Comparing Views: Reasons behind the Obesity Problem

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Nichole WojtowiczWojtowicz 1
College Writing I
Mrs. Zewe
20 October, 2010 Obesity: To Be or Not To Be?
One of the most controversial debates of this generation is on who is the blame for the obesity epidemic. More specifically, who is responsible for obesity: the individual who is obese or the government and fast food corporations? In Radley Balko's essay " What You Eat Is Your Business" and in David Zinczenko's essay "Don't Blame the Eater," the main ideas that are presented both reflect upon obesity and personal responsibility. The main point that Balko wants to get across in his essay is that obesity has become part of "public health" which has forced us to pay for the health problems associated with the obese. Whereas the main point that Zinczenko wants to address is that the government has not tried to help the problems related to the convenience of fast food restaurants and the lack of nutritional information for kids, which he sees as the main reason for obesity. Balko's and Zinczenko's essays have few major comparisons and many significant differences. Their biggest likeness in their arguments is that their is definitely a personal responsibility associated with obesity and that the government plays a role in society's unhealthy eating choices. Balko believes that people should hold all the personal responsibility for what they eat and the role it plays in their health, instead of people having to pay for the consequences of others' bad choices. Whereas, Zinczenko thinks the fault doesn't lie only within the obese person, but lies within the convenience of fast-food restaurants and the lack of education about unhealthy eating.

As a whole, Balko and Zinczenko have opposing views on the obesity problem, but they do have two major comparisons. The main point of comparison would be the idea that they both believe the government plays a negative role in the obesity epidemic, specifically because the government lacks personal responsibility for the matter. Balko feels that the government is trying to fight obesity in the wrong ways, because prohibiting junk foods in schools and restricting food marketing to children are only "bringing the government between you and your waistline" (158). The government is not helping with obesity, they are just manipulating the availability of food for Americans. Balko explains that the government should be taking personal responsibility for their part in the obesity problem, instead of punishing us with the burden of paying for the obesity problem in the way of higher health care premiums and taxes.

Similarly, Zinczenko explains that the government is not taking personal responsibility for the obesity problems because they do not decrease or monitor the production of fast-food restaurants and do not demand reform for more healthy alternatives to be available. Zinczenko states, " There are no calorie information charts on fast-food packaging, the way there are on grocery items. Advertisements don't carry warning labels the way the tobacco ads do" (154). Zinczenko believes that the government has made no efforts to fight for the public display of nutritional information and facts of the unhealthy foods and have not pushed for education on healthy eating in the school systems. This shows that Balko and Zinczenko both hold the belief that the government plays a negative role in the lives of healthy-weight people and obese people alike, therefore portraying their beliefs that the government needs to take a bigger step in helping bring healthier options to people and enforcing better ways of limiting the consumption of fast food, all through gaining their own personal responsibility towards the matter.

As opposed to the few comparisons that Balko and Zinczenko shared, there are more obvious contrast in their views on obesity. Their differences start out by the different concerns they have about obesity because Balko is concerned about the well-being of the healthy...
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