According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. Approximately 17% of children and adolescents ages 2-19 years are obese.” The state of Iowa ranks above the national average at 28.4%, leaving the responsibility of changing this epidemic to local communities. According to the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource August 2010 issue, “the soda demand is so great there is enough to supply [everyone] with more than 52 gallons of soda a year.” The rate of soda and junk food consumption has greatly increased throughout the United States; the Iowa State Campus is not an exception.
Purpose and Scope
As students as Iowa State, we are best fit to research how to change the lifestyles of our peers. In order to decrease the obesity epidemic, we are proposing to assist in changing someone’s routine diet by replacing the vending machine snack options. The existing vending machines have little variety or choice of healthy foods. Furthermore, most beverage-centered vending machines only have water as a choice as a healthy alternative. Giving students the selection of healthy foods will not only lower their risk of obesity during their stay at Iowa State, but it will provide students with the tools to make healthy choices about food once they are away from ISU.
Our analysis will be derived from three levels; macro-level, meso-level, and micro-level. These different depths of scope will provide us with the most well rounded view of the obesity epidemic, as well as which methods of fixing the problem proves to be most effective. Macro-level analysis will stem from a complete description of the United State’s relationship with obesity, food consumption, and activity levels. From there, research specifically relating to the ISU community will be acquired through sample surveys and an interview with ISU’s Peggy Martin, Director of Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.
The first step would be to poll 150 students or more regarding how they want the university to overcome obesity. If our hypothesis reigns true, we will determine that replacing vending machine snacks with healthier ones will be the most efficient method. The focus audience will be Mayor Ann Campbell, since she has the power to pass this proposal on to the city council or discard it. If she passes it on, the primary audience will be the city council members, since they are the ones who voice their opinions and affect the final vote of the citizens of Ames, who are the secondary audience. Other concerned audiences include the citizens of nearby cities or people who visit Ames, as well as any other communities considering a similar proposal.
Risks of Junk Food and Soda Consumption
Junk food is described as any food that contains little or no nutritional value. Outside of the lack of nutritional value junk food has many negative effects as well. Studies show links to obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. The United States is one of the unhealthiest nations in the world, consuming more fast food than any other nation per capita. The rise of childhood obesity is on the brink of being an epidemic, showing that the United States’ own culture has come to include junk food. Many people get their eating habits from their families growing up, even those who eat healthy as a children now are at risk for developing unhealthy habits when they move away to college, given that for the first time they are forced to make food-related decisions on their own, with little to no education on health. Students may also feel that they are too busy to plan out healthy meals; looking for quick and easy meals found at many convenient locations on campus. Students turn to soda for the caffeine for energy and fast food for sustenance. The lack of available healthy options and the accessibility of junk food on and around campus is a major cause for concern.