OBESITY: HOW RESEARCH FROM MINOR KINESIOLOGY, MAJOR NUTRITION AND PSYCHOLOGY CAN HELP THE PROBLEM

by Giroux on April 13, 2015 - 2:19pm

According to the article ʺFor food companies, fat children are 'investment in future sales'ʺ (http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/for-food-companies-fat-children-are-inve...) published on February 19, 2015 on cbc News and written by Amanda Lang, the food industry does not want to make us ill. The only thing they want is to make profit as the system requires them to do. Therefore, the solution the food industry found is to exploit our weakness for food having a greater rate of sugar, fat and salt. As a result, 2.1 billion people are overweight and that causes 2.8 million deaths every year due to obesity. Worse than that, children are among the largest number of victims since they are exposed to ʺcolourful and fun fast-food adsʺ.

The Lancet, a top medical journal, published six articles which are saying that over the 187 countries grappling with the obesity epidemic none of them managed to reverse it. The consequences are worrisome. For example, an American kid has an average weight 11 pounds heavier than three decades ago. Also, in Canada, it is almost two-thirds of the adult population that are obese or overweight.

To avoid such consequences, experts suggest an international code of food marketing on children, a stronger regulation of nutritional quality in schools, a tax on junk food, mandatory food labelling and subsidies for healthy food for those who can’t afford them.

Personally, I think as a society and also as individuals, we have to do something to stop the obesity epidemic. This is why I will write a paper on what we can do as individuals and as a society to make us have a healthy weight.

I wrote many news summaries about health issues, but obesity is the issue that inspires me to read academic work to better understand what pushes people to eat junk food knowing the negative effects it can have on health. My article ʺObesity, not our fault?ʺ which is about the fact food labels should be clearer, so consumers can understand them more easily and do healthier food choices and the news summary above inspired me. What inspired me in those two stories is that we are not the only ones responsible of the obesity epidemic. Government who permits attracting ads of junk food on children channels are as responsible as us for this epidemic. There are also food companies which manipulates our preferences for salty, sugary and fatty food. Obesity is part of a lifestyle and it is more complex than it seems to change. Therefore, I think that digging into three academic disciplines could help demystified what seems complex to change into simple solutions affordable for everybody.

The question I will answer in my paper is: What can be done individually and as a society to have an average healthy weight?

To answer this question I will search for journal articles written by Minor Kinesiology students or teachers. In this discipline, ʺbasic but comprehensive knowledge of scientific bases of human physical activity and its relationship with health and well-beingʺ (http://www.mcgill.ca/study/2015-2016/faculties/science/undergraduate/pro...) are studied. It will help to clarify either only changing the food labels is enough to have a healthier weight or we have to exercise and be careful of what we eat which will relate to the first news summary I wrote about obesity. Then there is the Major Nutrition (http://www.mcgill.ca/study/2015-2016/faculties/macdonald/undergraduate/p...) program which ʺ emphasis on the scientific fundamentals of nutrition and metabolism throughout the lifespan from the molecular to the organismal levelʺ and ʺ integrates the influence of exercise and physical activity on health and chronic disease preventionʺ that will show how that much people can die from obesity and why we are so addicted to salt, sugar and fat as I described in my news article above. Finally, Psychology (http://www.mcgill.ca/study/2015-2016/courses/psyc-215) is a discipline which offers ʺ an overview of the major topics in social psychologyʺ such as individual processes, interpersonal processes and influence processes. I think it is involved in obesity because of the way we react to ads on junk food as it is shown in the news summary above.

As individuals, Minor Kinesiology will provide information on how exercise should be part of our lifestyle so we should promote an active lifestyle instead of an inactive lifestyle. Then, Major Nutrition will provide information about how we get addicted to the taste of junk food and how we can get this same taste in healthier food. Psychology will provide information about how thinking negatively can have undesired effects on weight and on how thinking positively can counter these negative effects.

As a society, Minor Kinesiology will provide information on how governments, organizations and cities can promote exercise by organizing events that will make us move. Major Nutrition, will provide information on what food should be promote and what is the better food to give in schools for growing children. Finally, Psychology will provide information about how we react to ads and what governments should ban from publicity so healthier food ads could replace the junk food ones.