OBESITY: A HUGE PROBLEM

RBHS's 2010/11 civics students are called to make a difference with one of the greatest challenges of our time. According to a 2008 study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, by the year 2030 over 86% of Americans will be considered either overweight or obese(Wood-Wright). In 2008 America was the second fattest nation on earth and in 2004 had the highest rate of overweight and obese children among industrialized countries (Rampell). As the percentage of obese Americans continues to rise as it has for 3 consecutive decades, so does the percentage of people with serious health concerns; such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In short, an obese and overweight nation leads to a sicker and less productive nation.
Why is it so difficult to make a societal correction to prevent this unfolding national catatrophe?

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Source:Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Rampell)

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Source:(Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)

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Source: (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)

Essential Question: What can your group realistically do (and/or give-up), to help reverse the obesity trend?

Your Task:

Mr. Kroesch's 2 classes will be divided into 18 groups- or 9 groups per class.
Questioning:Your Small Group will meet together and brainstorm subsidiary and tertiary questions to guide your research. These questions will be recorded on the group wiki-page. Pick the best ones and divide them up. Include additional questions at the bottom of this page. Put your names on your wikipage.
Planning: The group will divide up the work and identify and ensure that the most important sources are covered as you pursue answers to your questions. Students are encouraged to find articles using the library's subscription online databases Gale and Ebsco, use applicable websites, videos and books. Set up a group Noodletools account to collaborate on the works cited. Use MLA 7th edition. Provide persistent urls. While all members will be writers, agree on who will be the editor and chief. Agree on login and uploading times to not crash the wikispaces server.
Gathering:Group members will become experts in their "real" group's perspective by immersing themselves in the literature, websites and dominant media of their group. As a group member you will make a plan, read numerous articles, interview experts, to come to understand the group's perspectives and answer your questions.
Writing and Citing:Each group member will consume and summarize at least 3 relevant media items. (Therefore if your group has 4 members, your wikipage will have at least 12 media reviews.) Each media item, whether it be a a website, interview, film or article you will properly cite it at the bottom of the page. (See MLA Style Guide and set up a group NoodleBib account)
Analysis:Each group after gathering the written and oral input of all members will provide a written executive summary which will succinctly review the group's perspective. All of the writing will be done on the the group's wikipage in preparation for the RBHS Virtual Obesity Symposium.
Synthesis and Evaluation:The Group members will read the 8 or 9 other executive summaries posted by the other groups in their class. Following reading and discussion every group member will write and post an answer to our essential question from the perspective of his/her group. This may be done as an in-class essay or on the wiki. Details to follow.
Report: A Plan of Action:The Group will review other group member's answers and collectively write a brief bulletted plan of action. The action plan will include specific steps that the group can take to effect real change.
Finally Take action: Educating people or classes, writing letters or emails , write an editorial, create an informative webpage, youtube documentary or whatever you think might be helpful to effect change. Do what you can (and document it) to follow your groups action plan and recommendations.
For example as one action item: "The Doctors group' might write a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics asking them to start a campaign to reward mothers who breast feed beyond 6 months in an attempt to prevent early onset childhood obesity.

The Groups and their Perspectives

  1. The Media Celebrity Dieters: Atkins, South Beach, Dr. Oz, Dr Phil, Are they getting fat on fat? View their websites,corporate publications and sites of their critics.
  2. The Print Media Moguls: Find 2010/11 books on Obesity, editorials in Popular Media such as Time, Newsweek, The Economist,-use databases including EBSCO and Gale
  3. The Brainiacs: the Academic Group: Scour Academic Journals i.e.JAMA, Obesity Journal, New England Journal of Medicine, Search publications in Gale and Ebsco
  4. The Federal Politicians and Michelle Obama: the Legislative Group:Read CQ Researcher (go to SDPL or for print versions RBHS Library) Find newspaper articles in Gale
  5. The State/Local Government Departments: MediCal, SD County Health, California Department of Public Health,
  6. The Establishment Film Producers: PBS, Discovery Education, Frontline, view establishment documentary films on obesity, read reviews-who funds these film producers?
  7. The Indie Film Producers: Indie movies on Youtube, Hulu. i.e. Supersize Me (Sperlock) Forks over Knives (on Netflix) and more
  8. The Image Makers-Advertising: creating the message (TV Commercials, Mixed messages: more food is better, diet obsession in ads). How is obesity sold?
  9. The Government Lobbyists P1: Review coporate/lobbyist publications in support of maintaining status quo -(look in open secrets.org to find biggest agribusiness lobbyists)
  10. The Government Lobbyists P4 Review corporate/ lobbyists publications to find biggest restaurant lobbyists. Check opensecrets.org as a starting place.
  11. The Government Departments: Center for Disease Control, Health & Human Services, Medicare, Department of Health, USDA, US Department of Agriculture:National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food Stamp program, Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women
  12. The Doctors: American Medical Association, American Board Certified Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, Surgical Options, Am. Psychological Ass., American Society of Bariatric Physicians
  13. The Diet Food Industry: Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Medical Weight Loss Clinic, SlimFast-look at their corporate publications, ads and at reports about them.
  14. The Fitness Industry: Parks and Recreation, LA Fitness, Bally, Sr, Frogs. Community Sports Assocations
  15. National K-12 Education Group: School districts nationally, The Chocolate Milk Debate.
  16. The Internationalists Group: Scour the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development website and country websites of low obesity countries to learn their methods.
  17. PUSD and RBHS Group: PUSD Nutrition Services, Principals, PE/Science/Health Teachers, Vending Machine Owners, Student Consumers
  18. The Obese: Obesity.org, Obesity Action Coalition and others. How are the obese organized? Correlate with poverty, education? How do the obese feel about their situation?

Understanding the Problem- Additional Suggested Subsidiary questions:
  1. What is the group's perspective on the obesity issue? (Review and summarize at least 12 articles, films, books or websites)
  2. Who is their targeted audience?
  3. What is the message that the group seeks to convey?
  4. Where does this group get it's information and funding? How powerful/wealthy is this group?
  5. Who are this group's allies and who are their enemies?
  6. Recommendations: In the interest of averting a national obesity catastrophe what




Works Cited
Donohue, Mark. Obese man measuring his girth. N.d. Public Health and Social Justice. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. [[http://phsj.org/‌obesity/]].

Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, prod. “Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit Not Fat-United States Key Facts.” OECD 50: Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. OECD, n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. [[http://www.oecd.org/‌document/‌57/‌0,3343,en_2649_33929_46038969_1_1_1_1,00.html]].

Rampell, Catherine. “The World Is Fat.” Economix. New York Times Business, 23 Sept. 2010. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. [[http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/‌2010/‌09/‌23/‌the-world-is-fat/]].

Wood-Wright, Natalie. “Study Suggests 86 Percent of Americans Could Be Overweight or Obese by 2030.” Public Health News Center-My JSHPU.edu. John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 28 July 2008. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. <http://www.jhsph.edu/‌publichealthnews/‌press_releases/‌2008/‌wang_obesity_projections>.