What are the physical factors that influence sedentary lifestyle and food choices? Are teenagers not presented with means in order to have them become more physically active and enable them to become more aware and conscious of what they eat? Although teenagers are promoted to become physically active, physical elements around them can prevent them to do so. This is to say that some teenagers, for instance, do not see the point of overexertion and even exercise.
A critical element here is that exercising these days have been associated more with losing weight, hence, teenagers who are naturally lean or have good metabolisms may appear “healthy” because they are not overweight. However, this is not the case. Exercise promotes better circulation and more improved intake of oxygen. As the body moves, so do the other components such as muscles and joints. Because of these movements, the tendency is that they perform better thereby demonstrating a parallelism that a well-oiled and used machine can lead to better performance.
In addition, as previously mentioned, teenagers have found fewer means to “get off the couch”; the reason being is that a “couch” is present. Physically, teenagers can discover the “wonders” of having a sedentary lifestyle which can be associated with the need to relax. In a culture where stress levels are critical, being able to relax is a luxury. The “couch” also gives access to factors such as entertainment in the form of television, the computer, the game consoles, and others. Psychological Psychological factors are significant in motivation.
Hence, is teenagers choose to have a sedentary lifestyle or not mind their food choices, the tendency is that their motivation to become healthier and fitter may be lacking, or their motivation is directed towards something else. The psychological factors critical in sedentary lifestyle and compulsive choices can be seen in their lack of understanding as to the importance of its opposite. Another psychological element is that they have a different means to weigh the costs and benefits of their behaviour.
For instance, the costs and benefits of having a sedentary lifestyle merely require concentration and little effort, but the benefits can be seen in sheer entertainment, being able to relax, and demonstrate a minimal sense of responsibility. Another benefit is that a sedentary lifestyle does not require a lot of effort. When it comes to compulsive food choices, the costs and benefits demonstrate how some people would rather eat something they enjoy at a lower cost.
In addition to not having to make the choices in the ingredients of a certain meal, in addition to the action of cooking, it can be said that the benefits that come with unhealthy eating can be associated with having to eat something without thinking about it. There is already the potentially fulfilled satisfaction of responding to hunger, and hunger can be diminished through fast, greasy food or even a huge slice of cake downed with a can of soda. In addition, such food choices are considered tastier than a “bland” salad. From this, these psychological factors demonstrate the lack of identified need to change the behaviour.
So far, for teenagers, the most convenient means work for them since their priorities are directed somewhere else. Social The social factors shape an individual’s choices according to the forces of relations and even perceptions. As previously mentioned, a sedentary lifestyle may have root from the perception that this is a relaxing form of lifestyle that is also stress-free which is why such lifestyle may be considered preferable by some. Social factors can also influence these behaviours because of certain popular aspects.
For instance, one of the culprits of sedentary lifestyle, the computer video game, is already an factor of reality today especially as more and more people prefer to communicate more through mobile and remote means. People can even play with their friends in their own homes while facing a computer monitor. Fast food is considered also a social and cultural element, in which case, their influences can be seen in the effective advertising, marketing and packaging, thereby making these products more attractive, more seemingly tastier, and a lot cheaper.
These social factors are therefore caused by the social realities of today. Environmental An important environmental factor in these behaviours can be seen in the physical models of their realities; this is to say that teenagers live in a “flawed urban design” (Koplan, 2000, as cited in Bijlefeld and Zoumbaris, 2001) in which their decisions, actions and behaviours require the need for convenience. The urban sprawl, according to Koplan, has prevented children from appreciating the outdoors, or rather, the physical elements of their environment which would further enable them to become more physically active.
It can be also observed that despite a reasonable distance, some people would rather take their cars or flag down cabs because they don’t want to walk or ride their bikes. Fast food and other shops that offer convenient foods have also become a part of the natural urban landscape today. From the regular fast food chains with their huge and attractive store fronts, logos and posters showing promotions to the food vending machines, people are offered with any food possible as a means to either satisfy taste or respond to hunger.
From these, it can be gathered that the environment that people have become subject to is that promotes instant gratification and more convenience. It has become more of a challenge for these people to actually go out of their way and move and make decisions within an environment which now just feeds them with information. As a result, the environmental factors enable these behaviours of sedentary lifestyle and compulsive food choices because some people these days no longer find the time to pause and make smart decisions with regards to their health and fitness.
Although there are still spaces that promote exercise and encourage people to eat healthily, environmental elements today are more defined by the need to encourage people to consume more and subscribe to services where they don’t have to move. Hierarchical Model The following model demonstrates the factors that can be regarded to strongly influence sedentary lifestyle and compulsive eating. From this diagram, it is evident that the primary factors that are influential to sedentary lifestyle and compulsive eating are psychological and environmental factors, as further supported by social and physical factors.
The reason psychological factors play a significant role in encouraging sedentary lifestyle and compulsive eating is that behaviour is determine by motivation. A person’s motivation is strongly influenced by one’s needs and wants, and as for the case of sedentary lifestyle and compulsive food choices, the problem is more innate because of the cost and benefits assessment determine whether they want to be physically active or not, or even make conscious decisions as to what they should eat.
From this, it can be gathered that at psychological levels, some people may be already resigned to their situation or have accepted the fact that they don’t want to change. These behaviours, unfortunately, somehow bring a certain amount of satisfaction to people despite their eventual physical, emotional and mental consequences. The pros and cons of sedentary lifestyle and compulsive food choices can be regarded to be also assessed with respect to the presence of willpower.
Hence, for instance, a person who found the enjoyment of spending whole day watching television while eating junk food the entire time may demonstrate the lack of willpower to get out of the house and start a new nutritious food plan because being in that condition is easy. Again, this brings up what Kopel (2000, as cited in Bijlefeld and Zoumbaris, 2001) identified as “the rushed culture of convenience”. Such culture, albeit initially functioning at social levels, have found itself through the psyche of some people thereby influencing them to become more sedentary and indifferent towards what they eat.
Environmental factors also function as the same level as the psychological factors because the environment has presented the means to encourage such lifestyles. What is interesting is that the environment enables these lifestyles and habits, thereby reflecting the social realities of today. The presence of many fast food chains and the urban sprawl that requires transportation for mobility can be regarded to have contributed significantly to the culture of convenience that has been in place today.
In addition, the environment has become a landscape of consumption which also creates an influence to the psychological perceptions of people (Bijlefeld & Zoumbaris, 2001). Social and physical factors serve as secondary influences mainly because they are the underlying forces of the psychological and environmental aspects respectively. The social elements demonstrate how the society has evolved in the past years, especially in terms of the development of socio-cultural practices that are integral to habit and values. The physical factors present a more detailed channel supporting the environmental determinants that encourage these lifestyles.
Hence, the physical factors are the derivatives of these environmental forces in which people assess their decisions according to appearances and the presence of physical elements in the form of immediate objects that enable these behaviours. Manipulating Elements to Change Behaviour Summary In order to promote a change in behaviour, it is important to take note of the physical, psychological, social and environmental factors in order to create an influence resulting to significant actions. The following sections discuss these influences in the context of the home setting.
Based on the cited factors, the primary elements are the psychological and the environmental, as followed by the social and the physical. Among these four factors, two of them can be considered to be outside the control of any individual: the social and the environmental. This is because the factors from these two categories are society-based and are more complex. For instance, as environmental factors are explained through the urban sprawl, a person who wants to change his or her behaviour cannot change this or just choose to leave the city just for the purpose of changing behaviour.
The same is true with the social factors. However, there are actually some things that can be done with regards to these two elements which will be discussed later. Hence, the two factors that can be regarded to be easier in terms of manipulation are the psychological and physical although the latter is integrated with the environmental aspects in the nest discussions. Psychological Factors Between the psychological and the physical factors, manipulating the psychological factors can be either difficult or easy.
It is difficult because it requires a genuine decision from the individual the need to change and address the problems of sedentary lifestyle and compulsive food choices. Hence, in order to have the will and the motivation, it requires a different perception when it comes to weighing the costs and benefits. One of the effective means to do this is by means of self-examination, and from there, a set of pros and cons can be drawn up. These pros and cons are based on the pros and cons of the identified behaviours.
The pros, for instance, of a sedentary lifestyle is that it does not require as much effort and at some point, it is entertaining; another is that a person does not need to leave the house. On one hand, the cons can outweigh these things. An example of cons include that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, it can lead to certain illnesses, conditions and diseases such as eyesight getting worse and weaknesses, and that a sedentary lifestyle means an inactive social life.
When it comes to the cons of compulsive food shopping is that the food bought may have chemicals and additives that can be detrimental to health, and that such choices can also lead to weight gain and even digestive diseases. From this, the psychological factors enable a sense of self-reflection and at the same time, establish a set of perceptions when it comes to identifying what a person really wants. Such wants can be redefined based on the realities that certain behaviours may lead to, as can be seen from the mentioned pros and cons of both behaviours.
In order to start this at home, what can be done is to have a guiding board that enumerates all goals, from health to fitness to even goals at school and in the social setting. This guiding board identifies the goals and creates a matrix that connects them. For instance, the goal to have better grades can be related to the nutritional factor such as eating certain foods that will help in boosting the brain. This can be also connected to a set of physical activities such as going to the library, and planning to go there by riding a bicycle or by walking.
At the home front, the goal to keep one’s bedroom clean can be also related to physical activities hence, it requires regular cleaning that involve significant body movement such as moving the furniture and using the vacuum cleaner. Physical and Environmental Factors In the home setting, it is important to create an immediate environment that can inspire to become more physically active. This can start with making the bed; with a made bed, the tendency is that the person no longer has any business to lie down because the bed is already made.
In addition, having a house and a bedroom that is always clean and orderly prevents the mood to become sedentary and even lazy because well-made and organised spaces also invite similar behaviours. This also brings up the previously mentioned “guide board” in the previous section; having this displayed in the bedroom serves as a reminded of these goals and the activities that need to be implemented. The house can also serve as a space that indicates and suggests certain behaviours.
For instance, are refrigerator filled with healthy food encourages more healthy eating, in addition to the availability of recipes and even articles that are posted in the kitchen can further encourage food preparation. Such reminders also encourage the design of healthy meal planning, and from this, a habit can be formed in which the occupants of the house also develop a taste for healthy and nutritious food. Such encouragements and indicators can be therefore seen in the physical and environmental elements at home. Social Factors
One of the best means to change behaviour is to encourage and create influence among the people that surround you. At home, in order to prevent sedentary lifestyles and compulsive food shopping behaviours, it is important to initiate these initiatives as groups, either by means of having family members and even roommates or friends to acknowledge the need to change certain behaviours. Should this may seem like a difficult task, one of the means to approach this is by means of education or information exchange even through casual conversations.
Another example is to make physical activities fun and a group activity such as cleaning the house together or proposing trips outside the house such as taking a walk or organizing a weekend of hiking, camping or visiting the beach. These activities, when done in groups, take the effort out of the tasks and instead further encourage participation because it is fun and also beneficial. Summary on Model Behaviour of Change Based on the previous discussions, changing behaviours which initially rooted from one’s decision as a means to fulfill some psychological and perceptual needs can be considered difficult.
When it comes to cases of physical activities and nutrition, it seems easier to avoid the facts and figures on health and fitness concerns, and instead, wait for the moment when change needs to takes place such as when the weight starts to pile up or a health condition is diagnoses. However, this should not be the case and it is important to note that most of the time, waiting for such necessities to take place may most likely result to conditions that are already too late to treat.
Implementing a model of behavioural change is difficult, and according to the identified behaviours and influential factors, it is initially important to tackle the psychological aspect as then followed by the environmental and physical aspects, and then heightened by social approaches. Change significantly takes place when, at psychological levels, the person has a deep understanding as to what needs to be changed and why; from there, the motivation and the will come out.
A person’s immediate environment is then critical to the initiative to change because the outside also needs to meet the inside; hence, when it comes to changing behaviours, it is important to create an environment that encourages change in patterns and prevents certain behaviours from taking place. Last but not the least, the social factors further leverages the initiative to change because this is where the social support comes in; in some cases, change become effective because of the presence of support and the idea of a shared experience that change is indeed going to take place.
From this, change is something to look forward to. References BBC Health. N. d. ‘Nutrition: Life Stages’. [Online] Available at: http://www. bbc. co. uk/health/healthy_living/nutrition/life_adolescence1. shtml Department of Health. 2008. Obesity General Information. [Online] Available at: http://www. dh. gov. uk/en/Publichealth/Healthimprovement/Obesity/DH_078098 European Commission. 2003. Physical Activity. [Online] Available at: http://ec. europa. eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_183_6_en. pdf Forbes, S.
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