Where Does the Solution Lie? The Obesity Essay Example
Michael Moss exposes the tricks of the food industry in his article “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.” Moss makes it apparent that obesity is on the rise and has become an increasing epidemic that affects all ages. Moss shares that more than 40 million adults are obese while more than 12 million children are also obese (paragraph 5). So, where does the solution lie? The government can control the obesity epidemic by enforcing taxes and restrictions. However, that will take too long and many people will become angry about this change. The companies can halt this problem from growing by changing labels, ads, and ingredients. However, the companies do not care about this epidemic. Instead, they care about money, and while obesity is on the rise, so is their profit. This leaves the consumers. The consumers need to put forth the effort to stop this issue from becoming bigger. They can do this through educating themselves, practicing self-control, making better food choices, and voting with their wallets. The only people that can make a change are the consumers; not the companies or the government.
Education is an essential part to controlling obesity. Many people do not know most of the ingredients that are in the food they eat or even how to read the nutrition label. Nowadays, most people are uneducated on obesity, nutrition or how to keep a healthy weight. Moss reveals that we consume sugary, salty and fatty foods too often, and it is unhealthy for us (Paragraph 15). If people were to become more educated by going to nutrition classes or searching through the Internet, they can learn about how much of these ingredients their bodies can take in a day. This could possibly cause the obesity rates to drop. Sugary, salty, and fatty foods are known to cause many health related problems including obesity. Therefore, if people become educated on the amount of sugar, fat, and salt that is okay for their bodies, the obesity rates will likely start to fall. Some people believe that there are not enough food related or nutrition programs available for people to become educated. An example of a food related or nutrition program is Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. If there were more of these programs, people would not be struggling with obesity. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health agrees that educating students on how to eat better and achieve a healthy weight can be an important part in stopping obesity (“School Obesity Prevention Recommendations: Complete list” Paragraph 2). Sure, the government can put more nutrition programs into place but will that make a difference? The consumers are the ones that have to go to the classes, and want to become educated on this issue, not the government. So, even if the government were to put more food related classes or programs into place, a difference would not be made until the consumers act upon that change. Consumers can be motivated to become educated by learning the truth about obesity. If they learn the risks and consequences of obesity, they will likely want to learn how to prevent it, thus, becoming educated. The consumers have to become educated to make a difference in the obesity epidemic. With education, self-control will help stop the obesity problem.
Self- Control needs to be practiced by consumers in order for the obesity epidemic to decrease. Yes, educating yourself on how to control and prevent obesity is a good first step, but not much will change unless the consumer practices self-control. They need to have self-control on how much they eat (to avoid overeating) and the kinds of food they eat. They can do this through a reward system. For example: if they eat healthy for a week, then they get to have a cheat day. Moss discloses how companies are purposely producing foods that people are becoming hooked on (paragraph 15). The consumers lack self control and therefore give into what the companies’ want, which is to become hooked on these unhealthy foods. This ultimately leads to obesity. Therefore, if the consumers were able to resist the foods that the companies are producing, the obesity problem would most likely decline. The consumers also need to be cautious of overeating. Moss makes it apparent that some companies produce foods that make people still feel hungry, even after they have eaten. This results in overeating (Paragraph 3). The consumers can develop self-control by meal prepping at the beginning of the week (preparing each meal for the whole week to be refrigerated until it is ready to eat). This would this would prevent any last minute fast food trips. Consumers can also spend less time on the Internet or watching television in order to avoid possible triggers that come from advertisements. With self-control, there will be less unhealthy foods being eaten, and overeating would be reduced. Fewer calories would also be consumed and more nutrients could be absorbed from healthier replacements being put into the diet. On the other hand, many people feel that self-control would be too difficult to practice and that the companies should change their products to become less addicting. Moss explains that the companies do not care about the obesity epidemic, instead they care about money and as long as they are making a profit, they will not change their recipes (Paragraph 11). Consumers’ self-control is needed to make a change; they cannot wait on the companies to make a difference. Self-control comes with better food choices.
Better food choices are the next step in reducing obesity rates. Consumption of unhealthy foods is one of the main reasons obesity is on the rise. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worries that people may resort to eating foods that are lower in nutritional value and higher in calories if they do not have access to healthy foods (Healthy Food Environments| Overweight and Obesity| CDC” Paragraph 6). Consumption of foods higher in calories and lower in nutritional value can result in obesity. This may be due to overeating because the food that they consume has no nutritional value to fill the consumer up. Becoming educated about nutrition can help consumers make better food choices. If consumers were to make better food choices and eat nutrient dense foods, they would be able to eat a lot of the food without overeating or consuming too many calories. However, many people cannot afford to buy healthier foods. Fast food places such as McDonalds, have a dollar menu where you can essentially eat a meal for just a few dollars. This plays an important role in the food choices that consumers make. If all of the consumers join and buy healthier foods as a whole, hopefully the prices will drop. Some better food choices that are nutrient dense include avocados, sweet potatoes, cashews, pineapple, and quinoa ("The World's Healthiest Foods"). Consumers’ food choices can make or break the obesity epidemic. By making better food choices, consumers’ are showing the companies what they want.
Along with buying healthier foods, comes voting with your wallet. In her article, “Exploring the Obesity Epidemic” Carolyn Matthews argues that consumers should buy better foods so that the companies get an idea of what the consumers want (Paragraph 15). The companies are going to sell products that the consumers want the most. Therefore, if the consumers were to buy more healthy foods than unhealthy foods, the companies are going to sell products that fit what the consumer wants most; healthy and affordable. However, many people have an issue with the cost of healthy food right now. It is cheaper to buy foods that are high in sugars, fats, and salt, than to buy organic vegetables. If consumers make the sacrifice and spend more money on the healthy foods now, it will be better in the end. The prices will eventually drop due to consumer demand and the companies competing. The companies want to make the product that most people will buy and that includes affordability. The consumers are the only people who can get this advantage on the companies. The companies cannot know what to make without the consumers’ feedback. The government cannot decide if a change needs to be made without the consumer’s feedback as well. Although both of these groups are experts in this industry, they cannot know if something is wrong without the feedback of the consumers. The solution lies within the consumers.
Many people believe that the solution to the obesity epidemic is up to the companies and government. They believe that the consumers cannot put in enough will power to make a change. Even though the ideal solution would be for the government and companies to fix the obesity problem, it is just not realistic. Consumers need to step up and make a change for themselves. They need to learn what is in their foods, what foods to eat, and how to control urges. If the consumers wait on the companies and government to make a change, there will be no solution.
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