Obesity: a Problem with Personal Responsibility

Topics: Nutrition, Health, Obesity Pages: 5 (1751 words) Published: April 24, 2007
Obesity: A Problem With Personal Responsibility

Drinking too much water will kill you. However, this is not a reason for the government to regulate how much water people drink. There are many dangers in life that the public should be informed of in order to shape their decisions. Eating too much fatty food can cause serious health issues or death, but the government should not regulate what types and quantities of foods Americans eat. The solution to obesity cannot come from government control of what we eat, but instead, must come from informing the public about nutrition and health. A well-informed public will make more responsible choices than an uninformed population. Spreading information and common sense can prevent obesity. Infringing on civil liberties and limiting the decision-making powers of the people would be to go against the beliefs that our county was founded on. Instead, through knowledge, awareness, and promoting responsibility of the public, obesity can be prevented and eliminated.

The solution to the problem of obesity in America comes from better information being made available to the public and not control over peoples' wills. The government should regulate the labeling of foods with critical health information in restaurants as well as on packaged food. Although packaged food has to be labeled for ingredients, restaurants do not have to abide by the same rules. Restaurants should have to list the ingredients that make up the food being served and even if the nutritional facts are not on the menu, they should be available upon request. By adding ingredient information in restaurants, a well-informed population will force the restaurants to discontinue the use of unhealthy ingredients because they will not want to list them as ingredients.

Not only does information need to be available, it also needs to be more strictly evaluated. Often, authorities contradict each other or even themselves, which makes them less credible sources. Recent information about health focuses on trans fat and its adverse health effects. Trans fat is found in higher quantities in margarine than in butter and is therefore often considered to be quite unhealthy. Today, many nutritionists suggest the use of butter in place of margerine to reduce trans fat intake and increase overall health. However, the Journal of the American Medical Association established in 2000 that a diet using margarine in place of butter lowered bad cholesterol and did not affect the good cholesterol. In fact, the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers (NAMM) claims that "An average consumer could reduce his/her fat intake by approximately 2,000 grams (18,000 calories) each year by simply switching from regular margarine to low-fat margarine [Those calories translate to a weight reduction of five pounds by making this one easy switch.]" This misleading information inclines consumers to make unwise choices and consume less healthy foods. Without the correct information, Americans can and will make incorrect decisions that will negatively affect their health, while they are making a conscious effort to get healthier. If there is a need for more government control in the food industry, it is here. Government should control statements made by health authorities in order to facilitate the circulation of correct information. Food does not need to be controlled because people are capable of making good decisions if they are provided correct information. If these discrepancies are fixed and there is a consensus among the authorities on what is healthy and what is not, then people will have more confidence in the authorities and will be more likely to comply. If you eat McDonalds for every meal of every day, then you cannot expect to be healthy. The health problems that arise through eating fast foods do not come from the occasional indulgence, they come from a lifestyle of gluttonous behavior. Although many Americans are considered obese,...
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