There is a lot of debate going on in the department of Health on how the Obesity Epidemic should be handled. Obviously their big catchphrase “Eat less, Exercise More” is not really catching on seeing as the obesity rate has doubled since the 80’s. One of the things talked about in my Food and Nutrition class is that the Government is focusing on “fixing” the individual instead of the cause. They are doing a lot of research on metabolism and hunger, instead of thinking of how to make people reach for that carrot instead of the Big Mac. This is one of the reasons why we have gastric surgery because we are focusing on fixing the individual and not the nation. The question is should the government be enforcing rules that everyone has to abide to? Should the government be treating this like any other deadly epidemic? Some of the ideas that have been bouncing around is putting a “twinkie tax” on junk food. This would be similar to the tax put on cigarettes which actually did decrease the amount of cigarettes people bought. The tax money would then go to programs to help educate about nutrition. The problem is the government does not have the funding to compete with the advertising of big companies such as McDonalds and Coca-Cola.
Raise your hand if you have heard of the site Choosemyplate.org? This is one of the governments way of educating the public. The problem? I didn’t even know this site existed! Not until I took a Food and Nutrition class. A class I was paying for to learn about nutrition. But here is a whole website dedicated to give you lessons about what you should be aiming for and you can even plug in what you have been eating and it gives you a whole report! It even tells you what you need to work on. For Free.
I am really torn on the subject of what we should be doing as a nation to help people overcome obesity. It can be done! I am living proof of it and I can find hundreds of blogs where people have done it too! The problem with keeping it focused on just the individuals that need help and not the nation is that we are affecting our children. Our children are learning our habits because who else are they going to learn from? We are giving our kids type 2 diabetes before they even reach adulthood. We are making their lives shorter because we do not know how or what to eat.
Honestly, I think advertising for unhealthy food products should be more expensive than healthy foods, especially if these commercials are going to be on kid channels. I do think a tax on junk food would not be the worse thing to happen. It might put things into perspective just how inexpensive healthy food is in the long run. Just think of that tax as money you would spend on medical bills if you buy that food. Every time you load up on sugary processed crap, you might as well be putting money in your “future hospital bill” jar.
We are living in a world where we have become complacent, unfortunately. Where we can preach and tell people that being overweight will slowly kill you, and the expression on people’s faces remain unmoved. Even worse, they just go to the local fast food joint and order that burger filled with empty calories. It’s sad to think that the only way we can get people to really listen is by hitting them where it hurts them most…
Their bank account.
I am interested in knowing what people’s thoughts are on the matter. What would really make you listen? What would make you stop buying the ice cream and instead get Greek yogurt instead?