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1. Include an introduction that briefly outlines your main argument in response to the essay question, and what you will cover in your essay.

2. Briefly outline the nature and scale of the obesity issue and its key behavioural risk factors: unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

3. Most of your essay should be dedicated to clearly outlining your arguments on the relative importance of different determinants of unhealthy diets and physical inactivity, and any relationships between determinants. You may use specific examples to illustrate your argument, if you wish. Your arguments must be supported by citing academic literature and/or official statistical resources (ABS, WHO etc) as appropriate.

4. Outline the implications of your argument, in terms of whether it is a personal and/or social/government responsibility to address obesity risk factors.

5. Include a brief conclusion that concisely summarises your key points and main argument.

The Two Types of Obese People

Obesity is a medical situation which happens when an individual carries excess body fat or weight which may impact their health. It is influenced by individual lifestyle choices since when people use large meals high in refined grains, unhealthy fats, sugary drinks and red meat they play the most prominent role in obesity. Avoiding physical activity also influences weight gain since the energy gained by eating food is stored in the form of fats. On the other hand, obesity is determined by social determinants like genetics whereby if parents are obese it is most likely for some children to be overweight. Moreover, financial stress will make a person eat unhealthy food which will eventually contribute to excess weight. This essay will cover the nature and scale of obesity issue along with its critical behavioural risk factors, determinants of obesity and how they relate along with a clear and well-constructed analysis whether obesity is personal and social/government responsibility.

Obesity is a heterogeneous illness where environmental, genetic and psychological along with other factors are involved. Generally, the medical profession believes that there are two types of obese people such as those individuals who become overweight due to overeating or under-exercising and those whose adiposity is not closely associated with diet. This second type of people is believed to be caused by constitutional or an endocrine abnormality of the cells which somehow reduces the rate of intracellular oxidations (Schwartz et al., 2017). 

The initial scientific support of the hypothesis that obesity was frequently of endogenous origin came with the finding that few of the obese individuals had an abnormally low basal metabolic rate on the grounds of body weight (Schwartz et al., 2017).  Consequently, it was shown that the expenditure of energy is proportional to the surface area, but not the weight and most of those people have a standard basal metabolic rate. Later researchers maintained that a common cause of endogenous obesity was found in a lessened appropriate dynamic response to food (Schwartz et al., 2017). However, the increase in metabolic rate caused by food is relatively small for a technique possessed of a high degree of accuracy which is required to deal quantitatively with the obesity phenomenon.

Concerning the scale of obesity issue, the figure of individuals who are overweight is increasing swiftly globally making obesity one of the quickest developing public health issue. The worldwide incidence of pediatric obesity elevated to 5 per cent amidst 1975 and 2016. The escalation happened even as the occurrence of pediatric underweight declined moderately although prevailed at 8 per cent (Yanovski, 2018). In Australia, obesity is a significant public health issue wherein 2014-2015 a swaying per cent of 63.4 of Australian adults were obese or overweight. This indicates an escalation from 1995 which was 56.3 per cent exemplifying that the issue is getting bad (Hardy et al., 2017).

The Scale of Obesity Issue

The incidence of extreme obesity among Australian adults has almost multiplied through the duration of 1995 and 2014-2015 from 5 to 9 per cent. In 2014-2015, 71 per cent of men were obese or overweight when compared to women with 56 per cent (Denham et al., 2016). However, a more significant proportion of 42 per cent of men than 29 per cent of women was overweight and not obese while a corresponding portion of 28 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women were obese. The rates of obesity in Australia has increased dramatically specifically in the last twenty years. Its incidence is 2.5 times extortionate now when compared to that of 1980. Furthermore, the rate of childhood obesity in Australia is at one of the outrageous amongst the developed countries. Here, 25 per cent of Australian children are presently obese or overweight (Smith & Smith, 2016).

Physical inactivity is a fundamental behavioural risk factor of obesity since if the body is not active enough the energy given by the food eaten and the additional kilojoules are reserved as fats which result in overweight. It is recommended that people should involve themselves in exercises like participating in community or social work or taking at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity like walking and cycling in every week (Leech, McNaughton & Timperio, 2015). These exercises will make the body active, and it will help in burning the excess fats in the body hence preventing excess weight gain. 

Moreover, unhealthy diets like eating large amounts of fast or processed foods which are high in sugar and fats contribute to abnormal weight gain. Drinking too much alcohol is also linked to obesity since alcohol contains too many calories (Leech, McNaughton & Timperio, 2015). Another form of poor diet is drinking several sugary drinks like fruit juice along with soft drinks and eating larger portions when with friends and relatives especially if they are overeating.

Since increased weight is due to imbalance amidst energy uptake and energy output its pathogenesis is multifactorial and is the interaction of environmental determinants as well as genetic propensity. What promotes obesity is the integration of gene tendency to reserve fat, the ready accessibility of calorie dense foods along with an inactive style of living. Genetics influence obesity in that a person's genes may affect the number of body fats stored in the body and the body parts where the fat will be distributed (Albuquerque, Nóbrega, Manco & Padez, 2017). Furthermore, genetics may play a significant role in how efficiently the body converts the food eaten and how the body burns the calories during exercises

Behavioral Risk Factors of Obesity

A social determinant of obesity is a financial stress. The connection between financial stress and obesity is through physiological and behavioural factor (Mina et al., 2015). Under behavioural factors, stress is connected to the consumption of highly palatable foods which are high in fats and sweets which in turn can result in obesity. Physiologically, stress increases the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity and which is followed by metabolic abnormalities associated with weight gain. Due to stress, a person may choose to overuse alcohol or eat a poor diet.

Physical inactivity is a physical determinant of obesity mostly seen on people who sit for many hours watching television. These people might consume much of unhealthy beverages and foods while watching, and food advertising could have a significant role in the high consumption of the products (Chang, Chu, Chen, Hung & Etnier, 2017). Same applies to those employed who sit the whole day working and use their cars to go home and don’t get time to walk or cycle to burn the accumulated body fats leading to weight gain.

A Socio-environmental determinant such as Socio-economic Status (SES) plays a significant role in obesity. For instance, urban poor in developed nations appears exposed because of poor diet and physical activity (Pigeyre et al., 2016). On the other hand, the urban rich in developing countries prevail at peril to an escalated fondness to the type of western style of living. To children, an elevated incidence of obesity in high SES private schools could be the outcome of accessibility of domestic assistance, travelling to school by car as well as free pocket money. SES relate to unhealthy diet as well as physical inactivity in that lower SES gives an environment which promotes the intake of calorically dense foods while it minimizes the opportunity or needs for physical activity (Williams, Mesidor, Winters, Dubbert & Wyatt, 2015). 

Concerning the behavioral determinants of obesity, unhealthy diets with high amounts of calories and lacking vegetables as well as fruits, oversized portions, laden with high calorie beverages and full of fast food contribute to excess accumulation of fats in the body which lead to overweight (Barlow, Reeves, McKee, Galea & Stuckler, 2016).

Age is a contributor to overweight. Obesity can happen at any age, but as a person ages, hormonal changes along with a less active lifestyle escalates the risk of obesity (Kim et al., 2016). Moreover, the amount of muscle in the body tends to reduce with age and this reduced muscle mass results in decline with age. These changes lower the needs of calories and make it difficult to keep off excess weight. Hence, if an individual doesn’t consciously control what is eaten and become more physically active as he or she ages will probably gain weight.

Determinants of Obesity

Finally, medical problems together with specific medications can lead to overweight and obesity. In some individuals, obesity could be traced to a medical cause like Cushing's syndrome or Prader-Willi syndrome and medical issues like arthritis could lead to a reduced activity which may result in increased weight (McCoy, Jakicic & Gibbs, 2016). In like manner, some medications could result in weight gain if not compensated via activity or diet. These medications may include beta blockers, steroids, anti-seizure medications, antipsychotic medications, antidepressants together with diabetes medications.

The health and wellbeing of a community is a social advantage, and the person together with the community or government contributes to it via behaviour and biology, and environment along with health systems. While there is an inherent truth that obesity is heavily dependent on what people eat or drink, the argument for personal responsibility as the solution to obesity issue falls pretty fast (Sun, Krakow, John, Liu & Weaver, 2016). This is because a question is asked if the prevalence of overweight in Australia has tripled in the previous three decades just because people have lost their responsibility which is not true. Therefore, the obesity issue is not only a personal responsibility but also a social responsibility since an ever increasing supply of cheap, nasty along with energy-dense food has been witnessed which is effectively marketed and widely accessed.

Government interventions such as restrictions on taxes on unhealthy foods, food advertising to children along with advancements to food labeling are probable to be highly effective while saving the government capital. Therefore, to minimize the national waistline is a joint responsibility between people and the government (Seidell & Halberstadt, 2015). Moreover, personal responsibility can be embraced as a value by prioritizing on regulatory and legislative actions like improving school nutrition, altering industry marketing practices and menu labelling hence supporting responsible behaviour (Pearl et al., 2019).

There are values which are associated with the concept of health responsibility (Gradinger et al., 2015). In self-determination, people choose for themselves how to live their lives and the way to make correct choices in life. Therefore, self-determination is associated with responsibility and might be regarded as a well-grounded principle for the distribution of health funds. Another value is solidarity or reciprocity where all community members owe each other some things meaning that when people make decisions in life, they take into contemplation how those choices impact others.

 Moreover, the value of reward or requital mostly incorporates deliberations over if individuals deserve the condition they end up in or not (Gradinger et al., 2015). It can reinforce a system in which imprudent individuals pay more compared to others. Finally, fairness value implies that resource distribution is fair only if it follows how individuals have made their decisions concerning other people. Hence this concept should be utilized to recommend for personal responsibility in healthcare (Gradinger et al., 2015). 

The victim should never be blamed, but instead, people must recognize the central responsibility of healthy behaviours in preserving a healthy weight by using two perspectives. Firstly, the medical model concentrates on therapy whereby people are approached in a way to ascertain the personal behaviours which made them overweight (Arhire, 2015). Therefore, most interventions entail providing information along with motivating people to change their behaviour. Second, the public health model concentrates more on aversion and perceives the roots of obesity in an obesogenic environment that makes people be involved in bad health conducts. Hence, most arbitration targeted at changing the environment via social strategies (Arhire, 2015).

The perspective of social justice enhances the combination of the two models, and the concept of behaviour justice is initiated to deliver the idea that people are accountable for involving themselves or not in good conducts. Notwithstanding, those people should be held answerable if only they have sufficient resources to do so (Arhire, 2015). The outlook offers control as well as responsibility both to the persons via their behaviour and to the society which should provide an environment capable of promoting health.  

Personal responsibility reflects a worthwhile credit to be solemnly scrutinized in administrative and regulating suggestions as well as resolutions concerning the improvement of school food and the introduction of nutrition facts labels (Arhire, 2015). Moreover, the modification of industrial marketing policies and in promoting slightly controversial measures like introducing taxes and subsidies would motivate healthier diets and habits. Under these circumstances, individuals are likely to develop more responsible behaviours and be that as it may, such actions are anticipated to bridge the gap amidst personal and social/government responsibility (Arhire, 2015).


Obesity is influenced by individual lifestyle choices like unhealthy diets as well as physical inactivity. In like manner, determinants of obesity such as financial stress, age, medical problems and certain medications along with socio-economic status influence obesity and are related to physical inactivity and unhealthy diets. For instance, a person with financial stress will prefer to eat anything considering that money is a problem. If someone has a health issue, it would be tough to engage in physical exercises and if certain medications are taken without being compensated by healthy eating or exercise might lead to overweight. As obesity has become an essential public health problem, it is vital to understand that the obesity issue is a responsibility to both individuals and society. Therefore, it is crucial to understand both personal and social responsibility in creating and solving the problem so that fair and efficient measures can be taken.  


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