This editorial piece was written by a contributor for the Frederick News-Post, Md., and brings up some thoughtful consideration on the obesity epidemic currently taking place in the United States of America.
EDITORIAL: MISPLACED BLAME
Aug. 30--Obese Americans have a lot of company these days, but if a recently released report is correct, by 2030 every other person in the nation will be obese.
The report released last week by the British medical journal the Lancet focused on obesity worldwide, where it is becoming an increasingly unsustainable health care expense.
What caught our attention about this report's findings and recommendations wasn't the global trend towards obesity or what half of all Americans will look and feel like in less than 20 years.
Rather, it was the report's findings on why all this is happening, and its recommendations for addressing it.
According to The Washington Post story that reported on the Lancet article, "Changes over the past century to the way food is made and marketed have contributed to the creation of an 'obesogenic' environment in which personal willpower and efforts to maintain a healthful weight are largely impossible ..."
The fix involves " ... making healthful foods cheaper and less-healthful foods more expensive largely through tax strategies ... Changes in the way foods are marketed would also be called for ..."
The cost of this epidemic is already staggering, but it will increase dramatically if not addressed. Everyone seems to agree that America's health care system is broken, but seems mystified how to fix it. With so many stakeholders with different, even conflicting, concerns, it is a genuinely daunting challenge.
But wouldn't truly addressing this epidemic of obesity be one of the most productive solutions to pursue?
And wouldn't it be great if Americans decided they could do this on their own, individually and collectively as a nation -- without the government's "help"?
This report doesn't seem to believe that's possible. Again from The Post story: "Though the report acknowledged that it's ultimately up to individuals to decide what to eat and how to live, it maintained that governments have largely abdicated the responsibility for addressing obesity to individuals, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations. Yet the obesity epidemic will not be reversed without government leadership, regulation, and investment in programs, monitoring and research."
In other words, it's the government's fault that we're becoming an obese nation, and now its help is required to fix the problem. Are either one or both of these assertions really true?
If so, that says something awfully sad about what both the American people and their government have become.