IELTS Model Essay: Problems-Solutions Essay (weight and health)


Here is another of my IELTS model essays for IELTS Writing Task 2. It’s a problems-solutions essay question:

In some countries the average weight of 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?

Cambridge IELTS 8 Test 4 (Academic)

This task is asking you to discuss the CAUSES of the problem – why are people gaining weight, and why they less fit and healthy? – and to suggest some SOLUTIONS.

Note: you must discuss the CAUSES of the problem, not the problem itself. If you discuss the problem of being overweight (e.g. you write about diabetes and heart disease), then your band score for Task Response will be limited, probably to Band 5.

One potential problem with this task is there is a lot you could write about! But if you want a high band score, it’s better to write a few ideas in detail, rather than a lot of ideas briefly.


Note: in my plan I’ve clearly separated “increasing weight” from “decreasing health and fitness”, and I’ve developed one clear idea for each. The causes of these problems probably overlap, so you could write about the causes together…but if you get a mean IELTS examiner, they might think you haven’t covered all parts of the question. So to be safe, I’ve dealt with the causes separately.


  • Increasing weight
    • too much carbohydrate in food, e.g. sugary drinks, junk food with rice and pasta
  • Decreasing health and fitness
    • sedentary lifestyle,
      • people take car everywhere, no walking
      • more people do seated work in offices than in past


  • Governments need to force food producers to reduce sugar content, e.g. with sugar tax
  • Increase fuel tax to make car travel more expensive
  • Personal resonsibility: walk more, watch what you eat

So that’s my plan. Now I know what to write. Here’s my essay.

My Essay

Over the last few decades, rising obesity and a drop in people’s overall health and fitness have become a major concern in many countries, especially those in the developed world.

One of the main causes of increasing weight amongst the population is because so much food and drink contains large amounts of carbohydrates. Junk food, for example, tends to contain high quantities of cheap pasta and rice, while soft drinks often contain large amounts of sugar. If these carbohydrates are not burned up through exercise, they will simply be converted by the body into fat, leading to weight gain.

However, people are getting less exercise, which means that not only will they gain weight, they will also experience lower levels of health and fitness. One of the main reasons for this lack of exercise is our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Whereas in the past, many people used to be engaged in manual labour such as factory work or farming, today they are more likely to be sat in an office hunched over a computer. Add to that the fact that people are more likely to commute to work by car, rather than walk or cycle, and we can see why people are getting fatter and less healthy.

There are some solutions to this problem that governments could provide, such as a sugar tax. In countries where this has been introduced, such as the U.K., this has led to drinks’ manufacturers reducing the amount of sugar in their products. I also feel that higher levels of tax on petrol might make car drivers think twice about whether they should really take the car out on the road. Ultimately, however, it is up to individuals to take more responsibility for their own health and fitness. They could make the effort to walk more and take the car less, and make better choices regarding their diet using information that is widely available on the Internet.

(321 words)

About the author

Charlie is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 100,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.

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