Maybe, but there are going to have to be some major cultural lifestyle changes. We’ll have to stop relying so much on cars and other vehicle transportation and bicycle more places. Even more importantly, we’ll have to stop pushing such incredibly unhealthy food on the public, like soda pop and processed snacks.
I suspect soda pop and snacks, unhealthy as they are, are not the worst. It’s the fast food meals with salt, sugar and fat that are wasteline destroyers. And the ready to eat food we buy off grocery store shelves is just about as bad. Then there’s growth hormones in the meat. Sad.
I think it is possible, but not without huge changes in our society. The likelihood that people will take it upon themselves to change and manage their weight is low. What we need are changes in public policies. For example, putting a fat tax on candy, soda, and other junk foods will discourage people from buying them. Delegate more money towards public parks and recreation centers so that more people have access to them. Make physical education a more integral part of elementary school education. Revamp the regulations on school lunches. Regulate advertising. I’ve learned in sociology classes that people are really a product of the social forces that are put on them. We need to make these structural changes and then we might see a reduction in the obesity rate.
You brought up many good points. I disagree on the taxing part as an answer. My friend started smoking in 1961 and cigs were .33 cents per pkg. Now they’re $10.50 and most is tax and he’s still smoking. All your other points hit pay-dirt tho. Regulation, delegate funds for healthy lifestyles, and Education, you know, the things politicians won’t touch. Bravo for noting those.
Yes. The problem of mainstream obesity is a relatively new one in the United States, and the solutions multifaceted. In 1996 not a single state had an obesity rate over 20%. Twelve years later, 49 did. It takes time to implement nationwide policy-making and instill the motivation to make lifestyle changes, but it is happening. I do think we will dig ourselves out of this rut eventually, it has to happen on an individual level, but be encouraged on a corporate and financial level. In 2007 a National Summit on Obesity Policy was held in Washington DC, followed by the creation of The Campaign to End Obesity. Last year candy and soda were taken off the exemption list of sales tax (after years of fighting with soda and candy industries); this year a bill is being introduced in Colorado to require all public schools to include 150 minutes of activity for children per week. Schools across the country are changing their cafeteria options; workplaces are promoting exercise or gym programs to reduce the immense amount of health care costs required to cover overweight employees; a group of physicians have come up with a healthier version of the Food Pyramid. We’re on our way, but it’ll probably be awhile.
Dynamic answer. Wonder what happened in 1996 that started the great fat ball rolling. In the 1930s 25% of Americans lived on family farms and provided good food for selves and neighbours. By 1997, that had shrunk to 2%.You have mentioned many great programmes but I suspect the trend toward obesity is still increasing. Take a look at this website re subsidies for American food. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_subsidy
Your comments were very helpful. Thx
I like to think so. Modern humans (at least many) have an unprecedented abundance of easily attained calorie rich food. Because this is such a new situation it will take some time for us, as a species and society, to realize our limits and find a healthy equilibrium between feast and famine. For the vast majority of history getting enough food was the problem, it is a HUGE switch to realize that now too much food is a problem.
I’m guessing you are referring to developed nations only, you know…the greedy, carefree ones…when you say modern humans have an “abundance of…food.” In the developing world, billions are starving – often to death. So much American food is subsidied so it’s cheap and the developing world can’t do that – so they can’t compete. Time we shared better.
Although there are a lot of great reasons for America to get the obesity rate under control, I think eventually the rate will have to get under control because the health complications are just too expensive, both for the individual and for our nation.
Below is an article on how treating obesity is expensive.
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