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Research Paper: Identifying Healthiest Diet for Individuals

Q. Conduct a research work and prepare a report to identify and analyze the diet that proves to be healthiest for people.


Answer

Context

The problems and issues pertaining to obesity, being overweight, as well as the mismanagement of the weight of an individual, have afflicted and affected people from all corners of the globe, with the affected people hailing from developing and developed nations without discrimination. Messages related to the generation of awareness regarding this issue have been paramount (and in a steadily increasing number) over the course of the last few decades in particular. The steady stream of focus on the aspects and issues of body weight, as well as the relationship of the same with the advent of obesity,  have been analysed and thoroughly investigated by various researchers over the course of a considerable period of time. Discourses related to the management and prevention of these issues, as well as the conduction of a decent level of investigation into the matters related to the same,have been a common occurrence in many regions, with the discourses being the constituent elements of certain ‘paradigms’ (Bailey, Beals, & Skinner, 2017). 


The dominant and most popular paradigm regarding the issues related to weight which has been analysed in the given context is the weight-centred health paradigm (WCHP). It constitutes the main investigations of the scientific inquisitions regarding body weight, public policies as well as the physical activities related to the same. The various entities and societal components who manage to promulgate the WHCP have been categorized under ‘anti-obesity crusaders’, with them being classified on the basis of being creators, legitimators, supporters, amplifiers, enforces (also known as administrators) and entrepreneurs. Healthcare professionals and government officials who manage to implement the various policies and awareness campaigns related to the prevention of obesity (by aligning the importance of healthy eating and proper food habits) prove to be the main enforcers (administrators) in this regard. In addition, the people who have been observed to be actively engaged in attempts to reduce the weight to an appropriate standard are the main constituents of the ‘entrepreneurial self’ section (Berendsen, Kang, & van de Rest, 2017). 


In addition, the elements of weight reduction have to be combined with the implementation of a proper and healthy diet, with the people attempting the same being the ‘entrepreneurial selves’ in the context. The determination of the main promulgators can help in the appreciation of the magnitude of the tasks attempted for completion in these kinds of studies (including the study of diets for the sake of following the healthiest possible one). 


Furthermore, the study of the various numbers of tenets of WCHP as well as the determination of the synthesis of the claims related to the same has been the fundamental basis for the determination of the context (implementation of a healthy diet). Furthermore, the alignment of the main objectives of the conducted proposal and studies (the introduction of a healthy and balanced diet) with the various elements (and described requirements) of the WCHP is one of the most crucial factors for consideration and eventual completion in this regard (Bleich, Wolfson, Vine, & Wang, 2014). The details of the conducted study pertaining to healthy food diet have to be aligned with the necessary requirements and determined to be effective solutions to the research problems thus encountered while studying the same.

Abstract

The determination of a proper diet which can initiate the maintenance of the body weight in a proper, desirable and scientifically recommended manner can be an intricate problem with a lot of inhibitions and constraints proving to be hindrances in the way. The main question that the research in question attempts to answer is regarding the best and most effective manner possible to initiate the healthiest diet (especially with regards to the maintenance of body weight in a proper and desirable manner). The conduction of surveys and interviews can indeed prove to be the best possible methods of gathering the necessary information necessary. The main advantages that they provide in studies of these magnitudes include the access to a direct interactive session, which in turn has the potential to gain the most accurate information through the most efficient possible manner (direct interactions of various kinds). The determination of the diet which can prove to be the way of developing the healthiest one can be with certain constraints and problems.


One of the main problems faced in this regard is the narrow range of information that can be gathered in this aspect. While the amount of information regarding the matter at hand is considerably high, its range and diversity are comparatively lower. Another problem is the fact that in the case of surveys, the people selected for the same can tick the answers which are actually ideal rather than honestly providing their own answers. The main answers provided by the studied people provided the results that a balanced and healthy diet is possible only through the implementation of proper study regarding the features of an individual (such as body weight). It is recommended that diets are developed in accordance with the needs and dimensions of an individual, through which it can actually be successful.


Chapter 1: Introduction

Background

The determination of the existing food rends as well as the amount of food to be consumed in order to maintain the body in a proper body weight is a significant matter for consideration. Ideal weight for a person can vary in accordance with various factors such as their height, present weight and daily workload in comparison. A personal experience with the attempts to gain the ideal weight using recommended diets did not serve the intended purpose of feeling good in the long run. Determining the main weaknesses of the diet in question can lead to the eventual determination of the best manner of developing a healthy and proper diet. The formulation of the same has been in accordance with the needs and requirements of the human body (such as weight), with various methods being necessary for completing the same. Undergoing a healthy diet is thus an important matter for consideration for people all over the globe.


Main Research Questions

            The main research questions to be addressed in this study are:

  • What is the best possible diet for an individual in order to maintain a proper body weight?
  • What are the main requirements for the determination of such a diet?
  • How can ‘healthy eating’ be associated with the issues related to body weight?


Research Problems

            The research in question faced several constraints and inhibitions during the completion of the overall process. Indeed, the topic at hand presented a significant challenge with regards to the procurement of a vast range and diversity of knowledge and necessary information. Since the issues and problems related to the lack of a proper diet as well as mismanagement of the body weight are common in many regions of the world, it is quite difficult to find a broad range of information. In other words, despite the availability of a large amount of information in this regard, the fact of the matter remains that the range and diversity of the gathered information are significantly less compared to its overall availability and magnitude. Problems related to the issues raised by some of the people with regards to their privacy are also significant, as they can justifiably withhold information related to their personal features like body weight and improper diets. A study of this kind would have been better served if the overall size and magnitude of the same was bigger as well (Coughlin, Whitehead, & Sheats, 2015). 


Features of Various Diets

            The study has included the features of several diets which have been observed to be unique in their structure and potential impact on the overall health. Some of these diets and their main features are:


Yoyo diet

  • Dropping down of calories after certain and determined time periods
  • Drinking juice significantly and minimising solid food for a certain period of time
  • Regular checking of the input of food per day


Selective Eating Diet

  • Striking off certain food items from the diet
  • Eating food items deemed to be healthy
  • Preventing heavy diets full of rich food items
  • Using the elements of ‘clean eating’


Paleo Diet

  • Determination of the food items deemed to be healthy
  • Fruits, vegetables, seafood, lean meats, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and seafood okay for consumption
  • Excess grains, sugar, legumes, starches, dairy products and alcohol are to be avoided


The study of the features of the aforementioned diets, as well as the main pros and cons of the same, have been instrumental in determining their overall use in actually maintaining health and body weight in a proper manner. Further, a study of conditions such as orthorexia has been instrumental in determining the main parameters of a healthy and actually useful diet (as well as its associated mindset).  


Employed Methods

            The main methods used for the gathering of the data necessary for the completion of this study include:

  • The Use of Surveys: They have been instrumental in procuring a large amount of fairly accurate data and information from a considerably large sample of people
  • The Use of Interviews: They have been the main source of information on a detailed and more intricate level, with the interviews with selected people providing a very deep insight regarding the problems faced by the people in these matters, as well as the main factors for consideration while ensuring the development of a healthy diet in the long run     


Significance of the Research

            The main significance of the conducted research in question is the fact that it helps in the determination of a proper way of developing and implementing a diet which can prove to be healthy for people in the long run, while also maintaining their features such as body weight. This study has also highlighted the main practices (of dieting) which can prove to be detrimental to the overall health of individuals over a considerable period of time. 


Main Research Limitations

            The main limitations of the conducted research are:

  • Small sample size 
  • Constraints of time
  • Issues related to people not sharing knowledge due to protection of their privacy
  • Lack of a broad range of information


Chapter 2: Methodology

As it was already mentioned in the methodology portion of the previous task that, the epistemological stance that has been undertaken over here is constructivism and the theoretical perspective that has been undertaken over here is the critical theory. In an elaborative tone, the critical theory seeks to discern and analyze the moot reasons issues a in order to emancipate them with an urge of resolving it immediately. The most gruesome issues regarding the social problems prevalent in the world along with the unjust atrocities were usually categorized by the peoples and simultaneously supported by the oppressive remarks. In this regard, the critical theory has been adapted since it concentrates on the reviewing of the most paramount health paradigms that are flagrant in the contemporary health and health promotion issues, the paradigm is framed upon the classification, and those appeared to be framed upon adiposity. The primary objective of  the current study is to generate a introspective comprehensive framework in order to define the context, vulnerable criticisms and likely aftermaths for the WCHP that has been directed to establish the capability to criticize the evident domain.


An online pertinent archive search was carried forward for philosophically simulating articles, books, policies and programs (collectively referred to as documents) that met at least one of the following criteria: 1. describes some cardinal notions of the WCHP; 2. critiques some governing statements of the WCHP; or 3. provides evidence related to a critical analogy of the WCHP. Electronic databases used in the search included Proquest, Ovid, PUBMED, Medline, CINAHL, Annual Reviews, JSTOR, PsycINFO, Taylor and Francis Online, Sage Online, Oxford University Press Journals, and Google Scholar. No date limits were set for the search but articles had to be published in English. Search terms were broad and included ‘weight-centred health paradigm’, ‘weight-normative health paradigm’, ‘critical weight studies’, ‘fat studies’, ‘critical dietetics’, ‘critical obesity studies’, ‘obesity critique’, ‘obesity skeptic’, ‘war on fat’, ‘war on obesity’, ‘anti-obesity’ and ‘obesity prevention’. Search terms were used alone and in combination. Reference lists of recurring and in-texted documents and journals were critiqued and manual searches conducted for authors who had published in the field. The search for documents was iterative and ongoing for almost 12 years. As points of critique were identified, new searches were conducted related to that critique. By the concluding date, over 2000 documents had been retrieved for analysis. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify themes, the relationships between those themes, and the structure of the overall framework (Sarantakos, 1998). 


Documents were initially deciphered  as being related to a priori categories of context, critique or consequence of the WCHP. Subsequently, documents were coded for emergent sub-categories. Iterative thematic analysis of the sub-categories and categories led to the development of the final framework. The search and analysis has been sustained until data saturation was reached and no new themes were emerging. The analysis process was collaborative and no formal measures of inter-rater agreement were used. Instead the research team iteratively reviewed the evolving framework and discussed additions or changes until consensus was reached. Terms related to the categorisation of body weight – ‘underweight’, ‘healthy weight’ or ‘normal weight’, ‘overweight’ and ‘obese’ or ‘obesity’ – are presented in inverted commas to signify the contested status of such labels.


INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

Q1: What is your staple everyday diet?

Options
Percentage of Response
Number of Responses
Total number of respondents
Diet Food
23%
30
130
Junk and Oily Food
54%
70
130
Excess food intake
23%
30
130

 

Q2:How far you agree with the fact that your scheduled diet will endow you with the requisite balance? 

Options
Percentage of Response
Number of Responses
Total number of respondents
Strongly Agree
23%
30
130
Agree
27%
26
130
Neutral
12%
15
130
Disagree
12%
15
130
Strongly Disagree
27%
35
130

 

Chapter 3: Results and Findings

Little evidence exists that reducing the so called ‘obesogenic’ environment is an effective strategy for reducing the prevalence of ‘obesity’ either. One of the most widely touted interventions addressing the ‘obesogenic’ environment is the Arkansas Act 1220 of 2003: An Act of the Arkansas General Assembly to Combat Childhood Obesity(M. M. Phillips et al., 2010).


As a result the WCHP has been criticised as being a social determinant of health in its own right (O'Hara & Gregg, 2006) andinconsistent with a human rights approach to health (O'Hara & Gregg, 2012). 


The ‘war on obesity’ has resulted in unwarranted governmental and social surveillance and regulation of the behaviours and bodies of children and adults(Basham, Gori, & Luik, 2006; Consumer Freedom, 2004; Ikeda, Crawford, & Woodward-Lopez, 2006; Kaczmarski, DeBate, Marhefka, & Daley, 2011; Nihiser et al., 2009; Rich, 2010) – inequitably experienced by women, the poor and minorities – and greater inequalities in health(Dolgin &Dieterich, 2011; Friel, Chopra, & Satcher, 2007; Herndon, 2014; Rail, Holmes, & Murray, 2010; Saguy & Riley, 2005).


The evidence of effectiveness of such programs is limited, and most weight-related public health programs have demonstrated no significant or sustained effect on levels of ‘obesity’. Weight management programs focused on individuals are similarly ineffective at achieving sustainable weight loss or health improvements, and paradoxically, result in weight gain for most people. The findings from these empirical studies raise important questions about the ethics of recommending ineffective pursuits such as intentional weight loss. As described above, most weight loss programs are not only ineffective, they are counterproductive. Diet failure often results in a higher weight than before the diet (Field et al., 2003; Lowe et al., 2006; Stice et al., 2005) and dieters gain significantly more weight than non-dieters(Field et al., 2003; Neumark-Sztainer et al., 2012). Across the weight spectrum, the strongest predictors of weight gain in adolescents are dieting and unhealthy weight control behaviours, after controlling for binge eating, breakfast consumption, fruit/vegetable intake, physical activity, socioeconomic status and initial BMI.


This chapter discusses and evaluates the findings and the results that are prior to the study. Three major thematic categories of critiques were identified: ideological, empirical and technical. Within each major category there were three sub-categories.Ideological critiques related to philosophical, ethical and human rights issues. Empirical critiques related to inaccuracies of the tenets, ineffectiveness of programs developed according to the tenets, and potential unintended (iatrogenic) harms that arise from the application of the tenets. Technical critiques related to the use of a limited strategy portfolio, the role of health experts as policy and program drivers and the absence of people directly affected by these issues, and the focus of program evaluation on behaviour change and body weight rather than health and wellbeing. The second set of empirical criticismspoints to the ineffectiveness of the ‘war on obesity’ and ‘obesity’ prevention programs. Critics point to the lack of evidence of effectiveness for weight loss programs at the individual level, and ‘obesity’ prevention programs at the group, community and population level.


Ideological critiques included three thematic sub-categories: philosophical; ethical; and human rights. The philosophical critiques sub-category included themes of biomedical and behavioural health paradigm, healthism, neoliberalism, moral panic, objectivism, reductionism, fear-based, gender, class and race discourses. At the individual level, many weight loss studies demonstrate short term success at reducing weight. However critics argue that such studies generally suffer from a range of methodological problems including small sample sizes, underrepresentation of men, limited generalizability, a lack of blinded ascertainment of the outcome, a lack of data on adherence to assigned diets, and a large loss to follow-up (Simons-Morton, Obarzanek, & Cutler, 2006). Furthermore, critics argue that most weight loss trials do not have long term follow up, and so the results over the subsequent two to five years, when weight gain is most likely to occur, are largely unreported.


Chapter 4: Discussion

  1. Trends in body weight

The use of such terms such as ‘global’, ‘epidemic’, ‘pandemic’ and ‘globesity’ have contributed to the notion that body weight is increasing exponentially and that these changes are sweeping through the populations of developed and developing countries alike (Caballero, 2007; Swinburn et al., 2011; World Health Organization, 2003). These statements are based on statistical increases in the proportion of people in the ‘overweight’ and ‘obese’ BMI categories over a thirty year period.


  1. Determinants of body weight

Research on monozygotic twins, non-identical twins and siblings provides evidence that between 70 and 80% of the variability in body weight can be attributed to genetic variation within the population (Friedman, 2009; Hsu et al., 2005; Wardle, Carnell, Haworth, & Plomin, 2008), second only to height, and higher than heart disease, diabetes and cancer, all of which are considered to have high levels of heritability (Friedman, 2009).The relatively small increases in average body weight and the slightly larger increases for those in the fattest groups leading up to the turn of the 21st Century may be due to the interaction between genetics, physiology and the environment (Friedman, 2009).


Relationships among weight and health outcomes

Life expectancy is the primary health indicator used at the population level. The claim that life expectancy is reduced as a direct result of body weight higher than the ‘normal weight’ BMI category (Nagai et al., 2012; Olshansky et al., 2005; Stewart, Cutler, & Rosen, 2009)is not supported by large epidemiological studies. There is mixed evidence about the precise nature of the association between adiposity and all-cause mortality (Gaesser, 1999, 2003b). Some studies show a clear relationship at the extremes of the BMI distribution only – a U shaped curve – but even among these studies, the threshold at which the risk of mortality increases significantly is not distinct. Studies of nationally representative populations in the USA (Flegal, Graubard, Williamson, & Gail, 2005; Lantz, Golberstein, House, & Morenoff, 2010), Canada (Orpana et al., 2009), Denmark (Afzal, Tybjærg-Hansen, Jensen, & Nordestgaard, 2016), Japan (Tamakoshi et al., 2009), Japan, China, Korea, India and Bangladesh (Zheng et al., 2011), and Hispanic people in the USA (Mehta et al., 2012) demonstrate a protective effect for the ‘overweight’ BMI category (compared to ‘healthy weight’ and ‘underweight’ BMI categories), and no or minimal effect on all-cause mortality for the ‘obese class 1’ BMI category (BMI 30-<35). 


Chapter 5: Conclusion and Recommendations

The importance of a proper and healthy diet on the proper maintenance of health of an individual can never be underestimated or ignored under any circumstances. The implemented diets are responsible for the maintenance of several factors, with the proper weight of an individual’s body being among the most important. Furthermore, the prevention of problems and issues such as obesity can be made far easier upon the determination and eventual use of a proper and balanced diet which combine the elements of all the requirements of the body in a desirable and satisfactory manner. In order to achieve the formulation of the aforementioned, it is essential to ensure that a relevant study has been conducted o the subject itself, without which the development of such a plan should not commence (Larsson, Åkesson, & Wolk, 2014). Instead of following an extreme diet aimed at drastically reducing the weight and suddenly preventing any kind of partaking of food (which can be more harmful than beneficial for the human body in the long run), the implementation of a diet which can combine the best elements of several proposed exercises and diets is much more beneficial and as such, is highly recommended.


The intake of healthy food should be in a proper and systematic manner in order to prevent the disruption of the natural balance and metabolic processes of the body. Furthermore, the formulation and eventual implementation of a diet should take the various features of individuals under strict consideration, with the features in question being the body weight, height, hygiene, existing state of health, workload and the surrounding environment. The development of the recommended diets should also be in accordance with the various aspects mentioned in discussions and paradigms such as the WCHP. Thus, the development of a proper and healthy diet (which helps in body weight maintenance) is possible only upon the incorporation of factors such as the aforementioned.        

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