It’s time to look at obesity and healthy living

Blog post 1. Creating a data set – Obesity & Healthy living

Written by Hyunjoung You

  1. Diets and drugs are not enough to tackle obesity

Anna Salleh, a science journalist at ABC Science, is an author of this article. Salleh has written articles that are related to obesity before writing this article such as ‘Brain’s binge eating circuit revealed’ and ‘Cold climates linked to ‘fat’ gut bacteria’. These articles are all based on secondary sources. She does not voice her opinions on them and this article as well.

She points out that preventing from being obesity cannot solve by just diets and drugs; therefore, we should redo obesity research to discover what ‘obesogenic environment’ is properly. She wrote this article based on the research of Professor Stephen Simpson (Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre) as secondary source. Simpson highlights that an unhealthy food supply system produces processed food with low in fibre and other essential nutrients due to our political and economic system.

I agree with this article, diets and drugs are not enough to help people to prevent from being obesity. Also, we should solve the problem an unhealthy food supply system. This means that we need to look at our political and economic system as well.


  1. Sprawling Sydney makes it hard to walk and it’s bad for our health

This article is written by Tim Williams, chief executive of the Committee for Sydney from November 2011, was, before coming to Australia, the senior Special Advisor to a number of UK cabinet ministers in the Department of Communities and Local Government.

He has become interested in urban design and health, so he discusses there are not much walkable areas or places in Sydney. He voices his opinion by using the research of Christopher Leinberger (a land use strategist, researcher and author) and SmartGrowth America (advocacy organization for quality of life, economic sustainability and environment). Leinberger finds (2016, para.9) that ‘the cities with the highest levels of walkable urbanism are the most educated and wealthy, and they are the most socially equitable’. By contrast, “drivable suburban approach dominated real estate development” is called as sprawl. The author states that Western Sydney has become the obesity and diabetes centre of Sydney since the area is sprawling parts served by public transport. Therefore, Western Sydney needs to change like Sydney CBD that gives opportunities to walk and have a healthier population.

I reckon the growth of technology has become harming people health. If urban design can bring about positive effect to people health, I think as a design student the author’s position is quite interesting.


  1. Fat can be healthy, so don’t tell me you’re dieting for health reasons

Bethany Rutter is a journalist and blogger who writes about fay bodies, plus-size fashion and body positivity. She writes this article for who has fat bias or who would like to lose weight due to health reasons. The beginning of this article includes the research by Katherine Flegal with the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. The research described a U-shaped curve where death rates were highest with a very high or very low BMI. As a result, the author insists that there are no relations between being slim and healthy living. However, most people believe that eating low calorie food and working out at the gym are virtuous. This means people would take long time to accept thought is being little bit fatter could be helpful to their health. Rutter voices her opinions as a fat activist, so the article becomes more opinion based. She emphasizes that

“Instead of prioritizing weight loss, it considers wider factors, such as quality of life, sense of wellbeing and the psychological benefits that come with a less punitive approach to diet and exercise.”

I agree with Rutter, especially being thin does not mean healthy. Furthermore, I was quite interested in the research that being fatter properly might be beneficial to be healthier. If it is true, people might change their mind-set about being fatter. However, her article is based on more her opinion and experience; thus, I think the article is not much professional.


  1. Study claims ‘plus-size’ models may contribute to obesity epidemic and unhealthy lifestyle choices

 Vanessa Brown, a lifestyle reporter at, is an author. Brown writes this article for giving different opinions whether the use of plus-size or ‘realistic’ model in ad brings about an increase of obesity rates and poor health choices among consumers or not. She writes this article by according to the study of Simon Fraser University in Canada and the answers from Australian ‘plus-size’ model Laura Wells about using ‘plus-size’ models has a negative impact on the public’s eating behaviour and lifestyle. Dr Lily Lin (lead author and associate professor of Marketing at California State University) said,

“The reasons for the poor health choices are because of the use of reassuring slogans such as ‘real’ and ‘normal’ next to ‘plus-size’ models.”

On the other hand, Laura disagrees with the result from the study. She does not think the use of ‘plus-size’ model makes consumers being obesity and having poor health choices. However, she admit the problem using the word ‘real’ and ‘normal’ on the ad images, regardless of the model size. She adds,

“Everyone is real. Normal comes with what you choose is normal, so I understand that part of the study.”

I totally agree with Laura. I believe that using of ‘plus-size’ model is much better than using just skinny model in ad because skinny models may make consumers having eating disorders. Moreover, I like the recommendation from the study that the advertisers and marketers should use diverse body types and sizes in their ads. It would help people to think they are all normal.


  1. Doctors would welcome 20% sugar drink tax

Australian Associated Press is the author, and AAP writes for presenting a Greens proposal “sugar tax” on soft drinks and fruit juice to tackle Australia’s obesity crisis.

This article is written based on factual, so it cites the study and few identified associations sources. Therefore, AAP states each associations’ the opinions with the reasons about “sugar tax” proposal. AAP also tends to let readers understanding “sugar tax” proposal more easily by reading this article.

One of the associations who agree with “sugar tax” proposal said,

“Sugary drinks are part of the growing obesity problem, the number one health epidemic facing the country.” – Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon

AAP gives different opinions about this proposal in the article, but they support this proposal to be accepted for healthy living. They highlights that “sugar tax” proposal is

“An educational, not emotional, approach is the only way to achieve better health outcomes.”

I also believe that sugary drinks can be one of contributor to the obesity crisis; however, I do not think drinking sugary drink is the major reason for that, and I doubt if “sugar tax” proposal works properly or not. I reckon sugar is one of daily addiction to people. Thus, it would be hard to change drastically even the proposal is approved.



AAP, 2016, ‘Doctors would welcome 20% sugar drink tax’, The Australian, 22 June, viewed 13 August 2016, <;

Brown, V. 2015, ‘Study claims ‘plus-size’ models may contribute to obesity epidemic and unhealthy lifestyle choices’,, 17 December, viewed 11 August 2016, <;

Rutter, B. 2015, ‘Fat can be healthy, so don’t tell me you’re dieting for health reasons’, the guardian, 8 April, viewed 08 August 2016, <;

Salleh, A. 2015, ‘Diets and drugs are not enough to tackle obesity’, ABC News, 8 June, viewed 05 August 2016, <;

Williams, T 2016, ‘Sprawling Sydney makes it hard to walk and it’s bad for our health’, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July, viewed 04 August 2016, <;