Government Control in Obesity
Government must step in to control obesity because it affects nearly every aspect of our lives.
Obesity is medical condition that approximately one-third of American adults are living with (CDC) and can shorten a lifespan by five to twenty years (New England Journal of Medicine). It receives less government funding than the more lethal diseases that follow it (The State of Obesity Organization). This condition increases the risk of serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, yet it reaps four million dollars in government funding (on average at a state level) less than those diseases primarily caused by it (The State of Obesity Organization). Following this, the U.S. government should be more involved in preventing and decreasing obesity as it demonstrates that the government genuinely cares about its citizens’ well being. Being at a healthy weight has countless benefits that are not always considered. An accepted way of measuring having a healthy weight is BMI, or Body Mass Index, which should stay between 18.5 and 24.9 (CDC). To continue, having a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is understood to be overweight and anything above that is considered to be obese (CDC). Over one-third of Americans have a BMI of 29.9 or more (U.S. National Library of Medicine). Essentially, the United States of America is facing a growing problem of obesity, which the government must take adequate measures in combating it, as it benefits the country as a whole, whether it is in the realm of health, economics, or America’s youth.
To fully examine an issue, one has to look at it from start to end, especially exploring the cause to find a solution. Major causes of widespread obesity include well known reasons like overeating and lack of exercise, yet emotional and eating disorders, genes, social class, and race all play a part in it too. In a study by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, “about half of Blacks, and more than 1 in 3 Hispanics and Whites are considered to be obese.” Much of the obese population living in poor, urban areas are obese due to the fact that some people barely make enough money for food, let alone fresh food like produce and lean meat. Government could do so much more in helping people in this type of poverty such as raising taxes on the upper class and decreasing them for the lower class. Many obese people eat a cheap diet of too much sugar and saturated fat causing them to gain weight, rather than eating a diet with more whole grain carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, and lean protein which keeps people healthy (CDC).
America’s youth are raised in a society when big companies who sell over-processed, non-nutritional food exploit their minds into normalizing eating fast food often and alienating eating fresh whole foods (American Psychological Association). In a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, researchers found that children from ages eight to twelve, watched over fifty hours of food-related advertisements a year on average. What makes these advertisements worse, is what is being shown in them. Thirty-four percent of the ads promote candy or processed snack food and twenty-eight percent try to market cereals that almost always contain excess amounts of added sugars and artificial ingredients (Kaiser Family Foundation). One start to decrease obesity would be if the U.S. government passed regulations that dedicated a mere ten percent of these commercials to healthy, wholesome foods, that could spark some young minds to think about what they are putting into their bodies.
After investigating the cause, one ordinarily assesses the effects of the issue. In this case, obesity remains the issue and the effects include every aspects of daily life. Poor health is one of the most established results of obesity, including a higher risk for a multitude of illnesses (CDC). According to Stanford Health Care, the most prominent cause of diabetes type two is excess body fat. To add to this, heart disease in obese people is present ten times more than a person at a normal weight (Stanford Health Care). Blood clots can form more easily in fatty, narrow arteries that most obese people have, which eventually could lead to a lethal stroke (Stanford Health Care). Additional weight and pressure on joints, often causes Osteoarthritis, which can damage walking and exercising ability (Stanford Health Care). Physical effects of obesity are not the only part of life affected by obesity, as mental and social issues can come from it as well. Obese people are faced with more discrimination and torment in workplaces and schools, causing them to endure mental and personal issues like eating disorders, depression, and general low self-esteem.
Some may say that the government should not have control over people’s health whatsoever. They believe that people are responsible enough to take care of themselves and can make their own decisions. In their opinion, government should never control the health of people. To begin with, this idea has proved itself incorrect on many occasions. If people were responsible enough to control their bodies, two-thirds of adults in the U.S. would not be overweight or obese. A common consensus from the Pew Research Center spells out that sixty-three percent of the public agrees that “obesity has consequences for society beyond personal impacts.” With this fact in mind, it is a viable claim that the majority of the public believes the benefits of government intervention in dealing with obesity outweigh the negative aspects. All things considered, the idea that government should not assist reducing obesity is wrong, as it has been disproved by the rise of obesity and popular opinion.
Following the future President’s decision to take initiative in fighting obesity, one may wonder what will be done to begin the process. To introduce the disadvantages of obesity, the President must launch a program that teaches America’s youth about overall nutrition and exercise. They not only have to showcase the direct links between unhealthy habits and obesity, but almost intimidate the children with semi-graphic effects and explanations of obesity such as Coronary Heart Disease, Sleep Apnea, and High Blood Pressure (CDC). Daily recommended values need to be taught to children in order to make the healthiest and best future leaders of America. Large food, beverage, and restaurant businesses hold a literally vital responsibility in the health of Americans. The President could limit sodium, sugar, and saturated fat counts in chain restaurants or at least make it more easily accessible to the public to know what foods are high in those categories. Processed foods should have to more clearly show all of the unnatural chemicals and preservers in them, especially if they have not been tested as much. The FDA needs to tighten rules on the use of terms that convince consumers products are healthy and nutrition labels should show information about an actually realistic serving size.
U.S. Presidents are sometimes called as the “most powerful person in the world.” If we had one that could help solve obesity, other countries would follow, which would make the world a better place. Americans must soon wake up to the epidemic or we will face the consequences of heart disease, diabetes type two, and various other medical conditions (CDC). If no action is taken soon, we will lose the value of exercise and appreciating natural whole foods. Life expectancies will drop and worsening job performance because of illness has the potential to drop with it. When job performance declines, industries will decline with it, which may cause a collapse of the American economy. The next president will have to face innumerable issues, but the importance of handling obesity is above all other issues because it affects the health of Americans, economics, and the future of this wonderful country.