An illustration paragraph is a paragraph that supports an initial claim. The elements of an illustration paragraph are the topic sentence, in which the assertion is made, followed by a number of illustrations that support that assertion. An illustration may consist of any item that provides relevant evidence. For an essay on child obesity, a general topic could involve the widespread importance of the problem. The paragraph might begin with this topic sentence: In the United States, child obesity is a health problem that affects everyone, not just children.
Illustrations would include both quantitative and qualitative evidence, such as statistics from scientific research, case studies that focus on obese children’s challenges, and quotations from interviews with children and adults.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides statistics drawn from numerous scientific studies. In 2019, the CDC indicated that the prevalence of childhood obesity (including children and adolescents) was 18.5 percent and affected some 13.7 million people—about 1 in 6 Americans—under the age of 18.
The Nemours Children’s Health Systems publishes case studies from a joint CDC program on best practices for obesity prevention. These studies, which reveal the social cost associated with childhood obesity, are available for each state.
Personal stories, such as that of Kyle Harrison, indicate that obesity in adults is closely connected to their childhood struggles.