Question Sheet: Packing Fat


Before reading:

  1. What percentage of kids in the United States do you think are overweight or obese? 
  2. Suggest some activities or habits that would help keep you from getting fat.

During reading:

  1. How do doctors figure out whether someone is obese? 
  2. Why has concern about obesity increased lately? 
  3. What illnesses have been linked to weight problems? 
  4. How has the cost of treating problems caused by obesity changed from 1979 to 1999? 
  5. What could someone do if he or she were overweight and wanted to shed some pounds? 
  6. Name two ways in which TV plays a role in the obesity epidemic?

After reading:

  1. Given that obesity is a serious problem, do you think it’s more helpful to have action at the government level, programs in schools and neighborhoods, or efforts by individuals and families? Why? 
  2. Why do you think more adults than kids are obese? 
  3. Describe three lifestyle changes that you could make to become healthier. 
  4. How do you think you’re affected by TV ads for sugary snacks? 
  5. Name three famous people who you think are healthy and three who are not. Explain the difference. 
  6. Check the labels for the amount of sugar in a soda and five other food items that you eat or drink. Which of these foods has the most sugar per serving? Plot your findings on a chart.


At least 155 million school-age children worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the latest estimates from the International Obesity TaskForce (see Take a look at the table (Appendix 1) found at , which gives the percentage of children who are overweight in different countries in Europe. List the countries in order, starting with the country with the highest rate of childhood obesity. Why do you think Italy, Greece, Malta, and Spain are at the top of the list? What do these countries have in common?


  1. Change a popular commercial that sells junk food or sugary snacks into an ad that promotes a healthier lifestyle. 
  2. Write a letter to the person in charge of your school cafeteria suggesting ways in which to make the food available to kids healthier and less fattening but still popular.


To find your Body Mass Index (BMI), obtain your weight in kilograms and your height in meters. Then divide your weight, w, by your height, h, squared (BMI = w/h2) . What number do you get?