctor’s instructions. Recently the American Medical Association declared obesity as a disease to try and increase physician’s awareness of this prevalent issue. While this does make the issue more serious in the eyes of some individuals, if someone is diagnosed as having the “disease” of obesity, they must be treated with medication or even surgery which cost the individual significant sums of money. One more attempt to solve the problem has been passing legislation requiring obesity prevention education in schools. According to the National Cancer Institute, as of 2010, 42 states in the U.S. had passed legislation on this subject and all states except Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming had passed at least one law concerning obesity prevention through food policy.


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With BIG problems...Come solutions!!

Solution 1: Get the young people moving

The root of the obesity problem in our nation stems from the adolescent development of poor health habits, which either continue into adulthood or have lifelong negative effects. Children are not getting nearly enough physical activity to be qualified as healthy and to be optimizing the benefits working out creates for your body during development. The American Psychological Association writes, “They {Youth in America} are not getting enough exercise — only 30 percent of children (aged six to 17) participated in 20 minutes plus of vigorous physical activity on a daily basis. Children need to get 60 minutes of exercise on a daily basis.” Currently less than one third of the youth are only getting one third of the amount of physical activity necessary. This is an urgent problem. With 70 percent of children in the nation not even participating in 20 minutes of activity it is no wonder that we have an obesity problem, aged six to seventeen is when the body and mind form into the foundations that a person will have for their entire life. It is illogical to assume that the things we learn and do as children do not play a big role in defining what we do and how we act as adults, therefor this is the most disturbing aspect of the obesity issue in our nation as well as the most impactful. If we can change the amount of physical activity participated in by young people, we can change the obesity problem of our nation. In order to implement the change, we propose a law that a 45-60 minute daily physical activity period must be required for grades Kindergarten through 12th.


Why focus on children while attempting to prevent obesity in the United States?

The reason for such focalization on children while developing solutions to the problem of obesity in the U.S is that habits are learned at a young age. A Purdue Extension article informs, “Right now your children are forming habits that will last a lifetime. You need to do what you can to encourage good habits and discourage bad ones. Habits are difficult to change. Good habits need to be formed at a young age.” By developing habits of regular, well-paced, exercise at a young age, a person will grow up to continue those habits and potentially exercise daily as a practice of second nature. This idea incorporates learning about health and nutrition as well. By learning what is good to eat and what is proper fuel for your body while you are young, at an old age your body will continue to require that nutrition it grew on. Then, as an adult, people will subconsciously attend to their physical exercise health needs as well as their nutritional needs, which are vital to preventing obesity, just because they are habitual parts of their lifestyle that they have done since they were young. In addition, most children in the U.S attend some form of schooling. That is institutionalized time that a child is required to participate in. This allows for a perfect period of time to enforce mandatory physical activity. Adults do not have to work if they don’t want to, but children must do what is asked of them in school in order to pass and to progress. By requiring a 45-60 minute period of required, regimented, semi-vigorous physical activity at school, this guarantees the participation of citizens aged 6-18. This requirement facilitates in implementing the habits that will guide a person’s healthy life.


Solution 2: Fighting Obesity through Nutrition

Fighting obesity can be difficult because there isn't a "quick fix". Weight loss can be a tough, uphill battle that comes down to personal responsibility. Prevention is obviously an easier problem to tackle, however, nutrition is important in both cases. We want to utilize nutrition in two ways. First we want to educate our society on what proper nutrition looks like. Secondly we would like to bring reforms to the modern cafeteria in public schools.


Solutions through Nutrition Pt. 1: Educating Society!

Many Americans are oblivious in terms of what a proper diet looks like. In fact according to a survey by Live Science, Americans that believed that poor nutrition was the leading cause of obesity were less likely to be obese than people who believe that lack of exercise was more important. Education on healthy eating is crucial to our fighting the obesity epidemic. We want to give Americans the tools and knowledge that they need to lose weight and/or avoid becoming obese. We want to promote knowledge of proper nutrition through multi-media initiative lead by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This would be done through advertisements to get mass-exposure. We have three main points that we would like to make to people for this.

  1. Convince people to decrease portion sizes.

  2. Promote eating fresh meats, produce, and whole grains over processed meals and fast-food.

  3. Third we would like to encourage

We believe that promoting this information will make our country a much healthier and happier place!


What's So Bad About Processed Foods?

Processed foods are often filled with added fats, chemicals and sugars. These foods tend to have low nutritional values while containing empty calories. Added sugar often comes in the form of high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. According to a study by Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, a study compared the effects of regular sugar and HFCS on rats. Rats were given the same amount of calories. It was found that the rats that had HFCS not only gained a significant amount more weight than the other group, but also gained more body fat in the abdominal region. Now humans aren't rats, but it's still safe to say that avoiding foods that contain HFCS is beneficial to your help.


Whats so great about eating meals with your family?

Eating a single meal a day isn't just great for family bonding, but studies show that it can also be beneficial to your health. According to the Archive of Family Medicine, families who ate together ate significantly healthier meals. They found that families were eating more produce, fibers and micro-nutrients while consuming less fats, fried foods and sugars. It may be just psychological, but its still great for your health!


Solution through Nutrition pt. 2: Lunchroom Reforms!

According to the Journal of Human Resources, children who ate school lunches everyday where more likely to be obese than children who ate packed lunches. This should be unsettling because government funded institutions are enabling and contributing to childhood obesity in our society. We believe that to fight this trend that the best solution is to propose a law in favor of school meal reforms. This law would remove processed meals provided by big food corporations with food maid fresh daily with healthy ingredients including more fruits and vegetables. Creating healthier school meals can possibly limit or decrease childhood obesity. If you believe that there needs to be reform in the lunchroom then by all means sign the petition below!


Petition for lunchroom reforms!

Here is a link to a petition asking President Obama to create a law to provide healthier school lunches.

How to measure obesity?

One way to measure obesity is using the body mass index (BMI), which basically depends on the person’s weight and height. It gives an indication of body fats, which gives a prediction of the potential health problems. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, interpenetration of BMI is different for adults and children. For adults, the BMI value is interpreted as follows:

  • Adults with BMI below 18.5 are considered underweight.
  • Adults with BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 are considered normal.
  • Adults with BMI from 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight.
  • Adults with BMI 30.0 or greater are considered obese.


How fit am I?

You can calculate your BMI by clicking on the appropriate button below:

How prevalent obesity is in the U.S. and where is it heading to?

Using the BMI to categorize people based on their fitness, the National Center for health Statistics perform national surveys that consider the prevalence of obesity among the society. Currently, according to the latest national survey, the statistics show that obesity is spread among 35% of the American adult population as compared to about 15% in 1980. If the average BMI continued growing with the same current trend, the percentage of obese people could go up to 60% in 13 states, and up to 50% nationally by the year of 2030. Below is the graph showing the prevalence of obesity among the U.S. adults over time.


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See what legislation has been passed

"How obesity threatens America's future."

Works Cited

"About BMI for Adults." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

Blackwell, D. L., J. W. Lucas, and T. C. Clarke. "Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012." Vital and Health Statistics 10th ser. 260 (2014): 83-84. National Center for Health Statistics, Feb. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

Bocarsly, Miriam, Elyse Powell, Nicole Avena, and Bartley Hoebel. "High-fructose Corn Syrup Causes Characteristics of Obesity in Rats: Increased Body Weight, Body Fat and Triglyceride Levels." Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 97.1 (2010): 101-06. Science Direct. Elsevier. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <sciencedirect.com>.

Gillman, M. W. "Family Dinner and Diet Quality Among Older Children and Adolescents."Archives of Family Medicine 9.3: 235-40. Archives of Family Medicine. Jaba & Archives. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. <http://triggered.edina.clockss.org/ServeContent?rft_id=info:doi/10.1001/archfami.9.3.235>.

Katz, D. L. "Perspective: Obesity Is Not a Disease." Nature. N.p., 16 Apr. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

Konkel, Lindsey. "What Causes Obesity? Answer May Affect Your Waistline." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 19 June 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. <http://www.livescience.com/37548-what-causes-obesity-answer-may-affect-your-waistline.html>.

Levi, Jeffrey, Laura M. Segal, Rebecca Laurent, Albert Lang, and Jack Rayburn. F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future. 9th ed. Rep. Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Sept. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore. "Do School Lunches Contribute To Childhood Obesity?." Journal Of Human Resources 44.3 (2009): 684-709. Business Source Complete. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

Turner, Kyle, Charlie Foster, Steven Allender, and Emma Plugge. "A Systematic Review of How Researchers Characterize the School Environment in Determining Its Effect on Student Obesity." BMC Obesity 2.13 (2015): n. pag. BioMed Central. Turner Et Al., 8 Mar. 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

Various, Authors. "Changing Diet and Exercise for Kids." Http://www.apa.org. American Psychological Association, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

Various, Authors. "Forming Good Habits in Children to Avoid Obesity." Purdue Extension. Purdue.edu,n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

West, K M. "Obesity in America." Annals of Internal Medicine Obesity in America. 92.6 (1980):854-5.