Obesity Is A Public Health Problem That Research Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Business - Miscellaneous Type: Research Paper Paper: #78638684 Related Topics: Obesity, Smoking In Public, Public Health, Healthy Lifestyle
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Obesity is a public health problem that requires immediate intervention. One third of Americans are obese, clearly marking obesity as an epidemic (CDC, 2014). Obesity is not just an aesthetic problem. Being fat alone is not the issue; it is what obesity does to the body that matters. Serious and often deadly diseases like diabetes, coronary heart disease, many types of cancer, and stroke are directly caused by obesity. These are all preventable problems caused by lifestyle habits. Most obesity is due to the most simple factors possible: diet and exercise. Yet little is actually being done to control obesity. As a result, health care costs are rising. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008, and "the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight," (CDC, 2014). Obesity places a heavy burden on society, reducing overall quality of life. Therefore, interventions must include mandates in the private and public sectors that lead to long-term changes in normative culture and lifestyle.

Americans cherish their perceived freedoms, but even Americans understand the need for public health interventions from a utilitarian perspective. Vaccinations are one example of how Americans are willing to collectively improve the public health of the nation. Likewise, the smoking epidemic has been quelled due to direct intervention from the perspective of public health, legality and ethics. The next step is to apply the same methods to food manufacturers, businesses, urban planning, and institutions like...


"Leaving it to individuals to slim down through dieting and exercise without any such help…consistently fails," ("Heavy Weapons," 2014). Therefore, it is no longer appropriate or ethically sound to expect individual Americans to start feeding their children real food, feeding themselves real food, or walking to work. Americans have failed at self-regulation and cannot be trusted to solve the obesity problem on their own. Consumers are weak and ignorant, and a top-down approach must now ensue. In the same way that the government heavy-handedly dealt with the tobacco industry for its misleading marketing tactics, the government now needs to place the same pressure on food manufacturers.

Food manufacturers are partly to blame for the obesity epidemic. The writing is on the cereal box, apparently. "Collectively there is no question that the companies themselves now know and hold themselves accountable for at least part of the obesity crisis," (Smerconish, 2013). Like stupid consumers, companies cannot be trusted to eliminate the problem on their own. Too much freedom leads to undisciplined and self-centered behaviors. Thus, massive and targeted government interventions are needed to stop food manufacturers from marketing their insipid products. Eating bad food, and eating too much are both "learned behaviors," inspired and reinforced by skillful marketing (National Institutes of Health, 2014). The only way to unlearn the behaviors is to start from square one. Eliminating junk food from shelves, eliminating commercials for junk food, and eliminating large portions in restaurants is a start. Restaurants need to stop serving portions that are unreasonable. Likewise, food manufacturers need to stop pretending their products are not causing the obesity epidemic. Their products are causing the obesity epidemic just as cigarettes were causing lung cancer. "Overeating is a habit that is reinforced by restaurants that advertise high-calorie foods and large portion sizes," (National Institutes of Health, 2014).

Just as distributing free condoms is a necessary public health intervention in areas with high rates of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, stopping the flow of processed foods is a necessary public health intervention. There are several aspects to this issue. One is that…

Sources Used in Documents:


Anderson, E. (2014). New research highlights the link between poverty and obesity among teens. The Globe and Mail. Jan 13, 2014. Retrieved online: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/new-research-highlights-the-link-between-poverty-and-obesity-among-teens/article16309726/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Adult obesity facts. CDC. Retrieved online: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

"Heavy Weapons," (2014). The Economist. Nov 22, 2014. Retrieved online: http://www.economist.com/news/international/21633838-new-study-offers-hope-battle-against-bulging-waistlines-heavy-weapons

National Institutes of Health (2014). Obesity. Retrieved online: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/obesity.html
Smerconish, M. (2013). Processed food is a recipe for obesity. Newsday. Mar 22, 2013. Retrieved online: http://www.newsday.com/opinion/oped/processed-food-is-a-recipe-for-obesity-michael-smerconish-1.4867930

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