EmergingHealth Issues and Implications for Nutrition Education
Obesityhas been perceived as one of the most health issues being dealt withamong the teens (Harcombe, 2010). Various factors have contributed toteens making poor nutrition and health choices that contribute toobesity. The sole aim of this report is to discuss environmentalfactors, biological, as well as intra and interpersonal factors thatlead to teens making nutrition choices that can lead to obesity. Inthis regard, school setting would be considered.
Theenvironment has by no doubt come to be established as one of thefactors that influence health behavior. Stock & Ellaway (2013)observe that the emergence of obesity pandemic in recent times hasbrought this reality into perspective. This is in consideration ofthe poor behaviors in terms of physical activities as well asnutrition as seen especially, among the teens. Heightened andincreased reckless nutritional behaviors as consumption of softdrinks as well as poor physical engagement behaviors have madeobesity among teens a giant. Playing outside the school is no longerperceived as important and has quickly been overtaken by computergames that have minimal physical movement.
Effortsto educate the population, more so, the teens in school haveencountered major setbacks. The greatest of these setbacks istechnology. Despite ongoing campaigns and insistence of play forteens, as a way of keeping the body physically engaged and free ofthe obesity danger, most teens prefer playing with their electronicgadgets. This leads to teens becoming obese. In addition, there aremore food joints and vending machines that sell unhealthy foods suchas fries and other fast foods than there are those that sell morehealthy foods (Stock & Ellaway, 2013). Furthermore, the policiesthat govern the students against accessing such facilities are notgiven much emphasis. The implication of this laxity is the currentobesity crisis thus, environmental factors contribute to nutrientsthat teen take which contributes to obesity.
Theother factors that affect nutrition and health choices are the intraand interpersonal factors. These factors lie within an individual’scontrol and have everything to do with preferences and tastes(Shepherd et al., 2006). At this level, obesity may come as a resultof less than adequate knowledge on nutrition. Most teenagers seem tostray away from taking vegetables and fruits and tend to be attractedto doing more sugar and fast foods whose fat and cholesterol levelsare considerably high. These kinds of foods are by all means theeasiest way to becoming obese.
Whenit comes to interpersonal factors, it is all about the teen’sassociation with each other. Shepherd et al. (2006) argue thathealthy foods are mostly associated with parents by young peoplewhereas fast foods are associated with friendship, pleasure andsocializing. This explains the unhealthy nutrition tendencies amongthe teenagers. It also expresses the challenge of nutrition educationas this has to do with changing their perceptions. At this point ofgrowth for the young people, peers tend to be believed more than anystraight reasoning individual who seeks to educate them. The peerpressure challenge is further fueled by lack of social support andthis stretches wider than just nutritional tendencies but to physicalactivities too. Therefore, peers may influence the nutrition uptakeof teens, which may lead to obesity.
Onthe other hand, biological predispositions also affect nutrition andhealth choices. In this category, the rationale is more based on theneed for the body to acquire energy. Most teens indulge in unhealthyeating habits driven by the wrong notion that the body requiresenergy. Poor knowledge of nutrition leads to teenagers ending uptaking far too much than necessary and at the same time not engagingin activities to release the energy. This action in return leads tohigh risks of becoming obese. It is very important to note thatnutritional needs vary by age and poor knowledge may quickly resultin wrong application of nutritional content. These can lead to avariety of consequences among them being obesity. Having this inmind, knowledge on nutrition and health choices ought to be givenpriority among teens.
Someof the implications that come with providing nutrition education andthe skills needed for nutrition educators are that there would be aconsiderable reduction in lifestyle diseases. Such diseases asobesity and diabetes among other chronic diseases can be dealt withusing the prevention approach. This is so because adequate knowledgeof proper nutrition and the importance of physical activities to boththe general public and to the nutrition educators will help inensuring healthier choice. According to Rees et al. (2006), extensionprograms would come in handy in increasing the level of awareness,skills, confidence, and motivation in overcoming health concerns.
Anotherimplication is that proper education on nutrition will lead toimproved policies in schools where regulations will be made on whatkind of foods can be accessed. This approach would reducesignificantly the environmental factors that lead to unhealthy eatinghabits. This is particularly in relation to vending machines and fastfood joints that are set up in or near schools prompting mostteenagers to indulge in misled nutritional tendencies that easilylead to health issues like obesity.
Harcombe,Z. (2010). Theobesity epidemic: What caused it? how can we stop it?.U.K: Columbus Publishing Ltd.
Rees,R., Kavanagh, J., Harden, A., Shepherd, J., Brunton, G., Oliver, S.,& Oakley, A. (2006). Young people and physical activity: Asystematic review matching their views to effectiveinterventions. HealthEducation Research,21(6), 806-825.
Shepherd,J., Harden, A., Rees, R., Brunton, G., Garcia, J., Oliver, S., &Oakley, A. (2006). Young people and healthy eating: A systematicreview of research on barriers and facilitators. HealthEducation Research,21(2), 239-257.
Stock,C., & Ellaway, A. (2013). Neighbourhoodstructure and health promotion.New York: Springer.