An Analysis of Obesity in America

LIB 111 9 October 2012 Our Responsibility: An Analysis of Obesity in America America is becoming obese. As a community we are becoming more accepting of being overweight. Americans must make choices about where they eat, and how much they eat, for themselves, as well as their families. It is a person’s own responsibility to choose what they consume, not their government’s. Fast food is the new tobacco. Only society, not the government will be able to change the way Americans view their food choices.
Many people, such as First Lady Michelle Obama, in “Remarks to the NAACP National Convention” believe that it is the government’s job to help control America’s obesity rates (432). Obama states that the government is proposing, “a $400 million a year fund”(427), to promote health. America prides itself on the liberties of its citizens, and the government is supposed to ensure that American’s have rights, not take them away. Forcing Americans to change their way of eating is not the solution to obesity. In “What You Eat Is Your Business” written by Radley Balko, Balko talks about how America is “migrating toward socialism”(396).
We are migrating toward socialism by not allowing the people to think for themselves and make their own decisions. Balko believes that we should not bring “government between you and your waistline”(396). He argues, “[w] e’re becoming less responsible for our own health, and more responsible for everyone else’s”(396). Balko makes the most valid of points by asking himself, “if the government is paying for my anti-cholesterol medication, what incentive is there for me to put down the cheeseburger? ”(397). If the government is just going to take care of you once you have the negative affects of fast food, you don’t need to prevent it.

David Zinczenko, chief editor of Men’s Health wrote, “Don’t Blame the Eater” in 2002. In his essay, Zinczenko voices that the public should know better than to eat several meals a day at a fast food restaurant, however he does hold fast food restaurants accountable for not telling the public how many calories a meal contains (397). It is the government’s duty to have fast food restaurants make nutritional facts available to the public. American’s find it easiest to blame others for their faults, instead of dealing with them.
In society, many people are often careless when looking out for themselves, and always claim to need the government’s assistance when in need. Our government should help, but only as a last resort. Americans need to promote their own healthy lifestyle. If there is no inner desire for a healthy lifestyle, the government should not be able to change your chosen way of living. Food is related to emotions. All American’s can relate to the sweet smell of their mother baking cookies on a cold day, and the melt in your mouth taste of the warm cookies after playing outside in the cold.
Judith Warner claims, “the Obama nanny state is, essentially, snatching cookies-I. e. , the pursuit of happiness- from the mouths of babes”(401). By regulating what children are allowed to eat, it is an “assault on the American way of life”(401). It is a parents job to control what their children eat, not the governments. Many find that their inspiration is from ads, other people, TV, and Internet. It is society that evolves and changes into a new mindset together. Tobacco sales, as argued by Judith Warner in “Junking Junk Food” did not decline due to the government’s involvement, but because of society’s modern outlook on smokers.
Warner says “it was a shift in cultural attitudes, not laws or regulations, that led Americans to quit smoking”(404). If the harmful ingredients in tobacco can be outlawed by society, and influence Americans to live a healthier lifestyle, then society, not our government can and will be responsible for their healthy diet. One will not change their outlook on healthy living or healthy diets, based on what a government demands, it must be one’s own choice to change the way they and their families eat and exercise.
When society begins to evolve, without the government demanding it, people will be confident with their healthy lifestyle choices. Warner believes that “social norms could change: that huge portions, or eating processed foods loaded with sugar, salt and fat for example could become socially unacceptable”(404). There is hope for American citizens to make their own decisions. It is up to American parents to control what their children eat, as well as what they are consuming. The government does not have the right to regulate one’s personal food intake.
American’s must see their current faults, and allow for change in their lives. We must be responsible for ourselves, and not allow the government to constantly take care for their citizens as children. Works cited Balko, Radley. “What You Eat Is Your Business”. “They Say/I Say” with readings: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 2nd ed. New York. W. W. Norton, 2012. 395-397. Print. Obama, Michelle “Remarks to the NAACP National Convention”. “They Say/I Say” with readings: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing.
Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 2nd ed. New York. W. W. Norton, 2012. 417-433 Print. Warner, Judith. “Junking Junk Food”. “They Say/I Say” with readings: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 2nd ed. New York. W. W. Norton, 2012. 400-404. Print. Zinczenko, David. “Don’t Blame the Eater”. “They Say/I Say” with readings: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. 2nd ed. New York. W. W. Norton, 2012. 391-392 Print.

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