In today’s lesson, I want to show you how to answer an agree or disagree question about health and the future. I will give you some useful language about the topic (health) and the necessary grammar (the future). I’ll also mention some important things about generating ideas and structuring essays.
Analysing the Question
Here’s our question for today:
The average standard of people’s health is likely to be lower in future than it is now.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement.
It’s taken from this list of IELTS writing questions, which I recommend to users of my writing correction service.
This question is pretty easy to understand. Basically, you choose whether you agree or disagree that people’s health will be worse in the future than it is now. You can either:
- Strongly agree
- Partially agree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Partially disagree
- Strongly disagree
Just make sure that your opinion is clear throughout the whole essay. Don’t forget to state your opinion clearly in the essay outline! If you fail to do that, you will get a low score for Task Response.
Planning your Answer
Once you have chosen your opinion, you need to decide what ideas to include and how to include them – ie picking a structure.
Personally, I will agree with the statement and tell the reader why I think that health will be worse in the future. I will look at two ideas:
- Eating habits.
- Lifestyle choices.
Each of these will be given one paragraph and I will develop those with explanations. My essay will look something like this:
|Introduction||Introduce the topic |
Give my opinion
|Body paragraph 1||We have more food now |
People are becoming obese and diabetic
|Body paragraph 2||Sedentary lifestyles |
These damage our bodies
Children no longer go out to play
|Conclusion||Summarise previous ideas|
Note that I will expand all of these points with realistic detail and link them logically. You can see that in my sample band 9 answer below. I will be careful not to give too many ideas because that can make your essay more like a list. It is better to develop a few ideas logically.
Language about Health and the Future
I have written about health vocabulary here and there is a useful video here:
Those will give you lots of words and phrases you can use to talk about health in the IELTS writing test.
For this essay, your language will obviously relate to your choices in terms of answer. For me, I have decided to cover diet and lifestyle, so there are many words and phrases I might need to use. I should definitely know a broad range of health conditions:
- Heart attack
- Back problems
You can learn more vocabulary and even gain useful ideas by reading about health on reputable websites. Here is a guide to healthy living by the World Health Organization. And here is another from the UK’s National Health Service.
Here are two sentences I will include in my essay, which relate to the different issues I want to discuss:
- All around the world, fewer people are dying of starvation, but more people are dying from obesity and diabetes due to their sugary and fatty diets.
- Back problems and joint pain are becoming increasingly common, while the lack of physical mobility is exacerbating the obesity issues created by our unhealthy diets.
You can see that I have mentioned various health problems.
You may notice that I have used present tenses here because my arguments about the future are primarily based on the present. I want to show how our current problems are indicative of potential future ones.
What I will do is gather most of my evidence and put forth my case that our health is currently declining, then make it clear in the introduction and conclusion that this signals worse problems in the future:
- This essay will agree with that statement and give reasons why human health will continue to decline.
- This will probably continue in future due to our unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles.
I think this is more effective than offering vague speculation throughout the whole essay.
Sample Band 9 Answer
It has been argued that the level of people’s health in the future will be lower than it is at present. This essay will agree with that statement and give reasons why human health will continue to decline.
Although medical technology is improving at a rapid pace, human health in most developed countries peaked several decades ago and has been in decline. This is because abundance has paradoxically created a situation where people are exposed to vast quantities of unhealthy food. All around the world, fewer people are dying of starvation, but more people are dying from obesity and diabetes due to their sugary and fatty diets. In countries that have only recently acquired wealth, this change is even more profound, and so millions of people in countries like China are suffering from utterly preventable health problems. This situation gets worse year after year.
Another related issue is that of lifestyle. Humans evolved to roam the plains of Africa and then adapted to an active agricultural lifestyle, but in the modern era we are confined to office chairs and car seats. Our bodies are not used to this sedentary lifestyle, and so they suffer greatly. Back problems and joint pain are becoming increasingly common, while the lack of physical mobility is exacerbating the obesity issues created by our unhealthy diets. With the advent of mobile phones and other technologies, even children no longer go outside much and so this idle lifestyle has infected the youngest members of society, threatening the very future of our species.
In conclusion, human health is on the decline in spite of developments in medicine. This will probably continue in future due to our unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles.
More on Band 9 Answers
Can you really learn from band 9 sample answers? I believe that you can, but you must be careful not to put too much trust in them. You should always use your own ideas and language. Here is a video about band 9 sample answers and how to get the most from them:
Very detailed and informative, thank you.