Post 10 | Reflection and Proposition

by Tiffany Wong

 

In week 7, I had the opportunity to partner up with an individual outside of my issues group to discuss our draft propositions and exchange feedback. During the session I briefly explained the research that had led me to the proposal,

“Improving the rate of obesity within adolescents due to the social pressure and expectations within our society to look a certain way. To raise awareness and educate people on the foods they consume and to upkeep regular exercise, but most importantly to encourage people to be more accepting of each other and not conform to society’s expectations. This can be achieved through an automated text system that sends facts and statistical data to the public that will help them understand the serious consequences that weight-based bullying and fat shaming can have on individuals, in hopes of creating a more accepting and supportive community in leading a healthier lifestyle.”

The feedback from my partner and tutor helped me to understand that although the objective of my proposition was clearly stated and heading down the right track, the design solution needed more consideration and refining. I realised the following points:

  • People in the age group 18-25 may not be interested in reading a number of facts and statistical information on obesity and the impact that weight-based bullying has on individuals.
  • An automated text system may be too invasive, unwanted, and perceived as spam.
  • The draft proposition is too wordy and it is trying to achieve too much.
  • The design solution and chosen channel isn’t strong enough to provoke an emotional reaction from the audience.

 

Refined Proposition

Project Title: Fighting Unhealthy Behaviours, #FUB

Practice Type: Data visualisation + Service

The Issue: Weight-based bullying among youths and people aged 18-25 years is considered the most common form of bullying. People often overlook the seriousness and impact it has on individuals who fall victim to it. Constant criticism and bullying can lead to emotional eating (overeating), depression, anxiety, isolation or even suicide/self bodily harm.

While data-scraping, I found various tweets that fought back at fat-shaming comments, some that were links on how to lose weight and become healthier, some that were unpleasant fat-shaming comments, but very few that shared their personal stories and experiences. From this, it is clear that this issue exists but there are very few people that actually show or express the effect is has on the victim.

The Possible Change: The proposed design will enlighten people of the seriousness and impact that the issue has on people experiencing weight-based bullying, both physically and psychologically. By doing so, it could encourage the majority of “average-size” people to be more supportive and accepting of obese people and encouraging them to lead a healthier lifestyle, rather than putting them down and pressuring them into doing so. As well as this, it could relieve the pressure from the victims that feel the need to conform to society’s expectations and lose weight.

The Design Action to Support Change: Part A – Data visualisation of stories and experiences from victims of weight-based bullying posted on Twitter. These could then form the basis of a campaign that aims to reach the target audience on an emotional level and make the think about

Part B – A campaign involving a series of videos shared around social media platforms and a website. The videos will show “victims (actors)” sharing their stories and experiences from being fat shamed and bullied. The website is an online space provided for victims, as well as “normal” people to share stories, fitness and health advice, and support each other in leading a healthier lifestyle, without copping judgements or criticism.

 

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Post 9 | Visual documentation of the brainstorming session

by Tiffany Wong

 

In our usual groups, each member presented their draft proposal. We then had to brainstorm new possible design solutions for each member’s proposal (15 minutes each person). However, when it was time to start we were quite confused on how and where to begin. As a group we were unsure whether these possible design solutions were considered as our final proposition or if these had to be realistic and eventually be produced in real life as part of task 3B, etc. It wasn’t until one of the tutors noticed that we were struggling and came to our table to explain in further detail, that we were able to gain some guidance and clarity.

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Possible design solutions brainstorming exercise

The image above is a map of the possible design solutions of one of my group member’s issue with the help from a tutor. As he was using this as an example to help us all better understand what we were supposed to do, we eventually ran out of time to brainstorm anyone else’s proposal. As a result, I was required to map out the possible design solutions at home, which I had struggled to do as I was limited and stuck for ideas. Because my proposal is still very broad at this stage, it was difficult to hone in on where to start with mapping possible design solutions.

As with many group exercises there are its strengths and weaknesses. Group work is very helpful in the sense that it allows us to gain greater insights and different perspectives relating to the issue and each others’ position on it. However, it was challenging to stick to the 15 minute time limit for each member and as a result my group ran out of time to brainstorm ideas for everyone else’s proposal, as well as mine.

Post 8 | Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

by Tiffany Wong

 

In this week’s brainstorming session, we were asked to individually respond to the questions of who, what, when, where and why in relation to our issues. As I have slowly developed a stronger understanding and interest around weight-based bullying and expectations within our society today, I have responded to these questions accordingly.

Issue: Fat shaming and obesity

Who does the problem affect?

  • Adolescents
  • Young women and men
  • Students
  • Young children
  • Particularly people with little knowledge of the nutritional value in the foods they consumer, people who are time poor or people with little income

What are the boundaries of this issue?

  • Society
  • Social pressure and expectations
  • Traditional and new media
  • Technology
  • Celebrities and social influencers
  • Parents and guardians
  • Schools, universities and the workforce
  • Food industries and manufacturers

Where does the problem occur?

  • The problem can occur anywhere in the world and on the Internet. However, it is more common online than in real life, as people feel more protected expressing their thoughts and criticism and stay hidden behind their screens, often known as ‘keyboard warriors’ or ‘haters’.

Why is this issue important?

  • My individual research has led me to realise that weight-based bullying is the most common form of bullying in youth worldwide. People who fall victim to bullying within this category are more likely to develop negative emotions, which may lead to a viscous cycle of overeating to help them gain a sense of comfort. This may also result in people developing a mental health illness, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Therefore it is important to break the barriers of those expectations and social pressures to look a certain way.

I found responding to these questions to be very successful in helping me pinpoint some of the key elements that my research has led me to. Following from this task, I came up with a draft proposal and 5 possible design solutions.

 

Possible Design Solutions

  1. Facts and statistical data on the rate of weight-based bullying and body shaming represented as a data visualisation and presented to the public. (Data Visualisation)
  2. Sharing stories from victims of bullying in the form of an app or a campaign shared across social media. This will also include links to counselling and any other means of help related to this issue. (Service design)
  3. Encouraging and positive messages collated together to allow people to feel less pressure to lose X amount of weight in X amount of time. Therefore they won’t feel like they have failed before they have even started their healthier living journey. (Data visualisation)
  4. Creating an interactive design that unveils the personal story of an obese individual alongside images of unhappy overweight people, when the image is selected. By doing so, I hope to remove the stigmatism around obese people and show the public that overweight or obese people are human and just like everyone else, no matter what size you are. The main message in this design is to treat people how you want to be treated. (Generative design)
  5. An online space where obese and average size people can share stories, experiences, and advice to create a positive and supportive community. (Service design)

 

Draft Proposal

Improving the rate of obesity within adolescents due to the social pressure and expectations within our society to look a certain way. To raise awareness and educate people on the foods they consumer and to upkeep regular exercise, but most importantly to encourage people to be more accepting of each other and not conform to society’s expectations.

The proposed design intervention could be an automated text messaging system that sends facts and statistical data on the rate of youths experiencing weight-based bullying and the consequences it has on the victims, both physically and psychologically. By doing so, I hope to raise awareness and encourage the general public to think before they act.

Although this statement is still very broad, it is a good starting point with the potential to be developed further.

 

Post 7 | Issue mapping

by Tiffany Wong

 

In week 2, I had the opportunity to collaborate with 3 of my group members who are researching the same issue of obesity and healthy living. From this brainstorming task, I was able to build my knowledge on the stakeholders involved in this issue.

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Week 2 Stakeholder Mapping Exercise

In this map we focused on people with obesity within the age group of 18 to 25 years old. After identifying our target audience, we were able to begin mapping the connections of the stakeholders who hold power within this issue, both human and non-human. During the process we were able to combine our knowledge from our individual research and discovered many similarities and links between some of the stakeholders.

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Week 4 Word Associations Exercise

In week 4 I was impressed to see the vast number of words my group members came up with that hold a strong association with obesity and healthy living. This exercise allowed us to draw out and highlight many words relating to obesity and healthy living from various positions and perspectives.

We also noticed some words that were common within the group as we were writing them out such as ‘discrimination’, ‘lack of education’, ‘stigma’ and ‘overeating’. This is a clear indication of the importance of these keywords in relation to the problem.

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Week 4 Word Associations Exercise

After this, we had the opportunity to have other other people outside of the group highlight some words from our existing keywords, which stood out to them and had a strong association to the issue. I found this to be successful and helpful as it is always refreshing to gain an objective opinion.

By brainstorming word associations, I have gained a stronger understanding and knowledge of some of the keywords that will be useful for filtering future individual research.

Post 6 | Scraping the web for data

by Tiffany Wong

 

Using the Twitter Archiver, I conducted a web scraping with the aim of better understanding the thoughts, experiences and perspectives of people in a global context (as I was unable to narrow it down to Australia) on the topic of obesity and body shaming by filtering my search with ‘body shaming’, ‘obesity’ and ‘fat’.

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Twitter Archiver – Body Shaming

The results showed up to 3000+ tweets posted by various twitter accounts, ranging from fitness companies, celebrities, professions, advocates of anti-fat shaming and bullying, and the general public. I found this tool quite confusing to navigate around and not very useful at this stage of research. However, I am aware that maybe it was because I wasn’t as familiar with the functions as others might have been.

Following this, I turned to Twitter advanced search to continue the web scraping where I was a little more successful in finding data that could be of use for future tasks. Similar to the Twitter Archiver results, there were many tweets including links on how to become healthier, people standing up against fat shaming, fat shaming tweets, but there were very few tweets that shared personal stories of being fat-shamed and the effect it may have had on them.

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Overall, I found this web-scraping task not very effective as I was unable to find the data and results I was hoping for. Maybe people feel vulnerable or scared to share their stories so openly, in fear that people may continue mistreat or criticise them. I am curious to dig a little deeper and possibly look into other social media platforms for personal stories and experiences from victims of body/fat shaming to form data visualisation.

Blog post 5

Interview

1. What are your attitudes towards obese and overweight people? What are the main drivers of obesity?

I began the interview with a general question and asked my interviewee about her attitudes towards people who are obese and overweight, and what she thinks are the main drivers of obesity. Her response expressed her attitudes were neither negative nor positive. She doesn’t see them as lazy or weak-minded, but believe that it is a path they have chosen for themselves and they are fully capable of change if they ever decide to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Obesity can be driven by pressure from society, unhealthy eating habits, our living environment, mental health and different cultures/lifestyles.

2. Do you think there is social pressure to look a certain way? How does this affect you?

There is definitely a lot of pressure to look a certain way within our society today. It’s very common to see photos of fit and healthy young women and men on social media, such as Instagram. If someone who is unfit or weighs heavier than the average person, but is confident in his or her own skin and post a photo of them, people will try to put them down and make nasty comments.

Social media has influenced her to sign up for the gym because she felt like she needed to exercise more and follow trends, such as adding fruits into her VOS glass water bottle, but it didn’t last long. When I asked her why, she acknowledged that she only wanted to achieve the image of being fit and healthy but it wasn’t something she would normally do. She only did it to feel relevant and ‘trendy’.

3. What is your definition of healthy living?

In her opinion, healthy living isn’t about sticking to strict diet plans and exercising 5 days a week. It’s more about being happy and confident within yourself, living life to its fullest and doing what ever makes you happy. She believes that it is more about having a positive mind-set, rather than always focusing on how much you weigh or how you look.

She acknowledged that she is not the healthiest person. She has tried many times to eat healthy but everyone time she went grocery shopping, she would check the nutritional value on the packaging but didn’t understand any of it. That’s why she believe in diets and you should be able to eat anything you want in moderation.

4. Do you think body positive movements and introducing more plus size models have a positive impact on our society because they promote being confident and comfortable in your own body?

Body positive movements and introducing more plus size models into our society is generally a positive thing because people get to see that all different body shapes and sizes are beautiful, rather than just seeing the typical skinny tall Victoria Secret models. By glamorising different body types it will help people to become more confident and comfortable in their own skin, instead of always feeling pressured to look perfect all the time.

However in saying that, she also believes there is a fine line between being an advocate for positive body image and self-confidence, and promoting unhealthy behaviours. For example, obese people may misinterpret the message and think that it’s okay to be overweight, as long as they’re happy with who they are. It is important to understand that if people are at the stage where they are at risk of developing serious health issues then it’s not okay to continue down that path.

5. What do you know about existing campaigns relating to obesity? What would you promote more of?

The current message to ‘eat less and exercise more’ is too simple and not clear enough. Designers should try and understand the unique situations of obese and overweight people and identify why they are the way they are.

My interviewee would promote more inspiring and positive quotes, and the stories of people who were formerly obese but has managed to lead a healthier lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight. It is important to understand the victims of obesity and encourage and support them to live a healthier life, instead of discriminating against them and bullying them.

Probe

After conducting the interview, I assigned the interviewee with a task to help me gain more insight of the motivation and reasoning behind her eating habits. The interviewee was required to create a food diary by documenting her meals each day for 7 days and provide a reason for consuming those meals.

food diary.jpg

Reasons for consuming those meals

  • Wednesday, 17 August
    • Lunch: It was her first time at the cafe and wanted to order something that would satisfy her cravings
    • Dinner: She ate whatever her mum cooked at home
  • Thursday, 18 August
    • Lunch: She bought donuts for her team members but everyone was sick so she ate them all herself
    • Dinner: She ate whatever her mum cooked because she loves home cooked meals
  • Friday, 19 August
    • Lunch: It was convenient to buy a chicken roll in her local area since her workplace is surrounded by factories
    • Dinner: She ate whatever her mum cooked at home
  • Saturday, 20 August
    • Lunch: There was no food at home so she decided to get take away
    • Dinner: It was provided to her at the wedding venue
  • Sunday, 21 August
    • Lunch: She cooked a simple meal from left over food in the fridge
    • Dinner: It was late so her cousins bought her McDonalds
  • Monday, 22 August
    • Lunch: Her mum brought home take away for her
    • Dinner: Her mum made hot dogs for her

From this task, I have noticed that my interviewee doesn’t eat breakfast at all and her eating pattern is inconsistent. She loves her food and is not fussy when it comes to the food she eats.

Blog post 3

Map of Stakeholders

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Image Archive

Image 1

fatfit
(Lauren Hom & Jessie Gang 2011)

This clever image incorporates imagery and type together to communicate the strong message, “From Fat to Fit”. The creators of this print ad are Lauren Hom and Jessie Gang, who are a creative team based in New York City. The use of a male figure, who starts off as overweight, represents an ‘A’ through his stance and size. He gradually transitions into an ‘I’ as he slims down and appear more confident, which is evident in the way he stands. The gradual change shows his achievement in his weight loss journey and promotes how physical activity can have a positive impact, both physically and psychologically, on a person.

Image 2

image archive 3
(Weight Stereotyping 2012)

This image is a representation of weight stereotyping and how people are constantly judged by their size. By having the words wrap around the women’s bodies, it shows how heavier women are often perceived as lazy, slow, undisciplined, and giving, while slimmer women were often seen as controlling, superficial and mean. Even the facial expressions depicts the thinner woman is mean, as she glares at the heavier woman, while she subtly smiles at the camera.

Image 3

image archive 2
(David Lesage 2014)

This image is a French advertisement that addresses the issue of the increasing rate of childhood obesity. The use of an ice-cream cone, which also signifies as an obese belly, demonstrates the relationship between the increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in fat and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other healthy micronutrients, and a decrease in physical activity, as the main cause of childhood obesity. The soft playful colours are appealing to kids and parents and the print ad requires minimal words, as the image is so strong and effective.

Image 4

image archive 4.png
(Rachele Cateyes n.d.)

To glorify obesity and fight back at people who have Fatphobia, Rachele Cateyes illustrated this image, along with 14 others. The juxtaposition of strong, body-positive statements and flowery, delicate imagery sends a strong message of empowerment to fight back at the discrimination and stigmatisation that exists towards obese and overweight people. Rachele steers away from using the typical imagery of overweight people to communicate her message and uses illustrations of cactus to symbolise the variety of body shapes and sizes. The use of cactus as imagery is unique and interesting.

Image 5

germany--we-are-what-we-eat-prints.jpg
(Alejo Malia n.d.)

This image is an art print illustrated by Alejo Malia, who is an artist based in Germany. The image depicts the idea of we are what we eat in a literal sense, as Alejo uses unhealthy foods to form the flesh and fat of a human arm.

Image 6

image archive 6.jpg
(Kristian Hammerstad n.d.)

This image was illustrated by Kristian Hammerstad for The Las Vegas Weekly. It demonstrates the influence and responsibility parents have on their children’s eating behaviours and how important it is to feed and educate children on healthy foods and eating habits at a young age to prevent childhood obesity.

Image 7

image archive 7
(Cut your portions, cut your risk 2012)

This image is an advertising campaign used by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It engages people by playing on the emotions and fear of obese and overweight people. The use of imagery and monochromatic colours with a pop of red sets a serious tone and alerts people about the risks and consequences that obesity can lead to.

Image 8

image archive 8
(The Meta picture 2016)

This image is an advertising campaign . The placement of the French fries inside a cigarette packet suggests that French fries, or fast food in general (because of the McDonalds logo that appears on the box), is as bad for you as smoking cigarettes.

Image 9

image archive 9
(Jing Wei 2015)

This image was featured in a news articles called “Pregnant, Obese…and in Danger”, which was published in The New York Times. It reflects the dangers of obese women who are pregnant, as they are more likely to have a very large baby, weighing roughly around 4 to 5 kilograms or even more. Babies who come from obese parents are more likely to grow up to become obese themselves.

Image 10

image archive 10.jpg
(Alyssa Moore 2013)

The creator of this poster is Alyssa Moore, an illustrator based in New Hampshire. It represents the social pressure that still exists in our society today, that women should have a feminine hourglass figure with a tiny waist. The image shows a strong woman cutting off a corset and breaking those barriers and expectations to be perfect or to be a size 0. It is promoting a healthy and positive body image.

 

References

Moore, A. 2013, 2013 Love your body poster, Behance, viewed 29 August 2016,
<https://www.behance.net/gallery/11892713/2013-Love-Your-Body-Poster&gt;.

Wei, J. 2015, Pregnant, obese…and in danger, The New York Times, viewed 29 August 2016,
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/opinion/sunday/pregnant-obese-and-in-danger.html?smid=tw-nytopinion&_r=1&gt;.

Themetapicture, Just As Dangerous. 2016. Web. 25 Aug. 2016.

Cut your portions. Cut your risk. 2012, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, viewed 29 August 2016,
<http://www.livescience.com/36118-public-health-campaign-ads-truth.html&gt;.

Hammerstad, K. n.d, Kindergarten Obesity, illustration, viewed 29 August 2016,
<http://www.kristianhammerstad.com/images/obesity_01.jpg&gt;.

Malia, A. n.d, We are what we eat, Society 6, viewed 29 August 2016,
<https://society6.com/product/germany–we-are-what-we-eat_print#s6-309427p4a1v45&gt;.

Weight stereotyping 2012, Glamour Magazine, viewed 29 August 2016,
<http://www.glamour.com/story/weight-stereotyping-the-secret-way-people-are-judging-you-based-on-your-body-glamour-june-2012&gt;.

Cateyes, R. n.d, No wrong way to have a body, The Huffington Post, viewed 29 August 2016,
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/15-charming-illustrations-that-fight-fatphobia-with-doodles-and-flowers_us_560d8ac2e4b0768127013521?ir=Women&section=women&utm_hp_ref=women&gt;.

Hom, L. & Gang, J. 2011, Fat Fat Fit – Gold’s Gym, Behance, viewed 29 August 2016,
<https://www.behance.net/gallery/Fat-Fat-Fit-Golds-Gym/1867961&gt;.

Lesage, D. 2014, Obésité chez les enfants, Behance, viewed 29 August 2016,
<https://www.behance.net/gallery/Obsit-chez-les-enfants/14594809&gt;.

Blog post 4

Design Example

SITU was originally created by Michael Grothaus, a former Apple employee and technology journalist. For many years, Michael struggled with his own weight loss journey. He tried many different diets and realised that cooking fresh food at home was the best way to eat. He also noticed there was not one diet app or fitness tracker that worked for him. As a result, he teamed up with his business partner Jose Farinha to bring SITU to life.

The SITU, which started as a Kickstarter project, is a simple food scale that is connected to an iPad through Bluetooth. The SITU scale allows you to weigh your food, which will then provide you with a clear visual of the calorie and nutrient content of those foods on the iPad. The scale also measures portion sizes in ounces and grams. Since people naturally underestimate the amount of calories that are in certain foods, Michael knew this product would be a great learning tool for calorie counters, diabetics, hypertensives, athletes, and essentially for anyone in a similar situation and wanted to lead a healthier life.

situ.jpg

 

References

Kickstarter 2014, SITU Smart Food Nutrition Scale, viewed 29 August 2016,
<https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/situ/situ-smart-food-nutrition-scale/description&gt;.

Blog post 2

Academic Articles

Following my research from blog post 1, I decided to focus more specifically on the mental health side of obesity. I have found 2 academic articles that venture further into this topic.

Article 1: If shaming reduced obesity, there would be no fat people

The article is written by Traci Mann and Janet Tomiyama. The main points covered in this article include:

  • Daniel Callahan’s proposal plan to reduce obesity is to use strong social pressure – even if it crosses the line into outright discrimination – to teach people that being overweight and obese is “not socially acceptable”, and “to make just about everyone strongly want to avoid being overweight and obese.”
  • Callahan believes that overweight and obese people do not find anything problematic or even notice their weight.
  • His only evidence for this lack of awareness comes from a Gallup survey. Only 39 per cent of the sample described themselves as very or somewhat overweight, when in actual fact 62 per cent of the sample was actually overweight or obese.
  • The discrepancy between being overweight and describing oneself as overweight may simply be due to people being reluctant to describe themselves as overweight – this explanation is consistent with the view that obesity is stigmatised.

Article 2: Expressive suppression of emotions and overeating in individuals with overweight and obesity

The article is written by Mirja Gianna Gorlach, Sebastian Kohlmann, Meike Shedden-Mora, Winfried Rief and Stefan Westermann. The authors were motivated to write this article as they were interested to see the association between emotional suppression and overeating in people who are overweight. The main points discussed in this article include:

  • There is research that underlines the crucial role of emotional processes for overeating. More specifically, it is argued that negative emotions can trigger eating behaviours.
  • The authors assumed that emotional eating is a learned behaviour strategy that helps deal with negative emotions and stress through eating behaviours, which leads to overweight and obesity. In turn, development of a more functional regulation of emotions may be a key factor for reducing overeating and the amount of obese individuals.
  • A study was conducted to determine important factors of emotion regulation related to overeating. Therefore, they also wanted to investigate the influence of expressive suppression on overeating for people with a high BMI, and whether BMI had a effect on the relationship between expressive suppression and overeating.
  • The study was in the form of an online questionnaire, posted to subjects recruited from social media platforms and internet forums in relation to psychological and physical health. The subjects were evaluated by 5 categories, Obesity, Expressive suppression, Overeating, Depression and anxiety, and Statistical analyses.
  • Results showed that expressive suppression has a strong association with overeating in obese people. The effect of BMI on the link between expressive suppression and overeating was found. By teaching patients to utilise adaptive emotion regulation strategies, it could be beneficial for therapy with obese patients.

From these academic articles, I found it interesting to see the associations of how the pressure from society to be healthy and fit can have a negative impact on overweight and obese people, which can influence overweight and obese people to overeat due to the fact that it helps them reduce negative emotions and stress. However, from the study conducted in Article 2, there is a possible way to reduce overeating and treat obesity, which is by teaching obese people to be aware of strategies that they can use to regulate their emotions. Although, this would have to be assessed further with more research.

 

Reference

Mann, T. & Tomiyama, J., 2013, ‘If shaming reduced obesity, there would be no fat people’, The Hastings Center Report, vol. 43, viewed 10 August 2016,
<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au/doi/10.1002/hast.166/epdf&gt;.

Gorlach, M., Kohlmann, S., Shedden-Mora, M., Rief, W. & Westermann, S. 2016, ‘Expressive suppression of emotions and overeating in individuals with overweight and obesity’, European Eating Disorders Review, vol. 24, viewed 29 August 2016,
<file:///Users/tiff112/Downloads/G-rlach_et_al-2016-European_Eating_Disorders_Review.pdf>.

 

Blog post 1

Article 1: Obesity a bigger problem than world hunger, Lancet study says – SMH

The article is written by Catherine Armitage and Inga Ting; Armitage is an ideas and innovation writer and an editorial writer, while Ting is a data journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald. This article is to inform Australians that the growing obesity epidemic is a lot more serious than we are aware of. I believe this article is credible as most of the information ties in with the academic article ‘Trends in adult body mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014’, which was published in the British medical journal, The Lancet. The biggest ever study of worldwide trends in BMI has revealed,

“Global overeating has become a bigger problem than world hunger with more people now obese than underweight.”

Armitage and Ting’s article is also supported, on many occasions, by comments from Bruce Neal (a director of the food policy division at the George Institute for Global Health and professor of global medicine at the University of Sydney) saying,

“Driving the rapid increase in obesity is the changing food environment. Incredibly cheap and incredibly unhealthy food has been made available everywhere.”

I found this article intriguing, yet extremely concerning. Although I knew that obesity was an important issue that was occurring around the world, but I hadn’t realised this issue has become this serious and bad. The article is factual with little bias present and provides correct referencing of sources mentioned, as well as supporting comments from experts in this field.

 

Article 2: Opinion: Bullying is a fat lot of use

The article is written by Paul Scott, a lecturer on the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle. Scott has written this article to inform Australians the seriousness that is the issue of obesity, especially in children. A survey conducted in Australia, U.S, Canada and Iceland has revealed,

“Weight-based bullying held the op spot by a substantial margin over other forms of bullying including race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and academic ability. At least 70% of participants in all four countries perceived weight-based bullying to be a common problem, with 69% characterising it as a serious or even very serious problem.”

Scott also points out from Sidney Spaner’s generalisations almost half-a-century ago, the primary message is that fat people are unloved and sad, and simultaneously deserve both condescending pity and spiteful contempt. Scott concluded the article by asking the obvious question, “What’s the best way to approach Australia having the fastest growing obesity rate on the planet?” in which he responds, “I have no idea. But I am damn certain it ain’t bullying anyone.”

I found the research from this article extremely sad. It is unacceptable to assume that obese people deserve to be excluded or hurt or humiliated by body shaming comments and bullying them. The pressure and negative treatment may build on to the level of stress, which will impact or trigger a mental health condition, e.g. depression.

The article is supported by multiple statistical data throughout the text, however there is no legitimate referencing. The article is factual but also includes the author’s opinion on the topic.

 

Article 3: Obesity prevention starts prenatally

The article is written by Debra Henline Sullivan, an Assistant Professor at Middle Tennesse State University School of Nursing where she currently teaches graduate and undergraduate nursing students. Currently she is working with childbirth educators to build simulated scenarios.

The author’s position is to inform parents of the important components of obesity prevention during pre-natal classes. It is important to open the parents’ eyes to this very real epidemic, which should reinforce their desire to protect their children from obesity. I believe the article is trustworthy and reliable as she reports on a topic within her expertise of research.

“Some tools can serve as guidelines to promote healthy outcomes, such as nutrition and portion control, exercise implementation, and supportive environment information.”

“Studies have shown that if parents overeat, then their children will probably overeat as well. Furthermore, when a child has one or two obese parents then they have a 40% or 80% respectively likelihood of being obese.” – A. Broedsgaard

This report is factual and well-researched, the author has gathered a number of statistical data to support her findings. There is little bias present and the author’s position is common, as I feel that people are already aware of the influence parents have on their children. This report is a good reminder of little things that can be done to encourage healthy eating and exercise, such as serving water instead of sugary drinks, support the choice of breastfeeding etc.

 

Article 4: Emotional eating fuelling Australia’s obesity epidemic, psychologist says

The article is written by Sam Ikin, an online producer for ABC News Digital based in Hobart. Ikin does not specialise in the field of health, but he has written about the issue before in the article ‘The eating disorder nobody wants to talk about’ in 2014. Ikin who has first hand experience with being over weight, has taken a different approach on this issue. In this article he acknowledges that obesity is not just as simple as the common message of “eat less and exercise more”. He explores the mental health side of obesity, which is often overlooked, and something that has not been given much coverage.

“New data suggests most overweight Australians were comfort or emotional eaters and stress and depression were major triggers”

Ikins describes this as a “vicious cycle”. The Australian society constantly judges you and so therefore you feel worse about yourself but then that releases those same hormones, which drives us to comfort eat even more.

 

Article 5: Victoria leads way in fighting childhood obesity

The article is written by Lisa Cornish, who is a freelance data journalist for Herald Sun. The article does not have any correct referencing or evidence of where the facts have been gathered from, which makes me question the authenticity of information provided in this article. The author has written this article to inform Australians of the actions to fight childhood obesity by the community of Victoria and hope you influence other locations to do the same.

“More than 200,00 Australian children aged 2-15 are obese; more than 20,000 of them are aged 2-4.”

The article is reinforced by commentary from the Nutrition Australia spokeswoman Aloysa Hourigan saying, “parental influences, public parks, sporting facilities and access to healthy food are critical in determining if your child is at risk of becoming obese.”

The article is factual, but not properly referenced. Cornish’s position on this issue is to inform and remind parents that they need to be provide positive role models, incentives and encouragement for their kids. By dieting and exercise, access and encouragement these are key in fighting childhood obesity.

I found this article thought-provoking. Although diet and exercise are important, there are many other elements that much be considered as well, such as educating children of nutritional value of healthy foods etc.

 

References

Armitage, C. & Ting, I. 2016, ‘Obesity a bigger problem than world hunger’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April, viewed 10 August 2016,<http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/obesity-a-bigger-problem-than-world-hunger-lancet-study-says-20160317-gnlbwk.html&gt;.

Scott, P. 2015, ‘Opinion: Bullying is a fat lot of use’, The Herald, 13 July, viewed 10 August 2016,
<http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3205612/opinion-bullying-is-a-fat-lot-of-use/&gt;.

Sullivan, D., 2014, ‘Obesity prevention starts prenatally’, International Journal of Childbirth Education, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 12.

Ikin, S. 2016, ‘Emotional eating fuelling Australia’s obesity epidemic, psychologist says’, ABC News, 18 February, viewed 10 August 2016,
<http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-18/emotional-eating-fuelling-australias-obesity-epidemic/7175204&gt;.

Cornish, L. 2014, ‘Victoria leads way in fighting childhood obesity’, Herald Sun, 24 January, viewed 10 August 2016,
<http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/victoria-leads-way-in-fighting-childhood-obesity/story-fni0fit3-1226809955057&gt;.