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Society and Leisure

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Society and Leisure The impacts of Obesity and Overweight on the family Part One Introduction It is now estimated that around two-thirds of the population of England are overweight or obese and obesity has been spiraling out of control and has accelerated by almost 400% in the last 25 years. Some people have even predicted that today's generation of children will be the first in 100 years whose life-expectance will fall. This is a dismal prediction and a problem which should be addressed with urgency. Being overweight or obese can be described as extra body fatness which is normally assessed by body mass index (BMI). This can be calculated by dividing an individual's weight, measured in kilograms, by their height in metres squared and consequently if the BMI is over 25, but below 30 then a person is described as being overweight and if the BMI is 30 or above then they are obese. Economic & Social Research Council Website (2006) Over half of women, and about two-thirds of men in the UK are either overweight or obese and this can be associated with many health problems including coronary heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, osteoarthritis, back pain, skin problems and psychological damage and some studies have shown that there is a strong link between obesity and cancer. It is generally known that obesity is caused when people overeat in relation to the energy they need and at the same time their exercise levels drop considerably, consequently they don't burn off the calories needed to maintain their weight. ...read more.


Whereas today foods and meals are produced for quick and easy consumption, which causes far more food to be consumed than is actually needed. Family meals in the 50's involved socialization and conversation which allowed time for them to digest foods properly which in contrast to today's casual snacking whilst watching television which does not offer the delays that help satisfy our hunger. Now days most Mothers opt for pre-packed foods which tend to be high in calories and low in micronutrients, minerals and fibre and consequently to satisfy our hunger we tend to eat greater quantities. Many argue that these days it is far too easy to fill our supermarket trolleys with pre-packed foods because, firstly the supermarkets position these pre-packed foods in key areas of the store, therefore making it easier to purchase and secondly the pictures on the packaging are tempting and appetizing, whereas fresh meat counter can look uninviting and for many the site of raw meat can be off putting. The other major problem is that less people are willing to spend time cooking meals and don't understand the nutritional benefits of foods which go into good healthy meals. In another survey done in 1997 it was reported that, 36% of 11 to 15 year olds thought 'good cooking' consisted of making sandwiches and a further 31% thought making toast was a healthy option. In Britain today most people either have never learned to cook or cannot be bothered to cook, which has resulted in losing the ability to know and manage what goes into our meals. ...read more.


UCL Institute for Child Health Website (2006) But perhaps the wider challenge will be to educate the whole family to buy the right foods and ones which contain the right nutritional benefits and teach parents ways of controlling their children's food intake. Many claim that a lot of foods which are filled with fat, salt and sugar often state they are healthy options foods and although the European published a proposal to regulate food labeling which make misleading claims of being nutritious and health benefits. National Consumer Council Website (2006) Some major food manufacturers have added their own labels which they hope will help mothers to decide which foods are the best to buy. Part of their plan will be to put the labels on the front of the packaging which will tell shoppers how many calories and how much fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt a serving of each product contains. However the labels will not be colour-coded and won't tell consumers at a glance whether the products fall under government definitions of high, medium or low in salt, fat or sugar. Guardian Unlimited Website (2006) Therefore this essay has demonstrated that although overweight and obesity problems have accelerated due to modern family life, this in itself has been partly due to media advertising, poor food labelling and supermarket positioning of foods. Therefore to conquer the weight problems which start due to the family environment, all three areas of media, food labelling and re-educating parents should be addressed. ...read more.

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