Health and diet – sample IELTS essay

This is the latest in my series of sample IELTS essays and is based on a recent IELTS question. It focusses on the common IELTS topic of health and diet which is one of those topics it is sensible to prepare for. You will find a discussion of how to structure the essay, a download and two exercises to help you with vocabulary and coherence.

The question

As ever the first step is to consider the question to correctly identify the task:

Recent research shows that the consumption of junk food is a major factor in poor diet and this is detrimental to health. Some people believe that better health education is the answer to this problem but others disagree. What is your opinion?

This is a proposal type question where we are asked to give our opinion about whether  improving health education would have a positive effect on people eating too much junk food. We need to be sure that we adopt a clear position on this issue. The mistake would be simply to write about junk food and poor diet.

Different approaches to organising the essay

There are three different approaches possible in this type of question. Broadly speaking it is possible to:

  1. agree that it is the best answer
  2. disagree that it would be effective
  3. accept it but say it would only have a limited effect

If you think that you may run short of ideas, it is typically easier to take approach 2 or 3 as this gives you the opportunity to write a for/against style essay where discuss why it might not work and then suggest another alternative. If you decide to agree with the proposal, it is typically harder to organise your main body paragraphs.

Ideas and essay structure

In this essay I am going to take approach 3 above and organise my essay in this way. You should note that i am going to focus on giving reasons and examples to support my points which will help my coherence band score (learn how to pee and become coherent):

topic paragraph 1

health education is important → it addresses a serious cause of unhealthy eating → explain how health education would help →use an example

topic paragraph 2

health education is not enough → there are other social factors that education would not solve → give examples and explain what those factors are

topic paragraph 3

suggest alternative solutions to health education → discuss why they work or may not work

The essay

Sample IELTS essay - health and diet (3022)

Recent research shows that the consumption of junk food is a major factor in poor diet and this is detrimental to health. Some people believe that better health education is the answer to this problem but others disagree. What is your opinion?

A serious concern nowadays is how our eating habits can affect our health. In particular, it has been demonstrated that eating too much junk food can lead to health issues later in life. One sensible suggestion for dealing with this is to improve the level of health education so that we eat better and live longer.

One reason why focussing on health education is an appropriate measure is that it addresses one underlying cause of the problem. It is clear that there is a connection between what people know about nutrition and their eating habits. For example, children who have learned in school about the need to have a varied diet with plenty of vitamins tend to eat more healthily. In contrast, people who have not had this education still eat too much junk food and as a result suffer from diabetes and other diseases.

Better health education, however, is not a complete answer as it ignores the wider social factors that cause people to eat unhealthily. For instance, many people eat fast food because they have a lifestyle that means they do not have time to sit down to a proper meal. Again, other people might eat burgers and pizzas because they are seen to be cool and they want to impress their peers.

There would not appear to be any simple way to deal with these social factors.  A difficulty is that it is very hard for governments to make a difference to the individual choices people make. It might help, however, to ban advertisements for unhealthy foods on television and to require companies to provide proper meal facilities for their employees.

My conclusion is that the government certainly ought to introduce measures to improve the level of health education. However, this probably would not be a  perfect solution as it would also be necessary to deal with the other social factors that cause unhealthy eating.

Practice exercises on writing the essay

Coherence exercise: can you connect the individual sentences in the essay together?

Academic Word List exercise: can you replace the words from the AWL in this essay?

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6 Responses to Health and diet – sample IELTS essay

  1. pharmacy technician January 7, 2011 at 3:13 am #

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  2. cheng June 23, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    great essay…i wish i could write one that is as good as this

  3. priya July 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    thanks for teaching us with very effective way.

  4. Dinaz September 6, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Thanks a Million for putting up such a brilliant blog – Hip Hip Hurrah for Dominic !

  5. Amna November 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Hi – Could you read through my attempt and highlight my mistakes? i’ll be grateful thanks

    The modern age, has offered many facilities to make our life at ease, but at the same time it has exposed us to numerous grave practices, such as junk food available at fast food restaurants, (commercialization of food). Consumption of junk food, high\rich in calories, is a vital reason for many health issues; one of them is the rapid growing number of obese people, which is quite alarming.

    It is very important to address this issue and it is suggested that people should be educated about their daily diet. This is a sane suggestion and it might replace the trend of “ready-made, or preserved or fast food” meals with healthy eating habits. There are many useful options available to encourage this for example through food channels and magazines. It can develop interest in cooking and make people aware about the daily need\intake of nutrients.

    However, some people may think that this solution alone can’t address this issue. There reasons could be that it is hard to get time for preparing a proper healthy meal as they can invest the time in something more productive or it is tiring to fix a meal after long working hours. The solution may not be affective as it depends on the percentage, which watch food channels or read food magazines.

    In my opinion there should be a massive awareness campaign about the ill effects of unhealthy eating habits. It is the responsibility of public health departments to take necessary steps to ensure health food standards. It is possible to address the problem by taking appropriate steps.

    • Avatar of Dominic Cole
      Dominic Cole December 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

      I’ve had a v quick look and it looks pretty good. Sadly though, I simply don’t have time to go through it properly. You could always try one of the teachers on the teachers’ page if you need more advice.

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