Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Average Assumption

The Average Assumption
The average American tends to read at a 7th grade level, which includes books, such as The Twilight series, by Stephenie Meyer, the Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling, and the popular Hunger Game series, by Suzanne Collins. These books were written for the grade levels of teenagers and young adults; however, they bring in readers from every age.  Since these books were written at the average reading level, many people found them to be an easy read. This also includes writing for articles, handbooks, and other written pieces. I wanted to find a piece that would be around the same level as the books above, so I went to, which is a website dedicated to informing the public about disease control and prevention.  This website collaborates to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health. It was written at a reading level many can understand to attract people of any reading level to its website. With that in mind, I chose a simple article from the website called, “Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight.”
This page was made to inform people to make the right eating choices for the prevention and control of weight. It lists ways of changing your lifestyle eating habits in an easy to read format.  Currently, webpages like this one litter the internet, and the author wrote it in a simple writing style, often called plain style.  Plain style is an easy-to-read writing style that includes small words, fewer ideas per sentence, and it’s usually less ambiguous.  For example the author chose to write these sentences simply, “A healthy lifestyle involves many choices,” or “A healthy eating plan that helps you manage your weight includes a variety of foods you may not have considered.” These sentences are simple, and they don’t use any sentence combining strategies.  There are only a few instances of coordination and subordination in this article.  Because of the lack of large words and sentence combining strategies found this website to be written at a 7.4 reading level, along with the rest of the 
            There are mainly two types of activity systems looking at this webpage: people who are researching how to eat healthier and the staff who had to write this page.  The researchers will want to know basic information about healthy food choices, and how to make them.  The writers wrote this page because of the motto holds, which is to inform the public of the prevention and control of diseases.  They want to inform everyone on how to eat healthier for a healthy weight.  There are many more activity systems, but I will be looking at how these two may interpret the webpage.
              The people reading this webpage may need to get a lot of information about which foods to eat, how much to eat, and what specific fats they should stay away from.  The article starts out by defining what a healthy eating plan is.  They use the source Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, which is a dietary guideline that provides authoritative advice about consuming fewer calories and making informed food choices. Based on the article topic, this source was a good choice, and the article writes out the guidelines in a listed format.  After the guidelines, the article focuses on new foods you can eat.  This site does well in helping you realize healthy eating isn't the end of eating foods you love. 
This article informs you what is healthy to eat, but since the writes to inform the general public, they should include more information that may be general knowledge but not everyone knows.  The author assumes we know things such as average calorie intake, what foods are low in certain fats, how many servings to eat of certain food groups, and other basic health information. Considering this is written at a 7th grade level, there should be more information many people would think common knowledge but many people forget.  If this website is so focused on teaching the people about healthy food choices, they need to inform them on the basics often learned early on in health classes.
            First off, one bullet point tells you to eat things “low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars,” but what are the amounts we should stay away from?  How do I figure out what is low? Second, most people don’t even know the difference between a fruit and a vegetable.  They also don’t include the amount of servings to eat per day. Some people may be mistaking a tomato for a vegetable and could easily be eating too many vegetables per day and not enough fruit.   Third writes, “Do I have to give up my favorite comfort food? No! Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while and balance them out with healthier foods and more physical activity."  From my own experience, if you are eating unhealthy then you should stay away from unhealthy foods, so you don’t binge eat.  I know if I give up my favorite snack, chips and salsa, I go crazy the next time I eat it.  I eat about a half a bag of tortilla chips and half a jar of salsa. I know the website is trying to make healthy eating seem easy, but the truth is it isn't always easy.  Finally, they say “stay within your daily calorie needs.”  What are basic calorie needs?  Everyone is different and many people who are active need to take in at least 2,000 calories a day.  How are we supposed to know that basic information without the author telling us? 
   is a website dedicated to informing people and communities about basic health and healthy lifestyle choices.  The webpage I chose to evaluate and critique did well in staying within the plain writing style and 7th grade reading level.  They let people understand their ideas.  The article showed you it isn't scary to change your food eating habits. The format and writing is easy to understand, but the author could have gone into more detail about certain aspects of healthy eating.  They could assume the author knew less about the subject to compensate for the questions that may arise when reading this article.  CDC’s motto is to inform, and they should try to include the basic health choices to coincide with their motto, the plain style, and a 7th grade reading level.

by Katie Mickschl

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