Logos Outweighs all Others
The topic of obesity is an issue that doctors and scientists have studied and researched for many years. Obesity can begin as early as childhood and it creates serious health problems. I chose two articles about obesity, both written by experts on the topic, to rhetorically analyze. The first source, “Obesity Among Children” by Alvin Poussaint M.D., explains how the media and lack of physical activity could cause children to become obese. It also provides tips to parents on how to resolve their children’s lack of physical activity. The second source, “Relation between Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks and Childhood Obesity” by Dr. David Ludwig, Karen Petersen, and Steven Gortmaker, focuses more on the intake of sugary beverages and the effects they have on children’s bodies. Source 1 uses a mixture of pathos, mythos, and logos to attract the audience, while source 2 was specifically written for logos appeal, as seen through various samples within the articles.
In “Obesity Among Children” the use of pathos and mythos is noticeable throughout the text, but logos has the main appeal. Right off the top we have an example of all three appeals; the author claims, “It’s not “cool” to be fat…” (Poussaint).
This can evoke emotions, such as empathy, for those who are overweight. It also employs the use of logos by stating a fact that really, people don’t aim to be fat. A reference to mythos would be that our culture and society have made being ‘fat’ a grotesque concept.
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Following this first example, a logical appeal is made using facts. The author states a statistic about the growing percentage rate of obesity in children. It is said that the statistic has jumped from a 5 percent growth rate in 1964 to a 13 percent growth rate in 1994, and in the present it is a whopping 20 percent and still rising. The author again applies logic by making a claim that children spend up to six hours of their time sitting in front of televisions and computers, which is partly to blame for the rise in the statistic stated above (Poussaint).
Yet another claim for logos and mythos is made in the third paragraph of this article. The author uses the results of a study to prove his point that children, who watch TV advertisements promoting fast food and other high-fat food items, are more likely to consume fattening foods than those who don’t watch those ads. This reference to the study shows that a logical approach was taken to figure out a source of the obesity problem. The mythos aspect comes from the fast-food advertisement reference. We as Americans are known for our chains of fast-food restaurants, and these restaurants only add to the problem (Poussaint).
Along with choosing to eat unhealthy foods, come the unhealthy consequences. Many health-related issues are the result of bad eating habits. The author says that one major health problem is the onset of Type 2 diabetes. He says that doctors have noted a steady rise of children developing diabetes, which can also cause heart disease, stroke, blindness, etc. He also says, “People who develop diabetes in adolescence face a diminished quality of life and shortened life span…” (Poussaint).
This all has logos appeal because he is giving a logical explanation of how obesity has a negative impact on children’s health.
He then proceeds to suggest how parents might change their child’s life-style if they aren’t spending enough time away from the computer or television. He says that parents should set time limits on the access their children have to such electronic devices, and after those limits have exceeded they should engage in vigorous activities outside. To back this statement up, he uses logos by referring to a study done by pediatricians. Pediatricians suggest keeping adolescents at a maximum of one to two hours a day watching television and playing on the computer (Poussaint).
... point of stigmatising overeating in children. The author strongly advocates parental advice in a childs diet. Obesity according to the author is an epidemic which ... hold a major share in destroying the childs sense of nutritional foods. The authors view that obesity is becoming an epidemic is absolutely ...
This could also involve pathos if the author was trying to get the parents motivated to make that change for their children’s lives (Poussaint).
One last appeal is made at the end of this article, and that is made to pathos. The author states, “Changing eating habits and lifestyles is not easy, but the health benefit for our children is a wonderful payoff for parents willing to take on the task.” (Poussaint).
This gets parents to desire a change for their children, to want to help them get over a passive lifestyle and to get active. By employing such appeals as pathos, mythos, and logos, the author draws the audience in and makes them want to change their children’s lives for the better.
As was seen in the previous source, there were three different appeals to rhetoric used. In the second source, only one appeal is applied and that would be the appeal to logos. This source is a scholarly journal article written by several authors for the purpose of supplying information to the public. All examples from the text supplied below are of logos appeal.
The first examples are statistics of the growing obesity rate. They stated that obesity in adolescents rose by 100 percent between the years of 1980 and 1994. Furthermore, a national study showed 24 percent and 11 percent of children are over the 85th and 95th body mass index (BMI) percentiles. They also found that the USDA had data showing the consumption rates of sugar-sweetened drinks has grown by 500 percent over the course of 50 years (Ludwig et al, 2001).
The author claimed that drinking soft drinks has an effect on obesity in children, and this fact is given little attention in the science world, so they decided to do a study on it themselves (Ludwig et al, 2001).
As a means for collecting data, children from five random schools within four communities of Boston were enrolled into the study. There were a total of 548 kids used for observation. The statistics for the types of kids enrolled came to “mean age: 11.7 years (SD 0.8); 48% female, 64% white, 15% Hispanic, 14% Afro-American, 8% Asian, and 8% American Indian or other; and 38% reported exercise to lose weight” (Ludwig et al, 2001).
... more common in adolescents. Parents Role in Childhood Obesity Children tend to follow the habits of their parents and ... said research scientist Susan H. Babey, a co-author of the policy brief. “If parents are ... their kids are too.” Teens whose parents drink soda every day are 40 percent more likely to ... day. Almost half of the adolescents whose parents drink soda every day eat fast food at least ...
The main hypothesis for the study was, “…consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks could directly predict a rise or fall in BMI over 2 academic years” (Ludwig et al, 2001).
They took measurements of all the kids including their height, weight, BMI, and triceps-skinfold thickness. Extra measurements were also taken, which included: dietary intake, physical activity, and television viewing. These were attained through ‘student food and activity questionnaires’. After 19 months, a follow-up was performed and the same measurements were taken again (Ludwig et al, 2001).
After follow-ups were done and the information was reviewed, the authors found that the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks had increased in 57 percent of the children. This resulted in BMI increase, even though they had 1-2 hours of vigorous activities a day (Ludwig et al, 2001).
This study proved that sugar-sweetened drinks could have an effect on the body after a period of time. They used many statistics and experimental factors to perform this study on obesity. The use of logos is very apparent throughout the whole journal article; everything was done on a scientific and logical basis to notify the audience how children can become obese when consuming soft drinks.
Obesity is a steadily growing problem in America. The two articles presented in this paper help to show the causes for obesity and how these causes could be diminished. The first source used three rhetorical appeals: mythos, pathos, and logos. These appeals helped to draw in the audience and make them realize the importance of keeping children active and healthy. The second source employed logos throughout, using experiments and statistics to inform the audience of the risk of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. As a result from using the appeals they did, the authors made their readings effective and informative for the audience.
* Ludwig, Dr. David, Karen Petersen, and Kevin Gortmaker.
“Relation between Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks and Childhood Obesity.” The Lancet. Elsevier Ltd. , 17 Feb 2001. Web. 14 Sep 2010. <www.familyeducation.com>.
* Poussaint, Alvin. “Obesity Among Children.” Family Education.
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N. p. , n. d. Web. 14 Sep 2010. < www.familyeducation.com>.