Make A Difference: Obesity

By: Baylee Hux, Emma Johnson, & Sara James

What is the problem?

Obesity is a big problem, not only in DFW but America in general. The cause of obesity are the food choices that we surround ourselves with. Some other causes are inactivity, maintaining an unhealthy diet, lack of sleep, and certain medication/medical problems. Obesity can cause problems such as Type 2 Diabetes, gall stones, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and it will become very difficult to lose weight. You could also have heart disease, some cancers(colon, ovarian, kidney, breast, gallbladder, pancreatic), sleep apnea and breathing problems. Since Texas is in the Southern part of America, we have very many fatty and greasy foods because of our culture and tradition. This causes the obesity rate to be higher in the southern parts of America.

What is the extent of the problem?

Obesity in the United States has been cited as a major health issue in recent decades. Obesity in Americans is a health issue that is often overlooked. Many do not realize the severity of the issue, or how many are affected within the country. One out of every three Americans are now considered to be obese. Obesity now leads to over 120,000 preventable deaths each year. A person that is considered obese is likely to have much higher health risks than those who are not. Obesity in America is continuing to increase and get worse.Nearly two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese. Despite an abundance of evidence of the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight and a physically active lifestyle, we continue to eat larger portion sizes than we need and remain less physically active than we should be. This causes the average American to gain weight just by taking in more calories a day than they usually do. The poor are especially hit hard by this problem; grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods may be poorly stocked with healthy fruits and vegetables, and such neighborhoods may not be safe enough to get out and walk around in. In addition, people from all economic backgrounds often eat for social, cultural, and emotional reasons—not just for hunger. The economic costs of overweight and obesity in Texas during 2001 were an estimated $10.5 billion. This includes direct healthcare costs, such as medicines and hospital stays, and indirect costs, such as lost productivity and wages due to illness and death. If the trend in increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity persists, the annual costs associated with excess weight in Texas is projected to reach $15.6 billion by 2010 and could skyrocket to $39 billion by the year 2040.

What has already been done to try and resolve this issue?

The IOM(Institute of Medicine) strategies include: integrating physical activity into people's daily lives; making healthy food and beverage choices available everywhere; changing marketing about nutrition and physical activity; using schools to promote healthy weight; and urging employers and health care professionals to support healthy lifestyles. The committee that wrote the report assessed more than 800 obesity-prevention recommendations and identified those that could be used together most effectively to accelerate obesity prevention. "Individuals and groups can't solve this complex problem alone, and that's why we recommend changes that can work together at the societal level and reinforce one another's impact to speed our progress," added Glickman, who also is executive director of congressional programs at the Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. The state Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity Prevention Program (NPAOP) works to reduce the burden of death and disease related to overweight and obesity in Texas. We base our activities on the most current and proven public health strategies, and then partner with state and local organizations, groups and communities across the state to promote science-based nutrition and physical activity interventions, policies and environmental changes to prevent and control obesity and overweight.

List 3 options to solve your problem.

  1. Schools offer healthier choices for people who buy their lunch. They could also take out the unhealthy snacks and switch them out with healthier choices. Per year a school would have to pay $80,000 while the government pays around $30,000. It could increase or decrease depending on the number on kids in a school.
  2. There are too many fast food restaurants that mostly offer unhealthy, fatty choices. They should add healthier choices to their menu and not overprice the healthier choices. That way people would have better options even at fast food restaurants.
  3. Advertise that eating better is a great thing. Eating healthy and exercising more often could really solve the problem of obesity. We could advertise healthy eating through many things such as billboards, TV commercials and over the radio. Billboards can range from $400-$700 depending on the placement and size. You have to rent out a spot to put your billboard and that depends on the placement also, that would cost $3000-$9000.

Advantages and Disadvantages of #1

Advantages:

  • The kids don't have many unhealthy choices to choose from so they will most likely make a healthy choice.
  • Kids might like some of the healthy choices and eat them more often.
Disadvantages:

  • Kids who don't buy their lunch may not be eating very healthy.
  • If kids don't like the healthy choices then they might bring their lunch with unhealthy choices in it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of #2

Advantages:

  • People may start eating the healthier choices on the fast food menu.
  • The restaurants may get more business because they have more healthy choices to offer people.
Disadvantages:

  • If the healthy choices are over priced then people will choose the unhealthy choices because they are cheaper.
  • The restaurant may not get much business because they changed their menu to be more healthy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of #3

Advantages:

  • Billboards and TV commercials could catch the peoples eye and help the choose better choices.
  • If a famous person is advertising that eating healthy is good then people would want to follow their example.
Disadvantages:

  • Some people would ignore the advertisements.

Proposal

Obesity has become a serious problem over the past 30 years. There are unhealthy choices that are quick for us to get from fast food restaurants. Our way to make obesity less of a problem is to advertise on billboards, TV commericals, etc. that it is good to be healthy. We would show commericals of famous actors and actresses eating healthier and how good it is for them to eat healthy. We could change some of the menus on fast food restaraunts and put healthier choices on their menus. Advertising these healthy food trends may kick the bad eating habits to the curb. Also people could realize that they need to change their eating habits and excercise schedule. By doing this the obesity rate would go way down. Being in the South though, it will be difficult to get people to change their habits. We may have to try two solutions. Even with the disadvantages of kids bringing their own lunches and not choosing the healthy choices, it would still be a good idea to change the lunch choices at schools. When changing these meal choices, kids may eat healthier and they could make the better choice for themselves. This way we could help reduce the rate of childhood obesity and adult obesity. We can knock out the problem of obesity in DFW!
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Evaluation

Our solution of putting up billboards and changing school lunch choices could be very effective if implemented. Our billboards would be most effective in downtown Dallas where thousands of people drive through daily. Seeing those billboards could give them a thought of eating healthier. Who knows, they could change someone's diet and the obesity rate in Texas could go down. Wen changing the lunch choices in schools it is also knocking out childhood obesity. We could get people on a healthy kick at an early start in life. Even though these kids could bring their lunches with unhealthy choices, it would be better for other kids, even being a small portion, those kids could eat healthy. Even though people could ignore the billboards and commercials, there will be a few people who get affected by it. We don't need everyone to agree right now but if we can start with small numbers, we can grow and have more people eating healthy and feeling better. The obesity rate could easily go down by implementing our solutions.

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