Eating: Personal or Public?

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Christopher McNeely
Dr. Pamela Rollins
English 1301.77
November 9, 2012
Eating- Personal or Public?
I am writing this essay as a rhetorical analysis of Radley Balko’s article “What You Eat is Your Business” and making a recommendation for or against publication in The Shorthorn based on the request from my editor. I believe the rhetorical appeals that Mr. Balko makes in his article will be somewhat persuasive to the readers of The Shorthorn as he makes some valid points. However, most members of the UTA community have a previous understanding about the obesity epidemic that is plaguing this country and may not completely agree with his arguments.

Obesity is a major concern in the United States because of the prevalence of heart disease, liver and kidney failure, and sleep abnormalities that plague a large portion of the population. It is a hot topic and debated regularly. The main argument is whether obesity should be a personal issue or whether the government should take action to modify individual’s health choices, essentially forcing a healthier lifestyle on the population. Balko’s central claim is that the government should make the cost of obesity a private matter with incentives for individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle as opposed to making the public pay for the poor life decisions of some of the population. He believes that “Instead of manipulating or intervening in the array of food options available to American consumers, our government ought to be working to foster a sense of responsibility in and ownership of our own health and well-being.” Balko insists that we are becoming less responsible for our own health and more responsible for everyone else's. It is a trend that he believes will not foster positive changes since there is no incentive “to put down the cheeseburger” if the government is paying for the individual’s anti-cholesterol medication.

Balko maintains that a society where everyone is responsible for everyone else's...
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