Who’s Responsible for Obesity?

People are getting fatter. America is the land of the embarrassed, flabby, diabetic, heart patient. It is a problem for the person who is fat, and is becoming a problem for the government. The government takes it as a problem, not only because it is paternalistic and loves to know and fix our problems, but also because it- and here I should say, “the taxpayer”- has budgets to balance. The health costs of over 40% of Americans are paid by the government, the government’s taxpayers that is. And obesity is expensive.

So who is responsible for this “growing epidemic”? Maybe it is the purveyors. MSN.com’s headline reads “Restaurants offer too much of a bad thing; Cut portion sizes, get rid of fat-laden side dishes, health officials say”. On the same day:”Are our cities making us fat? Fitness experts call for new urban design to fight America’s obesity problem”. You can picture it, a sinister city wrestling its thinnies to the ground and forcing food into their gullets, extra police stopping people who are trying their best to walk and jog, planners designing roadblocks in subdivisions.

Supermarkets sell products that cause fat deposits. Are the supermarkets like Wal-Mart and Albertson’s and Safeway responsible for obesity? Or are the manufacturers of the fat-inducing products, like Kraft, Frito Lay, Tombstone, and Oscar Mayer responsible? Could it be that the people buying and eating the products are responsible for their own fat deposits? Is it their mouth? Their eyes? Their desires? Their tastebuds? Or are they merely slaves to the advertising campaigns of the manufacturers and supermarkets?

If we are to believe msn.com stories and finger-wagging government officials, people themselves are not responsible. “Cities and restaurants are making us fat.” We are helpless. Regulations limiting portion size, and fat content, and city planning that mandates bike paths and walking trails are under discussion. Other, more creative regulations might be next. Limit the number of permits for food sources- fast-food restaurants, slow-food restaurants, vending machines, grocery stores, convenience stores- in a town. Require developers to build gymnasiums. Issue every American a ration card which acts like a debit card. It would only allow the purchase of 2,000 calories worth of food per day. Imprison the obese. Require gastric bypass surgeons to work for free.

If the FDA and the Department of Public Health and Human Services really want to get serious,  many regulatory options present themselves. But the only way to justify them is to continue to propound the doctrine that the people are not making theselves fat. Someone else is.


One Response

  1. Thanks for information.
    many interesting things

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