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Now it seems people (mainly in developed countries) are obsessed with ideas of healthy living and being slim. Hollywood and fashion industry have created the world of slim beauties and fit men. Healthy lifestyles are promoted on TV. There are a variety of books on how to keep fit and be healthy.
However, there are still many people whose health behaviors are not appropriate. In fact, there is still a question whether people have started living healthier lives. As a matter of fact, they have. Nonetheless, the change is almost insignificant. Though people understand healthy life style is important, their health behavior remains largely unchanged. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what can encourage people to changes their lifestyles.
In the first place, it is necessary to understand what a health-related lifestyle is. It can be defined as “behavioral choices made by individuals about eating, physical activity, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, taking drugs and sexual practices” (Thirlaway 9). Clearly, health behavior includes a variety of components and each component requires special attention. Eating behaviors and physical exercise can be regarded as the most important components as they affect all categories of people (children, adolescents, adults, elderly people).
It is necessary to note that the attitude toward eating behavior and physical exercise in the USA has changed. However, the change is very modest. It has been estimated that “overall prevalence of healthy lifestyles increased only modestly (from 3.2% to 5.1%) between 1994 and 2007” (Troost et al. 1396).
People still eat relatively insignificant amount of fruit and vegetables and do not do a lot of exercise. Notably, the situation differs in different parts of the country. However, the difference is rather insignificant. There are still many overweight Americans who have a variety of health problems. Moreover, there are a number of surveys that show certain decrease in prevalence of healthy lifestyles (Troost et al. 1395).
These trends are especially surprising as people are literally bombarded by messages concerning healthy lifestyles. Admittedly, there are various helpful books and articles on how to keep slim. There are a variety of programs on TV on the matter. A vast number of TV programs propagate healthy lifestyle and provide tips which help people change their lives for better. Hollywood stars and pop stars also propagate ideas of healthy eating and lots of exercise. Nonetheless, this has quite little effect.
Admittedly, all want to look better, but quite a few do change their lifestyles. There can be a number of reasons that result in this trend. Many people still do not know what exactly should be done. It is believed that such ignorance is due to inappropriate health behavioral patterns acquired in childhood as such “behaviors frequently are established during childhood and extend into adulthood” (Seal & Seal 429). Therefore, it is quite clear that proper health education can positively affect the situation.
Schools should play major role in developing appropriate health behavioral patterns in children and adolescents. Apart from providing proper food in school canteens, educators should teach children how to live a healthy life. Physical training should not be the only time children move.
Teachers should communicate with parents on healthy lifestyles. Teachers should encourage parents to work out healthy diets. Teachers should also explain that physical exercise is crucial and children should be active at home. Parents should understand that their children should spend less time playing computer games and watching TV.
Seal and Seal note that children who attended Wellness Camp contributed greatly in terms of health behavior patterns (431). The children first reported that cereals, chips, hamburgers were healthy food. At the end of their being in the camp they reported that vegetables, fruit were healthy. Of course, there are quite many limitations to the survey mentioned above and more data is necessary. However, it is clear that children benefit from understanding what a healthy lifestyle is.
Thus, the US government should also pay a lot of attention to the problem. It is necessary to create various Wellness Camps where children could acquire health behavioral patterns and share their experiences. These camps should be reachable for all groups of children (in terms of their social status, cultural peculiarities, etc.). On the other hand, these camps should also be prestigious.
On balance, it is necessary to note that despite the all fuzz concerning healthy lifestyles, Americans still have inappropriate health behavioral patterns. There is an insignificant increase in prevalence of healthy lifestyles. Therefore, it is important to work out a variety of strategies to address the problem.
Education offers a number of solutions as it is obvious that health behaviors acquired in childhood remain persistent in adulthood. Children as well as their parents should be taught to live healthy lives. Apart from educators, officials and business people can help improve the situation. Wellness camps can be regarded as some of the most effective tools to develop proper health behavior.
Seal, Nuananong and John Seal. “Developing Healthy Childhood Behaviour: Outcomes of a Summer Camp Experience.” International Journal of Nursing Practice 17 (2011): 428-434. Print.
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Thirlaway, Kathr. The Psychology of Unhealthy Lifestyles: Theory and Interventions for Health Promotion. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2009. Print.
Troost, Jonathan P., Ann P. Raffley, Zhehui Luo, Mathew J. Reeves. “Temporal and Regional Trends in the Prevalence of Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics: United States, 1994-2007.” American Journal of Public Health 102.7 (2012): 1392-1398. Print.