Teenage Obesity Alarming Rates in Victoria State

Summary

Obesity occurs when a person’s body mass index is far above the normal scale. Obesity has a lot of negative effects on a person’s wellbeing. It is a current and alarming issue in Australia that needs to be addressed. Passive lifestyle, unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise are only a few causes of obesity. The trend has been increasing over the years making 46% of adults in Victoria State in Australia categorized in the obese category. Studies have proven that obesity can increase the possibility of a person getting cardiovascular diseases. It can also affect a person’s nervous system that would make the person’s daily life more challenging (Stewart, 2003, p. 63).

However, the public still did not see this as a problem despite the alarming amount of people being obese. Study groups have shown that a majority of people are aware but somehow idle about the issue.

Purpose

  • To increase the awareness of the public regarding the negative consequences of being obese
  • To educate the public about healthy diet and lifestyle
  • To encourage outdoor activities for the public

Target Audience

  • Primary Audience: Adults of the age of 21 to 45
  • Secondary Audience: Children between the ages of 8 to 16
  • Teenagers between the ages of 17 to 20

Fact Sheet

In the last three decades, childhood obesity has tripled. In Australia, the obesity rate for children between the ages of 6-11 years has increased from 7 percent in 1980 to approximately 20 percent in 2008 (Nelsen, 2011, par. 2). Similarly, the rate of those between the age of 12-19 who suffer from obesity has been recorded to increase from 5 percent to 18 percent over the same period (Nelsen, 2011, par. 3).

In the year 2008, of all children, more than one-third were obese or overweight (Yaverbaum & Bly, 2001, p. 64). Overweight refers to having surfeit body weight for a definite height from muscle, fat, water, bone, or a mixture of these factors, whereas obesity refers to a situation where an individual has excess body fat. Obesity occurs as a result of caloric imbalance which is influenced by the following factors, such as behavioral, genetic, and environmental ones. The well-being and health effects of childhood obesity are both immediate and long-term (Mizrahi, 2010, p. 82).

Research indicates that among obese youths of 5-17 age, 70 percent are likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure. In addition, they are prone to sleep apnea, joint and bone problems, and psychological and social problems such as poor self-esteem and stigmatization (Stewart, 2004, p. 72). Moreover, the research indicates that those children who were obese at an earlier age of two have a high probability of being obese when they reach adulthood; thus, they are at risk of adulthood health problems, such as stroke, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (Moreno, 2010, p. 37).

In addition, this health condition is associated with a high risk for colon, prostate, kidney, gall bladder, ovary, cervix, thyroid, pancreas, endometrium, esophagus, and breast cancer, as well as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma (Dietz, 2004, p. 67).

Information and data regarding obesity are gathered from the research done on Australia by the World Health Organization.

  • It states that the implication of obesity is serious. Cardiovascular diseases are increased by 50% for obese people.
  • Obesity is the number one problem in America and the country currently tops the chart of the most people in the obese category and Australia comes in second.
  • Obesity can be caused by lifestyle, socio-economic status, and knowledge on healthy diet or ignorance. The number one cause of being obese is ignorance.
  • 85% of Australian citizens feel that obesity is a problem but it is up to that person’s choice on how to live their lives.

Rationale

The possible reason for this release is to curb this health condition through, changing lifestyle habits, for instance, healthy eating and adequate physical activity. These healthy lifestyle habits if adopted can lower the risk of being obese and acquiring related diseases (Paxon, 2006, p. 59). Again, the behavior of children in terms of diet and physical activity are externally influenced by different sectors of the society such as families, schools, communities, childcare settings, faith-based institutions, the media, government agencies, medical care providers, entertainment industries, and food and beverage industries (Krebs et al., 2007, p. 42).

This means that such behaviors can be influenced for the better. Moreover, “schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors” (Nelsen, 2011, par.15). In addition, schools provide students with an opportunity of learning about and practice healthy eating as well as healthy physical activity behaviors (Burns & Grove, 2009, p. 59).

The other importance is to educate communities and states on available options such as assessment of the retail food environment for children to understand the existing differences concerning healthier food accessibility. Give incentives to farmers’ markets and existing supermarkets to sell healthier food or have subsidiaries in low-income places (Pařízková & Hills, 2005, p. 62). Again, the community and state can expand their programs of availing vegetables and local fruits at schools as well as erecting salad bars near or inside schools. Parents together with other authorities can also work to ensure that children consume less sugar and more vegetables.

References

Burns, N & Grove, S K 2009, The practice of nursing research: Appraisal, synthesis, and generation of evidence, 6th edn, Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, MO.

Dietz, WZ, 2004, ‘Overweight in Childhood and Adolescence’, New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 350, no. 9, pp. 855-857.

Krebs, NF, Himes, JH, Jacobson, D, Nicklas, TA, Guilday, P & Styne, D 2007, ‘Assessment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity’, Pediatrics, vol. 120 Suppl, no. 4, pp. S193-228.

Mizrahi, J 2010, Fundamentals of writing for marketing and public relations a step-by-step guide for quick and effective results, Business Expert Press, Melbourne.

Moreno, LA 2010, Epidemiology of obesity in children and adolescents: Prevalence and etiology, Springer, Melbourne.

Nelsen, S 2011, ‘Focus On: Childhood Obesity’, WGRZ. Web.

Pařízková, J & Hills, A P 2005, Childhood obesity: Prevention and treatment, Melbourne, CRC Press.

Paxon, C 2006, Childhood Obesity: The Future of Children, Brookings Institution Press, Princeton.

Stewart, S 2003, Media training 101: A guide to meeting the press, Wiley, Melbourne.

Stewart, S 2004, Media training 101: A guide to meeting the press, Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Yaverbaum, E & Bly, R 2001, Public relations kit for dummies, Wiley Pub., Melbourne.

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