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Brainstorming Essay

Does advertising for fast food affect our way of eating?

Does eating homemade food make it difficult to fit in the world around us?

In workplace, at school, in social events

Is traditional food from India considered too unhealthy/oily and spicy?

How often is too much to consume fast food?

How many hours of physical exercise per week is enough to burn the calories we accumulate from fast food?

Do working women really have no time to cook or is it just an excuse?

Middle to high income groups can afford to pay for already processed meals quite often. What about the low income earners?

Can people who do not consume fast food often be considered healthier?

Should cigarettes and alcohol be completely banned so as to protect the health of Mauritians?

Sensitisation campaigns organised by Government

Should compulsory physical exercise classes be implemented in the school timetable?

Ways to promote stress-free working environment.

Main findings

Contrast what traditional meals composed of during the time of World War 2 and nowadays Describe the transition from staple food to high caloric food especially in Indo-Mauritian diets

Obesity being a threat to Mauritian population and influenced by several factors

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According to Trishnee Bhurosy & Rajesh Jeewon (2016, pp 355), “Traditional foods commonly eaten among Indo-Mauritians have been neglected over time, making way to increased consumption of refined processed ones, convenience foods and fatty meat consumption.”As pointed out by Trishnee Bhurosy & Rajesh Jeewon (2016, pp 355), Indo-Mauritians have shifted to foods which are more fat consistent and readily and easily prepared, leaving behind what they were traditionally eat.

ESSAY: Eating habits of Mauritians and Obesity “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are”

1, quoted by Brillat-Savarin (1826), this states that the food we consume has a great impact on our well-being and health. Eating habits refer to what, how, when and in what quantities an individual eats.

2 As for Mauritians, it is true that the eating pattern is influenced by a variety of factors. Obesity and other health problems can be attributed to this lifestyle. This essay will further analyse the eating habits of the inhabitants of Mauritius and the related dangers.Traditional cuisine and cultureAccording to McGruther (2018), “Traditional foods are those foods which nourished our ancestors throughout history and prehistory prior to the advent of the industrialisation of food.”

3 Mauritius being a multicultural country, its traditional food originates from various parts of the world such as India, China, Africa and Europe.

4 Comparing the time of our ancestors and the foods we eat nowadays, the composition of traditional food in Mauritius has drastically changed. Long ago, it consisted mostly of greens, root vegetables, grains and fresh cow milk5 whereas now, it includes curry, ‘gateau piment’, ‘rougaille’, and fruit salad amongst others

5, which are generally very oily and salty. Particularly, Indo-Mauritians keep their culinary traditions emanating from India and these meals tend to be very high in calories. This eating behavior has proved to be harmful for the population in the long term leading to various chronic health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, as a result of lack of physical exercise. Thus, it can be said that the eating habits of Mauritians are influenced by traditional cuisine which in turn can lead to health troubles in the long run. Fast foodAs described by National Institutes of Health (2017) , “Fast foods are characterised as quick, easily accessible and cheap alternatives to home-cooked meals.” (Hellesvig-Gaskell, 2017)

6 Following industrialisation, lifestyles of Mauritians have taken a more western aspect; we consume more fast food and we exercise less because of time constraints. The majority of fast foods are deep-fried and therefore very oily. For instance, a full dinner meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) comes around 1,860 calories.

7 This new way of eating gives rise to health troubles like obesity and diabetes. In fact, the Mauritius Non Communicable Diseases survey (2015; pp 5-6) states that about 20.5% of the Mauritian population is diabetic and 19.1% is obese.

8 This is the consequence of lack of physical activities due to the considerable improvement in the standard of living in Mauritius which led to a more sedentary lifestyle. More people can afford television sets, computers, video games and an internet connection which have substituted fitness activities in their free time.

Thus, Mauritians who eat fast food often and do not exercise pose as a threat to their health.Cigarettes and alcohol consumptionThe regular consumption of alcohol and cigarettes have many ill-effects on the physical as well as the mental health of people. A recent study by the World Health Organisation showed that “Mauritians consume on average 3.6 litres of alcohol each year and the dependency rate of alcoholic drinks in Mauritius is 1.9% against 1.5% in African countries.”

9 This implies that the trade of alcohol is widespread and very lucrative in the country. Nevertheless, the regular consumption of alcoholic drinks, being highly caloric, is very damaging to the physical health of individuals. Similarly, tobacco can be considered as the most dangerous and addictive drug as it is easily available. It is also the most lethal substance as smoking causes millions of death around the world each year. In Mauritius alone, a survey by Tobacco Atlas (2016) found that 16.61% of male death and 6.98% of female death are caused by smoking each year, which is a quite worrying situation for a population of 1.3 million.

10 Still, the Government has been implementing several measures to discourage alcohol consumption and smoking. Hence, it is imperative for Mauritians to alter their eating habits so that they can live longer and in better health conditions.Emotional stressAnother factor influencing eating habits of Mauritians is that of emotional stress. As observed by psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD (2016), “There is a definite connection between stress and our appetite. But the connection is not the same for everyone.”

11 The modern Mauritian society is characterised by a very high degree of competition in education as well as in employment. Children of only eleven years old have to take part in a very determinant and competitive examination. At present, the unemployment rate in Mauritius is about 6.6%

12, which explains why many qualified people postulate for the very few highly paid jobs available in the country. As a result, due to the pressures and constraints associated with studies and professional life, people are becoming more and more stressed. However, high stress levels can result in loss of appetite and non-transmissible diseases like high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. In this sense, stress has altered the eating habits of Mauritians.The eating habits of Mauritians, as analysed above, are influenced in many ways. Unhealthy traditional food, the availability of fast food, the regular consumption of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks and the increasingly stressful lifestyle have all contributed to the rapid progression of non-transmissible diseases. Nevertheless, the main one is the attitude of Mauritians towards healthy eating and living. With proper awareness and some degree of moderation, these issues can be controlled.

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