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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Communications essay

'Technological progress is the signal cause of obesity'

The is not one single cause of obesity. According to The MNT Editorial Team article 'What is obesity '. Obesity is explained as having a body mass index of 30 or more. Obesity can be caused by several things, such as poor health, bad genetics, not sleeping enough, growing older, poor diet, the environment we live in, technology and lack of exercise. There are several medical conditions that may lead to obesity such as polycystic ovary syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, underactive thyroid, arthritis just to name a few.

Technological progress can play a major part in obesity. But there is no real evidence that technology is the sole cause of this. It can contribute to it by causing poor diet as people may cause becoming addicted to technology and spend more time sitting in front of the TV or computer. Rather than cook fresh health food the may eat junk food or high salt, full of preservatives and additives with little or no nutrients quick ready meals and high in sugar fizzy drinks. In today's society, technology is often used as a somewhat babysitter. It has become easier for parents to keep their children entertained with an iPad, tv or gaming console rather than to take them to play outside in the park. Children now a days prefer to play computer games or watch TV this can help parents receive some much needed personal time or time to catch up on housework. However, allowing children this is enabling too much 'screen time' which is encouraging unhealthy habits for both children and adults Again, if addicted the more time spent watching tv or on the computer they may refuse to do any exercise or sleep very little which can lead to ill health and obesity this relates to both children and adults.

From the 1st of July 2017 Advertising Standards Association has ruled that 'the advertising foods of high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) food or drink products in children's media will be banned. The rules will apply across all non-broadcast media including in print, cinema and, crucially, online and in social media'. Advertising Standards Association 'New rules ban the advertising of high fat, salt and sugar food and drink products in children's media'.  This means no unhealthy food or drink item can be promoted to children at anyway using technology. This because on average children are spending a lot more time watching tv or online than playing outside. Children are more likely want to try a certain unhealthy food or drink if they see it all the time while watching their favourite show or playing their favourite games.  However according the British Heart Foundation (The 21st century gingerbread house How companies are marketing junk food to children online) found that some food and drinks company were using loopholes to promote their products by offering a prize if playing a game or by offering links to sites promoting their product this is mostly used on social media i.e. Facebook. They stated 'The UK Government needs to introduce new rules that end the loophole allowing products outlawed from children's television to be marketed to young people online. New rules should: ' introduce equally stringent measures across the broadcast and non-broadcast codes ' include all online marketing techniques to maintain consistency in the messages to young people ' distinguish between healthy and HFSS products. '

According to Rebecca Coxon (www.mentalhealthy) said that 'A study, conducted by the University of Cambridge and that was sponsored by BT, surveyed 1,269 people including in-depth interviews with families in the UK, also found that people who felt in control of their use of communications technology were more likely to be more satisfied with life'. Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Retail, also stated that 'the research revealed that technology itself is not the problem. Compare it to food. To stay healthy, you need to eat a balanced diet. The same is true when it comes to using technology; you need to find a balance which works for you'. However, the findings also found that 36% of the parents surveyed said that technology sometimes disrupted family life at times. 58% claimed That having technology free times at home would benefit families more with communicating with each other. It also stated the 19% claimed to use communication technology for more than 7 hours a day.

However, another study in America according to Colin Waine (Trust for America's Health 2007 Annual Report September) show that 'The research was undertaken after a study revealed that children were 6 times more likely to take to exercise if it involved a video game. Regular exercise and interactive games, which depended on the children exercising, where provided as free choices to children. 10% of active time was spent on kid's fitness equipment compared with 60% on identical machines connected through Gamercize products to a games console, the remaining 30% spent with traditional games and magazines.' These findings show that technology may not all be bad in fighting obesity as more children can become more inclined to exercise if the video games involves actual physical activities they would be more willing to play them, which therefore can combat obesity.

Without technological progress the world around, would suffer. In medical respective technological progress has helped millions of people where it be from cancer to child birth we are living longer because of this. Scientist use technology to help cure millions of diseases. They are even trying to 'find a cure obesity using gene therapy' according to Sunitha Meruvu, John Bowman, Mahua Choudhury 'Can Epigenetics Help Cure Diabetes and Obesity?'.

There is no right or wrong answer for the question 'Is technological progress the single cause of obesity' you can fight both sides on whether this statement is true or not. But again, just using technology alone won't cause obesity. There is evidence that shows that you can a healthy balanced life and can have a vast amount of technology in it. It's all down to be fully informed and on the dangers of technology overuse, having a balanced diet and exercising regularly if possible. Parents can do this by limiting children's screen time, providing them with a healthy balanced diet where possible but there is a chance this isn't always possible for everyone. It's all about being informed properly and the choices people make.

The MNT Editorial Team 'What is obesity ' Online [18/10/2017]

 The British Heart Foundation 'The 21st century gingerbread house How companies are marketing junk food to children online' online  [18/10/2017]

Advertising Standards Association 'New rules ban the advertising of high fat, salt and sugar food and drink products in children's media' online  [18/10/2017]

Coxon Rebecca, 'Overwhelming technology disrupting life and causing stress new study shows' online [17/10/2017]

 Waine  Colin 'TV/video games and child obesity'  Trust for America's Health 2007 Annual Report  September online [18/10/2017]

Meruvu Sunitha, Bowman John, Choudhury Mahua 'Can Epigenetics Help Cure Diabetes and Obesity?'., Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, Texas A&M Health Science Centre, Kingsville, TX, USA, Online, [18/10/2017]

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