Food: Personal Issue or Your Neighbor’s Concern?
Everyone has heard the adage “you are what you eat,” but what does this saying truly mean? For one to be in good health, he or she needs to put good, nutritious food into his or her body that supplies them with lasting energy. Unfortunately, obesity is a pandemic that has swept across the United States, and the media’s perpetual spotlight on the matter has made it a concern for the populace. Some critics believe that it is not the responsibility of the eater. We must propose the question, who is to blame? Do we sympathize with the working man and the poor who are unable to afford healthy foods by placing blame on corporations, do we take responsibility for our own health habits, or do we let others such as the government take the blame? In most cases, the person who is truly at fault when it comes to the topic of obesity and weight is the eater because he or she is the one making the conscious decision of what to eat. However, there are other cases. Sometimes there is not much one can do when they are living paycheck to paycheck in a low-income community, so they may need some help in order to live a healthier lifestyle. Obesity has even reached children proving that no one no matter what age, no one is safe from this disease. Other health problems arise when one is overweight such as diabetes, and, “According to the National Institutes of Health, Type 2 diabetes accounts for at least 30 percent of all new childhood cases of diabetes in this country” (Zinczenko 154). In his article “Don’t Blame the Eater,” David Zinczenko argues that the fast-food industry is contributing to the overwhelming percentage of childhood obesity in the United States. He observes that there are not any healthy alternatives for children and teens to take, so the only option they are left with is cheap and calorie infested fast foods. The blame is being put on corporations because fast-food patrons do not know exactly what they are putting into their bodies. A lot of fast-food chains do not supply patrons with calorie information, and critics argue that when they are available on request, they can be difficult to understand because they are misleading to people. Instead of automatically putting the blame on fast-food companies for this, one can bring matters into their own hands by writing to state legislatures and superintendents of schools in order to implement education initiatives on healthier eating, so that better eating habits are learned. However, I believe that Zinczenko shows bias in this issue because he was once an obese child and had to deal with the consequences such as ridicule throughout his adolescent life. He fails to mention restaurant chains that do have healthy alternatives. For example, Subway is a restaurant that is a healthy, cheap alternative. Subway advertises that some of their sandwiches are less than 7 grams of fat, and they also offer whole grain bread. Unfortunately, healthy alternatives are not always available for everyone. In Bridget Huber’s article “Walmart’s Fresh Food Takeover,” Huber discusses food deserts, which are communities that do not have access to or the means to afford healthy food, and how policymakers have teamed up with the corporation Walmart in order to provide groceries to cities that lack easy access to fresh foods. However, this is not the main issue. The main issue is poverty, not grocery stores. It seems that Walmart is trying to take a step in the right direction, but Huber feels that this may not be the best solution for health. She includes an excerpt from the “Archives of Internal Medicine that states, “There’s no evidence that building supermarkets will change people’s diets” (Huber). This statement is completely valid too. Also, grocery chains are not always that affordable. If the issue is providing jobs to people in these low-income communities and affordable food, then how is a corporation like Walmart truly going...
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