IELTS Writing Task 2: Problem-Solution (IELTS 8 Test 4)

IELTS Task 2 Writing

This post looks at a typical IELTS Task 2 problem-solution essay on obesity.
In this post you will learn how to:
analyse a question
brainstorm ideas
plan your essay[/checklist]

It ends with a sample answer. This essay question is from IELTS 8 Test 4.

Task 2 Writing Question

In some countries the average weight people is increasing and their levels of health and fitness are decreasing.
What do you think are the causes of these problems and what measures could be taken to solve them?

Step 1: Analyse the question(s) and create simple questions to answer:

This is the easiest way to decide how to structure your essay, and what the topic sentences might be.

We can simplify the question into sub-questions like:
1. Why are people’s weight increasing in some countries?
2. Why is their health and fitness decreasing?
3. What can be done to solve the problems of weight increase and falling health and fitness?

Step 2: Work a simple Structure and Topic sentences:

Possible Essay Structure:

  • Introduction
  • What are the causes of increasing weight?
  • What are the causes of falling health and fitness?
  • How can increasing weight be solved?
  • How can falling health and fitness be solved?
  • Conclusion

Step 3: Look at the background or context of the question

The essay question says “In some countries the average weight of people is increasing and their levels of health and fitness are decreasing
.
This means we should not only talk about teenagers or adults, we should consider ALL people.

Step 4: Brainstorm ideas

Answer the simple questions you created in step 1, and look at your simple essay structure. Notice that at a lot of the ideas are similar.

What are the causes of increasing weight?
– people do less exercise and are less active when NOT exercising (e.g. when working)
(Why?) – children do less sport at school and play less outside
(Why?) – more adults do office jobs so they sit down a lot

– people generally eat more
(Why?) – food is cheaper and people have more incomes
(Why?) – portions (serving sizes) in restaurants are larger than before

– people eat less healthy food
(Why?) – they cook less at home, they buy more pre-made food
(Why?) – people are busier, supermarkets, convenience stores, and fast-food chains are everywhere
(Why?) – people in poor countries are richer and so they want a “rich” “Western” diet

What are the causes of falling health and fitness?
→ Notice, apart from the one below, these are probably the same as those above!
– people are eating worse, e.g. too much fat, sugar, and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables.

The easiest way to think of solutions is to:
– encourage people to do something
– discourage people from doing something
by
– using fines or extra money
– using rules
– changing behavior through education

Look at your previous causes and think about how to stop or reduce them.

How can increasing weight be solved?
– force restaurants to reduce portions
– encourage people to eat less, prevent people from eating more
– companies and the government could make their office workers get up regularly and move around more.

How can falling health and fitness be solved?
– In addition to the above, we could encourage healthier eating by teaching children and teenagers how to cook good food at home

Step 4: Group your ideas into paragraphs and create simple topic sentences.

Essay Plan

Introduction

First Body Paragraph

First of all, there are a number of reasons why people are fatter and less healthy.

1. One reason is people do less exercise and are less active when they are not exercising such as when they are at work.
2. Another is people generally eat more.
3. Finally, in general they are eating worse.

Second Body Paragraph

Fortunately, the government can deal with these problems in several ways.

1. One option is to force restaurants to reduce portions.
2. A second idea is to make government and company office workers get up regularly and move around more.
3. Alternatively, we could encourage healthier eating by teaching children and teenagers how to cook good food at home

Conclusion

Step 6: Write your essay according to your plan

Develop your ideas with examples, and end give more reasons and possible results.

Click to see the sample answer, or to see the sample answer with key phrases highlighted.

These days, all around the world people are becoming fatter, less healthy and less fit. This essay will look the main causes of this and it will discuss some solutions.

First of all, there are a number of reasons why people are fatter and less healthy. One reason is people do less exercise and are less active when they are not exercising. For example, in Taiwan, high school students do less PE classes at school because the teachers want them to study for tests. Also, most adults work in shops or in offices. They rarely move, which means they burn fewer calories. Another reason is people generally eat more, which makes the situation worse. Finally, in general they are eating worse, too. In other words when we eat, we consume more fat, salt, sugar, and other chemicals than before. All these things make us unhealthy.

Fortunately, the government can deal with these problems in several ways. One option is to force restaurants to reduce portions. This would mean that although people eat out a lot, they would consume fewer calories. A second idea is to make government and company office workers get up regularly and move around more. This could involve having meetings while walking, or removing chairs so workers have to stand up to work. Alternatively, we could encourage healthier eating by teaching children and teenagers how to cook good food at home. This is a long term solution but it could reduce the number of times people choose to eat out.

In conclusion, we are becoming fatter because our eating, work and study habits are changing. However, there are several things we can do to change this behavior, and therefore become healthier.
Words: 283

These days, all around the world people are becoming fatter, less healthy and less fit. This essay will look the main causes of this and it will discuss some solutions.

First of all, there are a number of reasons why people are fatter and less healthy. One reason is people do less exercise and are less active when they are not exercising. For example, in Taiwan, high school students do less PE classes at school because the teachers want them to study for tests. Also, most adults work in shops or in offices. They rarely move, which means they burn fewer calories. Another reason is people generally eat more, which makes the situation worse. Finally, in general they are eating worse, too. In other words when we eat, we consume more fat, salt, sugar, and other chemicals than before. All these things make us unhealthy.

Fortunately, the government can deal with these problems in several ways. One option is to force restaurants to reduce portions. This would mean that although people eat out a lot, they would consume fewer calories. A second idea is to make government and company office workers get up regularly and move around more. This could involve having meetings while walking, or removing chairs so workers have to stand up to work. Alternatively, we could encourage healthier eating by teaching children and teenagers how to cook good food at home. This is a long term solution but it could reduce the number of times people choose to eat out.

In conclusion, we are becoming fatter because our eating, work and study habits are changing. However, there are several things we can do to change this behavior, and therefore become healthier.

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